Walls of Ivy                                      Summer 2010  

 Westchester Day School Alumni Newsletter
In This Issue
From Farfel to Fame
To Friend or Not to Friend
The Sweet Smell of Success
Stage Presence
Glory Days
Rabbi of Radio
The Power of Art

Return to WDS

 WDS Reunion for graduating classes through 2000
You and your families are welcome on
 Sunday, August 8th 
 11:30 a.m. 
*rain or shine*
as we reunite and reminisce with our former classmates and their families!
Sponsorship Option:
      Platinum  $360*
      Gold        $180*
*Includes a Reserved Parking Space 
While there is no cost to attend, contributions are greatly appreciated.
Click here to donate online
Select "Other" under Donation Information and type in "Alumni Reunion" and the # of people attending
To R.S.V.P. e-mail us at: [email protected]
Mazel Tov
Paula Schwarzmer Arbit ('66) and her husband Ken on the marriage of their daughter Rachel to Shachar Maidenbaum.
David Ehrlich ('69) and his family on the birth of a grandson!
Dr. Rabbi Ephraim Kanarfogel ('69)
and his family on the birth of three grandchildren!
Robert Patchen ('82) and his wife Lisa on the birth of a daughter!
Kevin Kline ('85) and his wife Emily on the birth of a daughter! 

Orlee Zorbaron ('90) and Michael Wedner on their recent marriage!

Sean Tyszler ('91) and his wife Rachel on the birth of a daughter!
Yarin Kirchen ('94) on his marriage to Debbie Zimmer!
Michael Veetal ('95)
and Merav Wenig on their engagement! 
Asher Gelman ('96) and his wife Rachael on the birth of a son!
Stephanie Koutcher ('96)
on her engagement to Joey Kandelman!
Marc Aspis ('97)
on his graduation from Law School!
Gavi Hoffman ('97) and his wife Tali on the birth of a daughter!
Jacob Oksman ('97) and Julie Elterman on their upcoming marriage!
Dena Arumugam ('98) on her marriage to Matt Czaja!
Landon Berns ('98)
on his engagement to Alana Gendelman
Michael Shapiro ('98) on his engagement to Lisa Schwartz!

Lauren Gelnick ('99) on making Aliyah!

Sam Stern ('00) on his engagement to Rachel Levy!
Adina Haramati ('02) on her engagement to Avi Pekurovsky 

 Did you get into college or graduate school?  Did you find your bashert and get married or bring a little bundle of joy into the world? We'd love to hear about what you've been up to since graduation!

   E-mail us at: 
  [email protected]  
with anything you'd like to share with us or your fellow WDS Alumni.  

Congrats Class of '06!

 Congratulations to the Class of 2006 on their high school graduation and acceptances to:
University of Maryland, Boston
University, Emory University, Columbia University,University of Arizona, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh,  Stern College for Women S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program, Queens College, Baruch College, University of Michigan,  Binghamton University, Brandeis University, Macaulay Honors College at City College, Lehman College, University of Albany
Migdal Oz, Bar Ilan,  Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi, Reishit, 
 Midreshet Lindenbaum, Hebrew University, Young Judea, Michlalah, Midreshet Amit, Midreshet Yeud, Harova, Sha'alvim for Women, Yeshivat Sha'arei Meveseret Zion, Machon Maayan

Where in the World Are the WDS Grads?
The Global Reach 

  After graduating from WDS, many of you have relocated and we would love to hear all about it. Take Walls of Ivy with you on your journeys! Send us any travel news, your current place of location, etc. so that we can see just how widespread WDS Alumni are!  
Westchester Summer Day
is the perfect place for your child this summer! 

What makes us
 so special?
With our 26 acre beachfront property, improved swim program and our NEW ropes course and climbing wall, your child will have the experience of a lifetime!
For more information about WSD, contact us at [email protected]
  (914) 698-8900 ext. 153
Find us on Facebook!
Find us on Facebook  
"WDS Alum" 
  Join Our Group on LinkedIn!
"Westchester Day School Alumni"
 View our profile on LinkedIn
An exciting step forward for WDS:  Lower Tuition
for the 2010-2011 Academic Year!
 Click here 
to read more!
Become a Class Representative! 
We are looking for alumni from each graduating class (at least 2 per grade) to represent their grade and work with the WDS Alumni Committee on any future projects!
1970- Robert Lebovics 
1972- David Hall
1973- Cindy Askowitz 
1976- Pamela 
          Ehrenkranz Zur
1977- Shari Pitkoff  
1979-Yitz Twersky,  
         Goldberg Meller,
         Robin Askowitz 
1982- Mark Novitz
1983- Donald Reich 
1984- Sara Meyers  
         Sadinoff, Nicole 
         Adler Dicker
1986- Wendy Packer  
1988- Robert  
1989- Dafna Winter 
1991-Naomi Konovitch
         Evan Farber
1992- Danny Essner
         Rina Tyszler 
1993- Robyn Levenfus
1997- Michelle  
1998- Caryn Friedman 
1999- Gila Daman
2000- Arielle Harary 
2001- Adam Moskovich
2002-Caroline Trencher
2003- Risa Mannis 
2004- Jesse Bernstein
2005- Jordana Samot
2006- Jason Langer, 
        Sara Just-Michael
2007- Avital Mannis
2008- Nicky Bernstein
2009- Amanda Povman
2010- Sophia Zeitz,
          Yaela Halper
If you are interested, please e-mail us here
Much of our contact information is out of date. Please tell us a little bit more about yourself by filling out our WDS Alumni Update Form

Please send us any email addresses of your friends and family who  graduated from WDS!  

 This edition of
 Walls of Ivy featured WDS graduates from the following years: 

Adam Taylor,  1966 

    Tami Wiesen Stalbow, 1973
 Joshua Malina, 1980


 Sean Tyszler, 1991
    Julie Krausz Groveman, 1997
   Emily Hammerman, 2000
Yaela Halper & Josh Goldschmidt, 2010 
Dear Friends, 
Welcome back to the Walls of Ivy!
In this newsletter, you will get a chance to reconnect with Westchester Day School and your former classmates! See what everyone has been up to and learn about some of our incredible Alumni!
This edition features Alumni whose careers revolve around technology and the arts. Many of them express their talent and capture audiences through television, theater, radio and fine art.
We hope you find this edition of Walls of Ivy entertaining.
Sit back, relax and enjoy!
From Farfel to Fame  
 Joshua Malina (Class of '80)

 Joshua Malina                               I am delighted to have been asked to participate in Walls of Ivy II. I love a good sequel. I thought I'd write about the occasional intersection of my life as a Jew with my career as an actor. The first of these would be my appearance at WDS in my 8th grade production of DAMN YANKEES. The year would be 1979, for I am old. By this time I had given up my childhood dream to be a rabbi/Good Humor man and was already focused on acting.

I was psyched to be cast in the role of Applegate, the slick salesman to whom Joe Boyd sells his soul in exchange for a shot at the pennant. Among the highlights of the experience were a backstage tussle with Michael Rieber (can't quite remember what we were fighting about) and burning my hand with a low-tech magic trick during the climactic moment of the show. But most importantly, years later as I pursued acting professionally, I would often bolster my confidence by reminding myself that if I could manage to play the Devil at a yeshiva, I should be able to do anything.
Flash forward to 1988 -- I am out of college and living in New York City, trying to make it as an actor. I didn't have an agent at this point, so I could only go to auditions that were open to all union members. These were insane cattle calls with hundreds of people jockeying for one job. I saw a notice about an "open call" for a pizza commercial, so I dashed over to the location and hit the back of the line which was outside and around the block.
A couple hours later, I finally made it into the building, and to my horror I discovered that every actor was being given a slice of pizza to eat on camera. This normally wouldn't have been a problem, but it happened to be Pesach. When I got to the front, I tried to explain that I couldn't eat the pizza, but I'd do a great job miming it. "No," the casting director explained, "you gotta eat it on camera." At this point I tried to enlighten her on the fundamentals of Passover and the prohibition against eating leavened food. She was unmoved, so I launched into the Exodus story, beginning with Joseph being sold into slavery. No dice; I was out of luck. I walked away from the audition, Jewish pride intact, acting career stalled.
My last story is another Passover-related memory, albeit a happier one. In 1999, I got my first job as a regular on a TV series. It was a show called "Sports Night." In one episode, my character ("Jeremy") organizes a seder at work for his colleagues. It's a fantastic script that has Jeremy writing an Exodus play for his co-workers to perform and concludes with me saying kiddush. It was a treat to finally act in something with a little Jewish substance to it. Magnifying the fun was the fact that my parents and one of my sisters were there when we shot it.
Working on that episode is one of the highlights of my career. People of all religious backgrounds enjoyed the material. Ten years later, strangers still mention it to me, many adding that they were thankful for my use of "Adoshem" and "Elokeinu," which seemed appropriate to employ, as I had to film the scene about 20 times. I have always appreciated how my years at WDS helped me become the person that I am today. But I guess in some ways my time there also makes me the actor I am today, if only to the extent that I am able to add "Can recite kiddush" to the "Special Skills" section of my resume.
To Friend or Not to Friend 
Tami Wiesen Stalbow (Class of '73)
I distinctly remember a sentence my mother repeated throughout my youth:  "I'm your mother...not your friend," and I reluctantly admit to having used these very words with my own kids.  The era of Facebook however, has introduced a new twist to the concept of "friend." 
The noun, friend, is a common English word; a friend is defined as "a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard" (  The verb "to friend" however, is not found in traditional dictionary sources.  It and its opposite ("to unfriend") are creations of Facebook and other 21st century social networking outlets.  So what is this "friending" all about?  Or to use William Shakespeare's language, "To friend, or not to friend, that is the question."
A number of years ago, I ventured into the world of Facebook.  I bravely opened an account, added a profile and began to search for "friends".  Not many of my friends had Facebook accounts at the time, so the first two people I "friended" were my sons, Teddy and Daniel (WDS '03 and '05).  They were quick to remind me of my parental status and were not particularly keen about my invitation for "friend-ship".  My quest for cyber-friends progressed slowly at first.  I was not adept at searching and many of my peers had yet to discover the joys of Facebook.  Slowly, I gathered enough "friends" so as not to feel lonely.  High school, college and graduate school friends resurfaced, as did long lost family members, colleagues and business associates. 
Imagine my surprise a number of months ago, when I clicked on the WDS Alumni page and found the famous (or infamous) graduation photos that adorned the walls of the WDS hallway for as long as I can remember.  The walls of ivy had crossed the threshold of cyberspace in the form of a Facebook group.  I browsed through the photos and located family members and friends spanning decades of WDS students. 
In addition to reminiscing, I was able to pinpoint the exact year that students exchanged party dresses for caps and gowns (1986), the number of times Mr. Plotnick appears in the photos (4), and the number of indoor vs. outdoor photos (9 indoors, 49 outdoors).  While I am not certain, I believe that Teddy, our eldest (and member of the Class of 2003), holds the distinction of being the only graduate photographed with a full beard.  And they say that Facebook is a waste of time!
I was happy to see that a number of former WDS classmates used the graduation photos as an opportunity to reconnect.  Friendly banter among Steven Grundwerg, Martin Rubenstein, Judy Kamerman Weingarden, Barrie Graham, Danny Turetsky, Jeffrey Schlossberg and me was entertaining.  I am not caught up with everyone as yet and have not even "friended" all of them as yet, but the connection is there.  I look forward to continued communication with them and to hearing from the remaining members of the Class of 1973 as the WDS alumni network expands. 
WDS Comic
The Sweet Smell of Success
Adam Taylor (Class of '66)
As the Grateful Dead said, "What a long strange trip it's been." This would certainly describe my arrival in the music business in the middle of 2001. Caswell-Massey, the oldest chemists and perfumers in the United States, was my family's business (our involvement began in 1916) and I grew up surrounded by the pungent scents of soaps, potpourris, lotions, shampoos and the like. After college, I officially joined the firm and along with my brother Josh, my father Milton and his brother, helped oversee the expansion of the business from one store to 35 stores, and from a small mail order business to one sending out millions of mail order catalogs every year. This is how I cut my teeth and learned what makes a business successful. We sold the business in 1989.
All during college and my life at Caswell-Massey, I had a fascination with music and with people in the music industry, many of whom shopped at the store. I even had the privilege of meeting and spending a few minutes with three out of the four Beatles (still waiting on Ringo!).
I had a dream of working in the entertainment industry but in spite of my interest in music, I never actually thought of going into the music business. Instead, after selling Caswell-Massey, I pursued my entertainment industry dream by setting up a company with a friend to produce documentaries, reality programming and TV movies. This work took me to Los Angeles.
In the late 90's, I set up another company to produce Caswell-Massey type products which took me to south Florida, where I lived for three years. As luck would have it, a friend of mine from the music business, who was visiting us, was looking for someone to run a company they had an interest in. This was just at a time when I was thinking of returning to NY or LA. One thing led to another, and I became president of APM in June 2001.
APM is the largest production music library in the world. We commission songwriters and composers to write music for our library and this library is made available to television, movie and videogame producers for use in their productions. We also supply countless corporations, websites, YouTube video producers and others with music.
It is a fascinating world, and one of the few areas of the music business that has remained successful, profitable and grows every year. Interesting to note is that our industry has become completely dependent on technology for its business. Where people used to browse through our CDs for music, today it all comes down to the online search through our search engine and delivering a set of relevant results so that the user will find the exact track he or she is looking for out of the hundreds of thousands that we have. It is a challenging and fascinating time in the industry with new changes and growth opportunities ahead as we move more into the digital space and mobile platforms.
I have thought about the common threads in my life and I believe that the two most influential and foundational aspects of my upbringing were the moral framework given to me by my father and the education and respect for education I gained from attending Westchester Day School. I was there at the time of Maurice Plotnick, the founding headmaster, and his influence on me cannot be overstated. I believe the combination of the Hebrew learning, particularly the dialectical structure of the Talmud and its discussion of ethics, along with the powerful secular education we received, gave me a toolset that I use every day of my life. I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to have been at Westchester Day school.
Stage Presence 
Emily Hammerman (Class of '00)
If you ask any of my childhood friends they would tell you that during play dates I routinely roped them into acting in my home-made plays and performing in my family's living room with an audience of siblings, parents and stuffed animals. I have been a theatre-maker as long as I can remember. My passion for the arts grew as I continued to take classical piano lessons, pursue dance classes and attend performing arts summer camps.
After graduating WDS in 2000 and continuing my Jewish education at Ramaz, I had little time to dedicate to artistic activities, and theatre emerged as the priority amongst them. I constantly wanted to be onstage, to dive into a new script and rehearsal process, and to me, theatre was much more than an extracurricular activity.

I decided to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where I would receive a BFA in Drama, thrilled with the prospect of semesters full of classes such as acting, voice, directing, movement and accents/dialects.

My first job out of college was running a circus. Literally. I ran a 2,300 person circus site in downtown Manhattan. I wasn't performing in the trapeze acts, but I was enabling the production to happen. I quickly learned about ticketing systems and venue management. I have since gone on to work in Carnegie Hall, on Broadway and off-Broadway, doing everything from building sets, hanging lights, production and stage management to being executive producer of off-Broadway shows.

I remember fairly vividly the day of my Chag HaSiddur in the first grade. We were lining up to go to the auditorium. Adrenalin-filled, I suddenly burst into tears. Mrs. Rossler pulled me aside and asked me what the problem was. I told her I didn't understand why I was playing a narrator who had to wear this itchy, ugly costume, while some of my friends got to perform a dance in beautiful white dresses in which they were playing angels. I told Mrs. Rossler that I was envious of the other girls and didn't understand why I wasn't in their group number. She told me that the job I had in the play was more important, that as a narrator it was my job to tell the story.  

My sister Rachel asked me one day in high school why theatre was so important to me. She stated that surely I must find theatre hugely important, otherwise why did I spend so much time doing it? Why did I think it was worthwhile? I was shocked, I had never thought about it in those terms before. It was then that I realized that I truly believe that performance - music, theatre, dance - can actually change the world. I believe in the power of affecting an audience through storytelling.
I currently work at the Cherry Lane Theatre, the longest running continuous off-Broadway theatre. Its mission is as follows: "to cultivate an urban artist colony, perpetuate our groundbreaking heritage and engage audiences as partners in creating theatre that illuminates contemporary issues and, at its best, transforms the spirit." I truly believe in my capability, along with my colleagues in the theatrical community, to achieve that caliber of inspiration.
Graduates' Glory Days
Yaela Halper and Josh Goldschmidt (Class of '10)
On behalf of the 2010 graduating class, we would like to thank the entire WDS faculty for the amazing experience that they provided to us throughout the years. It is with this educational foundation that we will succeed throughout our lives.
Along with our outstanding education, we also formed incredible friendships with our classmates. These friendships carried us through the good times and the bad. Our friends have encouraged us as well as advised us. These connections will stay with us forever. 
 Class of 2010
As our days at WDS come to a close, we are beginning to realize that every experience we have shared at WDS has been meaningful and memorable. From singing our hearts out at Chag HaSiddur to making it  to the Yeshiva League basketball championships to journeying down to Washington DC last month, we have created strong bonds with one another. These experiences have helped us grow as individuals,  taught us derech eretz, and have ultimately inspired us to achieve greatness.
We want to thank every teacher, Rabbi and staff member for being great mentors and guiding us on a path of Torah and middot. We know that we will miss everything about Westchester Day School because Westchester Day School has truly become our second home. 
Congratulations to the Class of 2010 and welcome to the WDS Alumni Community!
Rabbi of Radio
Sean Tyszler (Class of '91)
Music has always been an important part of my life.  I remember really being interested in music and enjoying what I was listening to back when I was in the 8th grade at WDS.  From then on, I wanted music to be part of my life.  I even took saxophone lessons after school.  But it was not until High School that I knew I wanted music to be my career. I would spend hours listening to the radio and reading up on rock music.  I even wrote my senior thesis on rock music in America.  Music was an area that I was always passionate about, and I felt I had knowledge in the field.  


In 1998, my senior year of college, I landed an internship at K-Rock, New York. I learned how radio ran as a business,how the format is developed and maintained and which music is appropriate to play. It was at K-Rock that the programming staff hired me as a programming assistant. This is where I received my radio personality name "Rabbi," and I have used it professionally ever since.  I met the band Pearl Jam and when I was introduced, the band thought I was a real Rabbi.
In 2003 I was hired as music director at a legendary Rock station in Philadelphia, PA, WMMR-FM. My main job responsibility is to schedule all the music that our listeners hear on a daily basis.  I work closely with record representatives, who try to convince me to play their music.  I use my expertise along with research to create our station playlists and our station format.


When I first started in radio, I was playing music from CD's, which have become almost obsolete. In today's radio world-everything is digital.  Everything we play on the air has to be put into our digital system.  The system most radio stations use today can be automated and can include pre-recorded talk from radio hosts.  


I also maintain WMMR's website.   I update it with current music news, audio and video pieces, and relevant information about the bands we play.  One of my favorite aspects of the site is the fact that I have the freedom to expose listeners to new music that I discover before adding it on air.  We stream our signal and also produce daily podcasts for our morning show consisting of interviews with artists we interview.   We have also introduced a lot of video to our website to make it more interactive.  We offer a digital itunes music store and playlists so listeners can purchase music anytime they want.  Radio websites used to be a means of promotion; now they are a way to generate revenue and expand our signal to reach more people.  We offer applications to use on a smartphone so listeners can hear WMMR anywhere in the world.  Our company is all about embracing new technology; we know how to use it to our advantage.
I am also an on-air announcer Sunday nights on WMMR.  I play rock music as well as songs that I personally enjoy.  I relate the songs I play to current music news, along with stories about bands and include my own personal opinions and observations.   My favorite part of my air shift is specialty weekends where we "break" format a little to play songs that listeners have not heard in a while.  Interaction with listeners is also an important aspect of being on the air. By picking up the phone and saying "hello MMR," the listeners have someone to communicate with.  I also jumped into the podcast world and started soliciting interviews from bands that we might not air.  I know our audience is diverse and interested in hearing about bands that we do not play on a regular basis.
I also coordinate interviews and concert promotions for the station.  I was once backstage at an Ozzy Osbourne contest with my wife Rachel and oldest son Jeremy, who was nine months old at the time.  Ozzy told me "cute kid, lotta hair."  Many musicians think that I am a real Rabbi and ask me questions about Judaism and religion.  It is always a positive experience to meet these famous musicians.  Coldplay's Chris Martin and Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters even refer to me as Rabbi after having met them both a few times.
Some critics say that radio as a medium is dead. I can tell you definitely that it is not true. MMR just celebrated its 42nd birthday in April. We have many loyal listeners who come to our events, participate in our contests and give us "their time spent listening" daily.   I am very happy with the decisions that I have made in my life and career and feel truly blessed to be a part of the dynamic world of broadcast music.  I would not change it for anything and I could not see myself doing anything else.  
The Power of Art 
Julie Krausz Groveman (Class of '97)
After graduating from WDS, I attended Westchester Hebrew High School and proceeded on to Bar Ilan University for my freshman year.  Following Bar Ilan I went to Binghamton University and graduated in 2005 with a BA in Sociology.
It was during my senior year in college that I met my husband, Adam, through a mutual friend who attended the University of Pennsylvania with him.  After just 9 months of dating, Adam proposed to me on my 22nd birthday, and 9 months after that we got married. 
I moved down to Atlanta in the hopes of finding a job in non-profit public relations.  I had worked many summers and winters for various PR firms and always thought it was what I wanted to do. The market was horrible and left me jobless and alone during the day while Adam was at work. Being left to my own devices and having always had body image issues, I started on a downward spiral with a severe eating disorder.
About 5 months later and almost 20 pounds lighter, people around me started to get very worried and suggested I start seeking help. I agreed to therapy to get everyone off my back. After several sessions of therapy, I finally opened my eyes and became determined to get healthy. As much as I desired and worked to be healthy, I was failing and my health was deteriorating rapidly at just 23 years old.
 It was at our one year wedding anniversary that Adam and our therapist sat me down and told me they knew I was working hard and doing my best, but it was time for a more intensive treatment plan.  Adam and I believed that a person could fully recover from an eating disorder so it was important to us both that I attend a facility that had that mentality as well. So we packed our bags and went to check out various facilities. We knew at that time that we might never come back to Atlanta, and sure enough we never did.
I ended up attending an out patient treatment center in Brentwood, California.  One of the components to the treatment program was art therapy.  Prior to this, I had never picked up a crayon, marker or paintbrush. I never believed myself to be creative, let alone artistic. I was incredibly reluctant to do the art therapy and tried to get out of it every time, but I was forced to do it since it was part of the treatment. I let go of all my inhibitions and had fun and started to find art very relaxing and enjoyable. After three months of intensive treatment, I had made major strides in my recovery.  It was not without much difficulty, but through a lot of hard and exhausting work, I graduated from the program at a healthy weight and with a healthy mind and attitude.

After another few months of living in Los Angeles, we decided it was time for the next step in our lives. Adam had always wanted to work with his family in the family's real estate business, back in Memphis, TN, and now that we were stable as individuals and as a couple it was time to get back to reality. We moved to Memphis in January of 2008. I decided I did not want to stop doing art, so I started going to art sessions with other adults who all just painted together.  From there, I made a whole group of "art" friends, which also got me involved in the Memphis art scene. People started encouraging me to show and sell my work, and while I was and still continue to be diffident about it, I put myself out there and have turned my passion into my career.

My art reflects my personality, my passions, desires and experiences. Whether I am painting a landscape or an abstract mixed media piece, I put my all into each painting. I keep an updated portfolio of my work online at
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For more information about Westchester Day School, to get involved in the Alumni Committee, to post in the Mazel Tov Announcement or to write an article for Walls of Ivy, e-mail us at [email protected].

WDS Alumni Commitee                                                 Rachel Goldman [email protected]                                              Executive Director