By Deb Silverthorn
Akiba Yavneh Academy celebrated the completion of Annette’s Torah, on Oct. 17 at a dedication ceremony in memory of the beloved wife, mother, teacher and community leader Annette Becker Wolk.
“V’shaim, kedushas Sefer Torah. Mazel Tov!” said Rabbi Howard Wolk as he completed the last letter.
“Annette was a teacher par excellence who did it with love, tenderness and with pleasantness,” said Wolk, of his wife of blessed memory. “This was a labor of love that we very much appreciate, and we express our appreciation for everyone who participated in this holy project, truly the greatest tribute.”
Nearly 100 guests were in person with many others online, joining Rabbi Zerach Greenfield, the Torah’s sofer/scribe and longtime family friend, to complete the Torah contributed by family, friends and community members from around the world.
“Hashem loved Avraham because he would pass Hashem’s ways onto his children. Likewise, Hashem loves Annette because of the way she taught God’s Torah and His ways to our children and to me as well,” said Wolk. “Her endearing way of teaching with softness and with love. It transcended levels of education generations and level of Jewish education. She transformed the hearts and minds of her students as individuals.”
Born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Esther and Sidney Becker, of blessed memory, Annette was the sister of Joel Becker and Linda Zurndorfer. She and Wolk had six children; Eli (Amy), Michal (Rabbi Eric) Olshan, Yonatan (Lani), Rabbi Akiva (Rachel), Gavi (Talia) and Shimi (fiancé Marissa Cinnamon) and 19 grandchildren.
She served as rebbetzin of Congregation Shaare Tefilla for many years and was beloved as a teacher at Akiba Yavneh Academy, Congregation Tiferet Israel and at Ann and Nate Levine Academy. She taught Israeli dance and swimming; mentored b’not mitzvah and guided women on practices of modesty and relationships. She was a founder of the chevra kadisha, leader of Dallas’ Jewish community mission trips to Israel, official cheerleading captain of the Akiba Cougars, Yavneh Bulldogs and more.
“This was an incredible event that brought together, in many ways, the great numbers of people Annette connected with,” said Terri Rohan, a longtime friend of Annette’s and co-chair of the event with her husband Richard, Ilana and Itzy Ribald, Joshua and Lisa Rothstein and Karen and Michael Zucker. The project also drew the support of nine rabbinic chairs and 85 honorary chairs. “The respect and kavod shown to her, and her memory, is the response to how Annette touched so many and how she will continue to forever.”
Corporate sponsors are IMA Financial Group, Dani and Darryl Meyerovitz’s Financial Planning Associates Private Wealth Management, Marsh McLennan Agency, Kyle Rovinsky Real Estate Services and the Texas Jewish Post.
In honor of Annette’s daily power walk with students and faculty through the campus, her spirited way to start the day, guests danced with the Torah on the same path at the Schultz Rosenberg Campus.
Participants sang: “Toras Hashem temimah meshivat nafesh, edut Hashem neemanah mechkimat peti,” or “God’s instruction is pure, it revives the soul, God’s testimony is faithful, it makes wise the simple.”
Rabbi Yaakov Green, head of school, described the scene as a vivid reminder about the continuity of the Jewish people. The campus, he said, was “alive with Jews living and learning Torah every single day and experiencing the joy of our Yiddishkeit, of our Judaism. There is nothing more valuable, more important, or more beautiful.”
He continued: “Morah Chana Annette was a power, a force and a leader in every single room she was in. She would lead our students in loud song, and they would follow her lead and sing out their souls. May Annette’s prayers, her songs, her energy and now her Sefer Torah be just what we need to pierce the heavens.”
To share in Annette’s Torah,visit tinyurl.com/Annettes-Torah-Akiba-Yavneh or email AYA Director of Development Marcy Kahn at firstname.lastname@example.org before Dec. 31.