Schechter Chai-lights is a brief monthly newsletter for parents of alumni, alumni, current families, and friends of Schechter connecting you to all things SSLI, the latest news, events and more.
We hope you will share your thoughts and stories with us.
November 18, 2020 / 2 Kislev 5781
Al Shlosha Devarim
In Ethics of the Fathers we are told that the world stands upon three pillars: Torah
(Learning), Avodah (Service) and Gemilut Chasadim (Deeds of Lovingkindness).
Learning provides the foundational knowledge to propel us; Service represents our
commitment to make positive change; and Deeds of Lovingkindess are the vehicles
through which we make those changes. Here at Schechter, all three pillars are well-
represented. In this issue of Chai-Lights, we highlight a number of the initiatives in
which our community is attempting to make positive change in the world around us
(Tikun Olam). For my part, I’m just going to mention the most recent, which took place
just a few days ago.

Blood Drive
Schechter has been a community leader in blood donations for many years. Indeed it has received ten Heroglobin Awards and has been recognized several times at Yankee Stadium at its annual NY Blood Center Night of Celebration. This year proved a challenge to the school’s efforts with COVID-19, and yet the need has never been greater. According to SSLI’s Director of Student Life Mike Hirsch, cancellations of blood drives due to COVID-19 have resulted in a severe shortage of blood at local blood banks. Schechter was determined to make a difference.
Armed with a heated tent and COVID-19 protocols firmly in place, SSLI welcomed in 55 participants and collected enough blood to save over 130 lives. If as the Talmud teaches, “Whoever saves a single life it is as if one has saved the whole world,” then our students helped save the world many times that day alone. Kol hakavod to our
donors and organizers!

May we go from strength to strength in pursuit of all our social justice goals.
Dr. Scott Sokol, Head of School
Spotlight On Alumni
SSLI continues the conversation on social justice with the goal to improve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Thank you to our SSLI alumni who shared their thoughts and efforts:
Since graduating from Schechter in 2014 I have been involved in politics and social justice - both here and during my years in Europe. Recently my experiences have been…interesting to say the least. While our nation is divided, I believe there is far more that unites us than divides us. 
When demands for equality broke out this year, millions of Americans joined in the fight and marched for justice. When people were losing their jobs and incomes, food banks stayed open through donations and ensured that fellow Americans did not go hungry. People didn’t turn away but instead turned towards the problem and looked for solutions and ways to help. 
I know that’s what I’ve been doing. For a while, I’ve been working on a campaign for a man running for state assembly. I can say that the district he is running to represent has problems I had never encountered. Instead of scaring me or thinking it would be too much to work with or handle, it enticed me because it reminded me of the call to action that Schechter instilled in all of us. We can’t run away from problems our community and neighbors are facing, we have to join in and help. How many of us participated in clubs that sought to promote positive change? Kesher, Tzibor, SADD, GSA and countless others. Looking back, tikkun olam, tzedakah are values that have always been part of my life and I’ll venture to bet part of yours as well. To read the full statement, please click here

Gregory Slade (SSLI '14) is currently living in Manhattan and works for a political non-profit while continuing to be actively involved in community work and political campaigns. 
Gender Equality: A Jew’s Guide to Having More Impact Without Doing More Work

From a young age, I was taught that the Jewish people’s designation as “chosen” was more a responsibility than a lionization; we are charged with remembering the history of our oppression and survival, and relying on it to inform our work of tikkun olam. Until recently, my efforts to leave this world a better place than when I found it included philanthropy, volunteering, and voting; to be frank, until recently, I thought that was a complete list of social justice work available to me, absent overturning my entire career and working for an organization I believe shares my values.
I think that’s a pretty solid list - philanthropy, volunteering, and voting - of community contribution that Schechter, in part, helped to teach me. As a practicing attorney, making time for all of that work was difficult, but it was important to me and it made me feel hopeful for our future. I knew that I could probably be better about who I gave my money to outside of philanthropy, but I also knew how much work it took for me to build and maintain my personal list of trusted philanthropic organizations, and I’m not going to do all of that research every single time I’m in the grocery store or hate-browsing Amazon’s deals of the day, yet again.

Ilana Broad, Esq. (pronouns: they/she) is an attorney barred in New York, that lives bicoastally between Long Island and Los Angeles. Ilana Broad attended Schechter Long Island from kindergarten through middle school (SSDSNC '04). They co-founded SHE, a suite of certification marks designed to empower consumers with the ability to build a conscious capitalist world to match their values. You can learn more at
In 2008, shortly after graduating college and moving to Brooklyn, the minyan I attended put out a call for volunteers to tutor high school math at Providence House, a Catholic organization that helps formerly incarcerated people transition back into society.
I had never been the social justice type. I have a strong Jewish identity, but I have always been more of a tefila (prayer) Jew than a Tzedek (social justice) Jew. But high school math was a highlight of my Schechter education. Mrs. Pasetsky (z”l), Mrs. Lucas, Bob Winston, and Mr. Levine instilled in me a passion for the subject that remains to this day. So I volunteered to be a tutor.
In the 12 years since then, I have worked with 6 different students to help prepare them for the GED -- the high school equivalency exam. They have varying educational levels, but they share a dedication to self-improvement in their adult years after a tumultuous period in their lives.  To read the full article, please click here

Eytan Kurshan (SSDSNC '00, SSHSLI '04) is the Chief Operating Officer of Fly Louie, a startup that's making private aviation more cost-effective for flyers and more efficient for charter operators and their suppliers. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Anna, and their son, Kai.
I always had a passion for learning. No matter the class I was taking, I would find a way to make it interesting and motivate myself to want to learn more. However, the one subject that never truly clicked for me was politics. I could never understand why it was so difficult to love to learn about politics - but for some reason, I couldn’t. To me, politics was something that always divided people; something that often-created conflict and conflict was something I avoided. 
However, through studying ethics in Rabbinics and my diverse reading in AP Literature, I learned that challenging yourself is unbelievably important. I realized that social justice and politics are two completely separate concepts and that it would be the subject of social justice that would finally allow me to become more politically educated.
One of the most important chapters of my life was becoming President at Schechter. The position allowed me to challenge myself, delegate responsibilities, advocate for others, think from all perspectives, listen carefully, and value my own feelings. I learned to love being a leader, which is something I have carried with me.  
Racism has always been a prominent issue in our world. However, this cause finally gained the attention it deserved this past spring. Growing up with the values that Schechter instilled in me, I couldn’t stand on the side listening to what was happening, and not do something. Schechter taught me to stand up for what I believed in and to be the "upstander" that I aspire to be. To read the full article, please click here

Alyssa Mendelowitz (SSLI ’19) is a student at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, pre-med with a dual major in neurobiology and psychology.



Our December issue will focus on Chanukah and the themes associated with the holiday. Making the decision to work within the Jewish communal network shows that you have courage, doggedness, the ability and desire to impact your community and effect change. Whether you are employed in philanthropy, advocacy, the clergy, in an agency, etc., please let us hear from you. You are the people who help move “our villages” from despair or apathy to hope and action and we would love to share your stories.
Social Justice - Faculty Reflections on the Curriculum
 At Schechter, we incorporate moral values, with an emphasis on social and ethical justice, in everything we do. In middle school, our students read I am Malala and learn of Malala Yousafzai’s fight for equal education for girls. As high schoolers, they created SSLI’s chapter of GLI (Girls Learn International) and HRA (Human Rights Advocates), raising awareness of social justice issues and funding for girls’ education around the globe. In middle school, students read of the struggles of marginalized Americans in the novels of authors such as Harper Lee and John Steinbeck. As high schoolers, they study the ideas of civil rights activists in their own words, from Frederick Douglass to James Baldwin to Ta Nehisi Coates. Schechter has a proud history of instilling within our graduates a strong sense of their own moral responsibility and an understanding of our ever-widening “Spheres of Obligation.”
Robin Stanton, Schechter School of Long Island, High School English Coordinator and Teacher
While social justice is not a formal part of the curriculum, it does figure in a number of different courses in the three disciplines comprising Jewish Studies: Bible, Rabbinics, and Jewish History. One cannot talk of the biblical prophets without reference to social justice, since it was this concern which often motivated their critique of biblical religion. In BIB 12, which focuses on the Persian period [roughly, 6th to 4th centuries before the common era [BCE], both Ezra and Nehemiah are concerned with the welfare of the Jewish community in its interactions wtih itself as well as the people who were already living in the land when they arrived. RAB 11, which focuses on how Jews live in a Jewish community as well as how they live in a non-Jewish world, also considers issues of social justice. RAB 12, the Jewish Court Systems, also takes up issues of social justice in the context of its central question: What is Justice? It is fair to say that social justice is an important part of Jewish Studies at Schechter School of Long Island.
Rabbi Barry J. Chesler, Schechter School of Long Island, High School Jewish Studies Coordinator and Member of Jewish Studies Faculty
Mazal Tov to Alana & Evan Stein (SSLI ‘07) on the birth of their daughter, Hannah Shea. Congratulations to Donna & Ken Stein and the Frey family.
Mazal Tov to Zachary Roseman (SSLI ‘05) and Yuval Yarde on their wedding surrounded by their families.
Mazal Tov to Director of High School Guidance, Art Mandel and his wife, Susan, on the birth of their granddaughter, Emma Logan Stuart. Proud parents are Lauren and Jeff Stuart!
Mazal Tov to to Josh Zarabi and wife Jenifer on the birth of their, son Cyrus Lev.

This months tributes:
In Honor/ in Memory

One of the ways Jewish tradition encourages us to honor the memory of a friend or loved one is through tzedakah, a contribution to a worthwhile cause. If you would like to honor a person's memory or mark a celebration with a contribution to Schechter LI, you may make an online donation, or send your donation to the Development Office. The family will be notified of your contribution.
“We must find the time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
As we approach Thanksgiving, we would like to express our appreciation to you our community and to reflect on all the blessings we have in our lives. Your continued support of Schechter LI helps us remember and learn from our past, brings peace and order to today, and creates hope and a vision for our tomorrow.
With gratitude 
The Schechter Development Team

Schechter School of Long Island
Virtual Art Auction
This Thursday, Nov 19, 7:30PM- 9PM
Host Gallery: Marlin Art

Registration for bidding and preview is open now.
Register and be entered into a raffle to win a $100 gift card to be used at
Champions for Charity, Americana Manhasset or Wheatly Plaza.

How does it work? Click here to learn more

Dinner pick up with Chimichurri is available here
Shop for Schechter
Champions for Charity 12/3 -12/5
Help support SSLI by doing your holiday shopping at participating Americana Manhasset and select Wheatley Plaza* stores on
Thursday, December 3 to Saturday, December 5.

Select Schechter School of Long Island when registering for your CHAMPION NUMBER. Champions for Charity ® is a holiday shopping benefit where 25% of your full-price pre-tax purchase will be donated to those charities you select. Your CHAMPION NUMBER is required to allocate the donation and MUST be presented at the time of each purchase.

To register for your complimentary CHAMPION NUMBER and for more information about Champions for Charity ® visit 

For questions, please contact
Eileen Bohrer at 516.935.1441 ext. 1131 or
Jill Kiewe at

To discuss making a donation to Schechter LI, please email Eileen Bohrer, Director of Institutional Advancement to or call 516.935.1441 ext.1131.