Esther Wirgin Goldman ('56) on the birth of a grandson to her son Adam Goldman ('80)!
Dr. Ike Wirgin ('61) on the birth of twin granddaughters born to his son Michael Wirgin ('91)!
Mahla Kamerman Soniker ('61) on the birth of a grandson to her son Robby Soniker ('94)!
Arnold Bernstein ('64) on the birth of a grandson born to his son Ben and his daughter in law Anna ('94)!
Warren Graham ('68) on the engagement of his daughter Donna to Matt Cheifetz!
Cindy Askowitz Remin ('73) on the engagement of her son Steven Linder ('98)!
Rabbi Alan Berkowitz (' 75) on being honored at the Hebrew Institute of White Plains Dinner!
Adam Goldman ('80) and his wife Liz on the birth of a son!
Barry Finkelstein ('82) & his wife Elissa on the birth of a son!
Debra Stahl ('84) and Manny Reich on their recent marriage!
Plia Lippman Cohen ('85) and her husband Craighton on the birth of a daughter!
Tobi Apfeldorf Greenwald ('87) and her husband Rabbi Shlomo ('82) on the birth of a daughter!
Jill Starr Steinhause ('87)
and her husband Brian on the birth of a daughter!
Daniel Anziska ('89) and his wife Rachel on the birth of a son!
Jana Chasan Romm ('90) and her husband Gideon on the birth of a son!
Jonathan Rosenfeld ('90) and his wife Rachel on the birth of a daughter!
Alanna Yudin ('90) on her engagement to Philip Cohen!
Orlee Zorbaron ('90) on her engagement to Michael Wedner!
Michael Wirgin ('91) & his wife Emily on the birth of twin daughters!
Sandi Apfeldorf Sack ('92) and her husband Victor on the birth of a daughter!
Adam Fishman ('93) & his wife Allison on the birth of a son!
Lawrence Koutcher ('93) and his wife Samantha on the birth of a daughter!
Sophia Rackman Hershman ('93) & Steven Hershman ('93) on the birth of a daughter!
Darren Wolf ('93) & his wife Tanya on the birth of a son!
Anna Soss Bernstein ('94) & her husband Ben on the birth of a son!
Daniel Seligsohn ('94) & Daniella Kaplan on their recent marriage!
Robby Soniker ('94) and his wife Adena on the birth of a son!
Anya Rackman Weibke ('94) and her husband Chaim on the birth of a son!
Liza Wolf ('94) on her engagement to Akiva Kret!
Debra Benet Wunder ('96) and her husband Danny on the birth of a daughter!
Etan Epstein ('97) & his wife Racheli on the birth of a son! on her engagement to Adam Altman!
Dena Arumugram ('98) on her engagement to Matt Czaja!
Steven Linder ('98) on his engagement to Sari Fallas!
Jordana Miller ('98)
Aliza Ainsberg ('99) on her engagement to Jacob Goldstein!
Danielle Epstein ('99) and her husband Josh Grajower on the birth of a son!
Jeremy Rosenfeld ('99) & his wife Adena on the birth of a son!
Zachary Weinberg ('99) on his engagement to Rebecca Gottlieb!
Danielle Miller ('00) and her husband Daniel Pulver on their recent marriage!
Adam Reich ('00) & his wife Ariana on the birth of a son!
Reuben Berman ('01) & his wife Miriam on the birth of a son!
Adina Greenberg ('01) and Avi Metchik on their recent engagement!
Shani Porter ('02) on her engagement to Elan Nyer!
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!
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!
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An exciting step forward for WDS: Lower Tuition
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|Westchester Day School has been providing students with a first-rate education for 62 years.
to learn more about all of the exciting developments of your Alma Mater.
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!
1972- David Hall
1977- Shari Pitkoff
1998- Caryn Friedman
1999- Gila Daman
2000- 2002- CarolineTrencher
2001- Adam Moskovich
2004- Jesse Bernstein
2005- Jordana Samot
2007- Avital Mannis
2008- Nicky Bernstein
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 here
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:
Sara Meyers Sadinoff, 1984
Jill Friedman & Daniel Katz, 1996
Reuben Berman, 2001
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 issue centers around the theme of Hakarat HaTov which translates to gratitude: our ability to recognize that good was done and to always appreciate that good. Below you will find several articles written by WDS Alumni of various years which revolve around this idea of giving back, a concept the Jewish people value deeply. We hope you enjoy this edition of Walls of Ivy.
Giving Back to Hashem by Including Others A Dvar Torah By Eytan London (Class of '00)
An integral part of Pesach is telling the story of the Exodus during the Maggid portion of the Seder. We begin Maggid by holding up our Matzoh and declaring that this is the Bread of Affliction that our forefathers ate while they were in Egypt. Directly following this, we call out to all those who may be hungry and invite them to join in our Seder. The question that arises is: what is the connection between these two seemingly unrelated statements? What does the Matzoh of Egypt have to do with inviting poor people to our Seder?
To properly answer this question, we first need to analyze how Hashem took us out of Egypt. Rav Chaim Friedlander notes that we were slaves in a land not our own, a land that was the most powerful in its time. Nonetheless, Hashem came in with His outstretched arm and a strong hand and took us out. As a result of this, we are constantly obligated to acknowledge the good that Hashem did for us and give back to Him in any way we can. The obvious concern is how do we give back to Hashem, an omnipresent being?
There is an idea that every person is created in the image of Hashem. When we do good deeds for people, we are also doing good deeds towards Hashem. Therefore, when we mention the Bread of Affliction of Egypt, we are reminded of the freedom that was provided to us only through the benevolence of Hashem. With this in mind, we feel inspired to provide someone else with freedom just as Hashem did for us, and we offer to provide a lavish meal for a person who cannot afford one on his own.
After graduating from WDS, Eytan attended WHHS. From there, he proceded to spend two years in Yeshivat Reishit Yerushaliym. In May 2009, Eytan graduated from Yeshiva University with a BA in Psychology. He and his wife currently live in Israel where he is a fellow in the Yeshiva University Israel Kollel as part of the YU Smicha Program.
Meet Your Alumni Liaison
(Morah) Jill Friedman (class of '96)
Jill Friedman has been a part of the WDS
Family since 1985. After graduating from WDS,
Jill went on to receive her B.A. in Early
Childhood Education from Yeshiva University
and her M.S. in Literacy Education from The
College of New Rochelle.
Jill has since returned to WDS, this time on the
other side of the teacher's desk. "What better place to teach than the institution that inspired me and provided me with such an incredible education!" Jill explained.
Jill is currently in her sixth year of teaching at WDS and works as a Learning Support Specialist with the fourth and fifth grades in Judaic Studies and with the fifth and sixth grades in ELA.
Working diligently to establish a strong WDS Alumni Community, Jill is excited to be sending you this newsletter and hopes that we expand and strengthen our Alumni connections.
Feel free to contact Jill at email@example.com with any suggestions, questions or comments.
The Many Generations of WDS
An Interview with Sara Meyers Sadinoff (Class of '84)
We caught up with Sara Meyers Sadinoff, who now has three children attending Westchester Day School (Gabrielle ('14), Orlee ('17) and Peri ('19) and we asked her some "Then and Now" questions about WDS:
1) What is your favorite memory of WDS?
I have two distinct memories from WDS (at least that are appropriate for this interview, and I would like to help my fellow classmates from the class of '84 who took a walk with me down memory lane ). Eighth Grade graduation on the back lawn of the school, with the class walking down the back path to the overture of Aida. Each time I hear that music, I get a bit nostalgic. Also, I loved the Lag B'Omer school-wide capture the flag in the front of the school (at least I remember the whole school playing).
2) What is the best tradition that WDS has maintained to this day?
The Wall of Graduation pictures in the front entrance -- on a more personal note, I love that every day my girls see their Nana's class picture, Class of '57 (the class with only 2 girls), their great aunt Judy, class of '55, their uncle Billy, '81, me, their mom, '84, and their aunt Becca, '86. I look forward to the day that their class pictures are hung on the wall -- classes of '14, '17, and '19. From generation to generation to generation.
3) What do you wish WDS would bring back for your child to enjoy?
"Mid the Walls of Ivy", the school song. Also, each morning, Mr. Plotnick, the school's headmaster, would greet each student as he or she exited the school bus.
4) How do you feel about the removal of the red doors?
The doors aren't red? -- I guess they will always be red to me.
5) Who was your most memorable teacher?
I was not what one would call a memorable student (I really excelled at gym), but I do recall enjoying Mar Zeigler's class and the way he randomly graded our papers (which was a help to me).
6) What was your favorite lunch at WDS?
The food at school was awful, terrible and inedible, except for the Yodels on Fridays. When the food was really bad, I would tell Mrs. Rensin, the school nurse, that I did not feel well, and she would give me tea and toast. To this day, I will not eat peas or fish sticks and I will not serve them to my kids.
7) What was your favorite trip?
Unlike today, we did not take many trips. I think I remember three trips, at most, in my 8 plus years at WDS. I loved the 5th grade trip to Ellis Island, I believe the trip was in conjunction with the 5th grade Family Tree project.
8) Who was your favorite speaker?
Again, the memory is shaky, but I do recall the speech on school bus safety and how we had to watch a movie on how to not get hit by a bus.
9) What does WDS have now that you wish you had?
The times are just so different -- computers, smart boards, differentiated learning, experiential learning.
10) When you came back to WDS with your child for the first time, how did you feel?
The amazing thing was that when I first came to see the school with my child I hadn't been there in over 20 years. I had never driven to the school always taking the New Rochelle bus, but I still knew the way, without directions.
11) What do you hope WDS will not bring back?
In 6th and 7th grade, the girls had home ec. We had to sew our own skirts each year to wear at the Israeli Day parade. I am grateful that I learned how to sew a button, but having to wear the skirt (I'm not sure what the material was) at the parade, dancing, not marching, up 5th avenue was pretty awful.
After graduating from WDS, Sara went to Ramaz and then on to Brandeis University. Sara continued her education at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She is now an attorney at Enea, Scanian & Sirignano LLP and concentrates in Elder Law, Estate Planning, Guardianship and long term care planning strategies, with a focus on Medicaid home care and nursing home issues.
Fighting For What's Right
Daniel Katz (Class of '96)
United States Army Veteran
The 8th grade students at WDS were treated to a very special guest speaker. Dan Katz, a 1996 WDS graduate, who is currently a member of the 5th Special Forces Unit of the U.S. Army, came in to discuss his life and the war in Iraq.
After graduating from WDS, Mr. Katz went on to Horace Mann High School in NYC, before receiving his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. When he graduated Penn in 2003, he found himself in a country still reeling from the 9/11 attacks, and an army stretched thin fighting wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Realizing he had benefited from the many freedoms awarded him in our country, he felt it was his duty to help serve our nation by joining the army. He was one of the few new recruits accepted into the Special Forces program. He was open and honest with our classes about his two tours in Iraq. He explained that on his first tour, he was in charge of the health and well being of prisoners that were being interrogated. During his second tour of duty, his team was in charge of training the Iraqi E.R.B. units, which would be the equivalent of a S.W.A.T. unit in the United States. Fortunately, he did not face any hostility for being a Jewish soldier in a Muslim country, but he did have difficulty staying observant. As he says, "The army works on its own schedule." Mr. Katz is currently back in the United States and in graduate school studying Foreign Relations.
All We Really Need to Know,
We Learned in Kindergarten Alumni Scroll of Honor
WDS celebrated 62 years of
academic excellence at the
Westchester Day School
Annual Dinner held on
Saturday February 20th at
the Lake Isle Country Club in
Eastchester. Attendees paid
tribute to Amy & Paul Heller,
Susie & Jeff Meyers, Tina &
Joseph Orlian and WDS Morot
Miriam Dollman and Jane
Grauer. Our youngest Alumni from 1998, 2002-2009 participated in honoring our esteemed teachers in the Alumni Scroll of Honor which was part of our Virtual Dinner Journal. Participants showed their appreciation for their kindergarten teachers who paved the way for their success.
Thank you to everyone that participated in the Alumni Scroll of Honor. If you would like to see the scroll and the Virtual Dinner Journal,click here
My Life in the Army
An article by Marc Aspis (Class of '97)
My friend Doron turned to me and said: "Wait, so you went to college? And lived by yourself? In New York?" I answered,"Yes." "And now you are here with us, pitching tents, washing dishes, and doing all this other stuff?" "Once again, Yes." "Wow, Marc, you are nuts...but kol ha'kavod!"
I served in Battalion 931 (KAVOD) of the Nachal Infantry Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces from November 2005 through March 2007, discharged as a Sergeant. Throughout my service, my Israeli brothers-in-arms would frequently scratch their heads at my reasons for leaving the seemingly good life in New York to serve as an enlisted grunt in the IDF. Embittered post-Zionists would say, "Yalla, go home, stop being a dreamer." Israeli Zionists would understand it with no questions asked. Americans seem to be the most curious.
Whenever people ask me why I joined, I ask if they want the shorter answer (Zionism) or the better answer. 99% of people prefer the "better answer." So here goes:
In America, it is pretty easy to be Jewish: there are Jewish communities all over the country (I spent every Shabbat this past summer at Chabad of Alaska!), many colleges have Hillel or Chabad houses and Jewish Studies programs, kosher food is readily available all over (even at ballgames!), and Joe Lieberman came extremely close to being elected Vice President of the country. It is much easier being Jewish now than it was when my parents or grandparents grew up. People, both Jewish and Gentile, regardless of their political viewpoint, respect the State of Israel. They respect Israel for its strength - Israel's army protects it from the millions of enemies who wish to push Israel into the sea. People identify Jews in America with Israel, and thus afford Jews in America a similar level of respect. In short, I wanted to thank the State of Israel, and particularly its army, for making it easy for me to live a Jewish life in America.
After graduating from WDS, Marc continued on to Ramaz. He attended Columbia University and is currently a student at Boston University School of Law.
So when you find yourself cleaning a MAG machine gun in 100+ degree weather with a kibbutznik
, you could tell him you are a Zionist. But you can know in your mind that it is really an expression of hakarat ha'tov,
which I learned so well at WDS.
Exodus from Egypt: Hakarat Hatov
Wise words by Reuben Berman (Class of '01)
Obviously Hakarat Hatov is not something that applies only towards Hashem. Hashem taught Moshe that he had to show gratitude to inanimate things so certainly we have an obligation to show Hakarat Hatov towards people that have helped us along the way. A person's development in life is always due to his surroundings. One is impacted and built by the influences of his family, his school and his community as a whole and the ultimate expression of Hakarat Hatov is to give back to those people andinstitutions in whatever ay possible. This Pesach should be a Pesach that inspires us to live up to the Hakarat Hatov that is expected of us towards our families, our communities and to Avinu Sh'Bashamayim, our Father in Heaven.
One of Judaism's recurring themes is the remembrance of Yetziat Mitzrayim, the Exodus from Egypt. Wearing Tefilin and keeping Shabbos and Yom Tov are Zecher L'Yetziat Mitzrayim, and we are commanded to verbally mention Yetziat Mitzrayim once during the day and once at night. The climax of this remembrance is Pesach and the Seder, where the primary Mitzvah is to recount the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim. Why is Yetziat Mitzrayim so emphasized in our tradition?
Rabbeinu Bachya, in his work entitled Chovot Ha'Levavot, the Duties of the Heart, writes that a person's obligation to serve Hashem corresponds to the level of Hakarat Hatov, of gratitude that one owes Him. In addition to the seven Mitzvot that all people are commanded to keep, we, the Jewish people, are required to keep the six hundred and thirteen Mitzvot of the Torah. This is because we owe Hashem a greater level of Hakarat Hatov for the great kindness He did for us in taking us out of Mitzrayim. We are commanded to constantly remember the kindness of Yetziat Mitzrayim in order to ensure that we will remember to honor our obligation to express Hakarat Hatov. Hashem recognizes, though, that expressing Hakarat Hatov is difficult and so embedded in the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim are a number of examples of Hakarat Hatov. Rashi notes that it was Aharon, not Moshe, who Hashem told to strike the Nile and the ground to begin the plagues of Blood, Frogs and Lice because Moshe had to display Hakarat Hatov towards the Nile and the ground of Egypt for kindnesses they had performed for him in his youth. Thus, when we remember Yetziat Mitzrayim, we are not only remembering what Hashem did for us, but we are also reminded of the importance of expressing Hakarat Hatov for that kindness.
The problem is that it is difficult to relate to this need to express gratitude towards God. Do we really feel that Hashem did us such a kindness that we have to serve Him? The answer is that this is exactly the point of the Seder. We read in the Haggadah that the wise son asks, "What are the testimonies, statues and laws which Hashem, our God, has commanded you?" In response we tell him that one is not allowed to eat anything after eating the Afikoman. What does this answer mean? Avigdor Nebenzahl, the Rav of the Old City of Yerushalayim, gives a beautiful explanation in his commentary on the Haggadah. He writes that if a person eats a particular food, the taste of that food remains in his mouth only until he eats the next food, as then the next bite takes over the taste in his mouth. The question of the wise son is why we need so many Mitzvot that are Zecher L'Yetziat Mitzrayim. At the Seder we try to maintain the taste of the Matzah in our mouth as long as we can so that we will hold onto the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim as long as possible. It is for that same reason that we need these Mitzvot, as they continually remind us of Yetziat Mitzrayim. The Rambam writes that while retelling the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim at the Seder a person is obligated to make sure that he feels that he himself was taken by Hashem out of Egypt. If a person would really feel this way, then he would sense that obligation of Hakarat Hatov to Hashem that is the foundation for all of the Mitzvot. The message of Pesach is to take that sentiment of Hakarat Hatov, which is stressed in the story itself, and make sure it continues throughout the year in our remembrances of Yetziat Mitzrayim.
After graduating from Westchester Day School, Reuben went to MTA, and then spent two years learning in Israel at Yeshivat Hakotel in the Old City of Yerushalayim. He came back to Yeshiva University where he is currently in his final semester as an undergraduate student and in his first year of the Smicha Programs at RIETS, YU's Rabbinical School. Last March, Reuben married Miriam Herskovits and Baruch Hashem they had their first son, Moshe, in February.
Making Dreams a Reality
David Hall (Class of '72)
Deliver the Dream, Director of Development
When asked to write about what he's been up to since graduating WDS, David Hall reminisces, "mid the walls of Ivy, near the quiet sound- that was way, way back in 1972!"
A Mt. Vernon High School bicentennial graduate (1976), Hall continued his education at SUNY Binghamton (1980) and received a BA in Tech Theatre. A college graduate with a theatre degree, Hall worked for Empire Airlines at JFK. Then, with so many travel benefits, he moved to Northern California for six years and became Direct Mail Master for DISCovering the World, the world's leading frisbee distributor. He then advanced to Buyer at The Sharper Image where he invented, manufactured and sold high-end gadgets.
After his father's passing in 1988, Hall moved back to New York City where he worked as Regional Sales Manager at Sharp Electronics for 8 years. Hall then moved to Florida where he currently resides.
Once in Florida, Hall became the Development Director for a non-profit animal hospital for wild animals where he raised funds for animal care and animal rights. He advocated for less development by humans, more open ranges for Florida Panthers and promoted care for birds, mammals, reptiles and ducks.
Writing grants, producing special events, "schmoozing" for dollars and sometimes even begging for dollars, led Hall to the realization that, "it's not only a living, it's an art, a science and requires long hours of juggling appetizers, shaking hands and not spitting on your prospect - quite a balancing act."
Hall left the Wildlife Care Center (now in its 41st year) and now works at Deliver the Dream where he is the Chief Fundraising Executive. Deliver the Dream, with its seven person staff, generates monthly camp retreats for families living with a serious illness. The organization reaches out to people affected by diseases like Cancer, Autism, HIV/AIDS, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Sickle Cell, in addition to those impacted by the loss of a loved one.
The organization delivers an important message: the entire family is impacted when someone is seriously ill, and the family is not alone in its circumstances. At each retreat, Deliver the Dream brings 15 families together (up to 75 people) with the same illness (i.e. all have children with brain cancer), and the families are treated to a respite in the mountains. Over a 4 day period, participants are able to truly feel like families again. As a result, their strength is renewed, their spirits are mended and their quality of life has improved after becoming a part of a network of others with similar issues, in a word- transformational. "We're in the mitzvah business," Hall explains.
PS. David married for the charm- a third time. He has one child named Jaxson, who already plays in Little League and drives r/c cars. As a small claim to fame, Hall set a Guinness Book of World Records in 1983 for whistling for 25 hours non-stop!
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org