The Class of 2011


Academy of Torah in Greater Dallas celebrates the class of 2011

BACK ROW (left to right): Michael Portman, Heather Elsner, Alex Frankel, Kayla Bakhshian, Lauren Grossmann, Rose Pansick, Natalie Levine, Simone Shrell, Marissa Shrell, Max Berkowitz, Ross Yudkin, Poul Carsch and Kenny Livingston. MIDDLE ROW (left to right): Jonathan Rahmani, Scott Sebert, Max Intebi, Jared Katz, Aaron Shapiro, Ross Kahn, Lyle Sarembock, Taylor Ellis, Nathan Fleischman and Daniel Borejdo. FRONT ROW (left to right): Rabbi William Gershon, Rabbi Adam Raskin, Rabbi Eve Posen, Gail Herson, Iris Sheppard, Rabbi Stefan Weinberg, Rabbi David Glickman and Mark Stolovitsky. | Photo: Deb Silverthorn

The graduates of the ATID, (Academy for Torah in Greater Dallas) are prepared for their own “atid”, which, translated from Hebrew, means future. On May 26, the 30 students at Levine Academy celebrated the culmination of years of religious school education, and their completion of the ATID curriculum.
“The best we can give our children are the values to live by and the lessons of good morals and their heritage,” said Gail Herson, ATID education director. “The Jewish people have been around longer than almost any other, and we’ve suffered unspeakable tragedies. Still, we have never lost hope because crises makes each of us ask ‘who am I,’ and ‘what really matters to me.’”
The 2011 ATID graduates are Gabe Altman, Kayla Bakhshian, Max Berkowitz, Daniel Borejdo, Poul Carsch, Taylor Ellis, Heather Elsner, Nathan Fleischman, Alex Frankel, Mia Goetz, Lauren Grossmann, Bradley Harmon, Max Intebi, Ross Kahn, Jared Katz, Natalie Levine, Kenny Livingston, Nathan Oved, Rose Pansick, Rafi Parens, Michael Portman, Alex Rabhan, Jonathan Rahmani, Lyle Sarembock, Scott Sebert, Aaron Shapiro, Marissa Shrell, Simone Shrell, Ian Sugerman and Ross Yudkin.
“We, as rabbis, have known some of you since you were 5-years-old, and in these two years, you have inspired us,” said Rabbi William Gershon, of Congregation Shearith Israel, who teaches the ATID program, a community high school which began as a cooperative effort of Dallas area Conservative Jewish synagogues. “You may solve pollution problems, you may make incredible discoveries in the medical or legal fields, but you will always be Jewish and your Jewish education will sustain you. My challenge to you is that you will be passionate and always be connected,” Rabbi Gershon added. Other teachers include Rabbi Adam Raskin (Congregation Beth Torah), Rabbi Stefan Weinberg (Congregation Anshai Torah), Gail Herson, Rabbi Eve Posen (Levine Academy) and Mark Stolovitsky (Levine Academy).
“We and our students are blessed to have such effort put into incredible lessons of meaning,” said Herson, who gifted each student with a copy of Mitch Albom’s, “Have A Little Faith.” “To have such relevance in our weekly learning, taught by such respected, and respectful leaders of our community, is truly a gift.”
“We have nourished your souls with conversations, and helped each of you to look into your own selves to find your own beings,” Iris Sheppard, ATID Board president, told the students. “Our wish and hope is that you will continue to grow as people and as Jews, with a spark nourished by ATID.”
Each of the students took the opportunity to speak to the audience of friends and family. The made note of the cheerfulness of Gail Herson, the delicious breakfasts that awaited them each week and the friendship, and meaningfulness of the lessons in history and current events they learned. They also mentioned the  preparedness they received for defending, and educating others with a strong Jewish identity as they set forth to their higher education. “We expanded our Jewish family by coming to ATID,” said Alex Frankel. “I will miss this kind of learning.”
“May each of you never hesitate to stand for the Jewish people and to distinguish yourselves,” said Rabbi Weinberg. “You will each, as you head for campuses across the country, bring with you an intellectual curiosity. You have made it!”
Registration, for Jewish teens from the community, is now open for the 2011-2012 year. For more information email Gail Herson at


Akiba holds 2011 commencement ceremony

The Akiba Academy Class of 2011 | Photo: Holly Kuper

Akiba Academy held its 2011 commencement at Congregation Tiferet Israel on May 22nd. Scott Lacritz was named valedictorian, and Erin Wernick, the salutatorian. The 2011 Marcus Rosenberg Cup Winner for the most well-rounded student was Scott Lacritz.
The graduates, the high school they will attend and their parents are:
Benjamin Allen
International Baccalaureate Honors Program, Plano ISD
Mireille Brisebois-Allen and Ira Allen
Hadas Cohen
Yavneh Academy
Kinerit and Shay Cohen
Daniel Coretz
Marine Military Academy
Rabbi Heidi and Alan Coretz
Manya Dubrawsky
Rabbi Mendel and Baila Dubrawsky
Ari Geller
Torah Academy of Bergen County (New Jersey)
Miriam and Paul Geller
Cassandra Gross
Yavneh Academy
Pearl and Ron Gross
Ori Guttman
Yavneh Academy
Atara and Danny Guttman
Frank Hoffman
Kathleen and Dr. Jeffery Hoffman
Scott Lacritz
Yavneh Academy
Dr. Laura Lacritz and John Lacritz
Alexandra Lavi
Yavneh Academy
Faye and Yoosef Lavi
Elvira Levi
Yavneh Academy
Rosa and Josef Levi
Yossi Oziel
Nina and Isaac Oziel
Ethan Pearson
Yavneh Academy
Sara Pearson
Elki Schonbrunn
Yavneh Academy
Dorit and Joseph Schonbrunn
Zak Schultz
Yavneh Academy
Nicole Schultz and Andy Schultz
Noah Weiss
Yavneh Academy
Barbara and David Weiss
Erin Wernick
Yavneh Academy
Sheryl and Stuart Wernick


For Levine Academy grads, love of school, family, friends and tradition set the stage

By Rebecca Bailey

For the 8th graders in the class of 2011, June 2 — graduation day — was their last day at Ann and Nate Levine Academy as a student. After graduation, they are now one of 30 classes of alumni to have attended the formerly named Solomon Schechter School. Each graduate had their moment to reflect on their years at Levine Academy in a graduation address, and whether they had attended the school since age 2, or had joined the class at the beginning of the year, they expressed a common theme: a love of Levine Academy and its indelible impact on their lives.
While attended by family and friends, graduation at Levine Academy is also a community event. Rabbis from both the Conservative and Reform synagogues participated in the ceremony along with a representative from the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. Those who took part this year were Rabbis Adam Raskin of Congregation Beth Torah, William Gershon of Congregation Shearith Israel, Debra Robbins of Temple Emanu-El and Stefan Weinberg of Congregation Anshai Torah, as well as JFGD Chairman David Veeder.
Congratulations to the students in the class of 2011 who will be attending the following schools next year:
Rebecca Bailey is the communications director for Ann and Nate Levine Academy.
Class of 2011:
Blair Altman
J.J. Pearce High School
Arthur and Dr. Barbara Altman
Steven Bokov
Yavneh Academy of Dallas
Galina Bokov
Rachel Brenner
Parish Episcopal School
Steven and Lauren Brenner
Raphael Burstein
Yavneh Academy
Brenda Time and Michael Burstein
Joseph Cheniae
Episcopal School of Dallas
Christopher and Karen Cheniae
Sabrina Chudnow
Shepton High School
Dr. Robert and Sharon Chudnow
Ben Crane
Hillcrest High School
Paul and Rachelle Crane
Raizelle Edwards
Parish Episcopal School
Robert and Dr. Sharon Edwards
Kayce Goldberg
Hillcrest High School
Steven and Shari Goldberg
Aaron Herschberg
Yavneh Academy
Gabriel and Eliane Herschberg
Jacob Herstein
Yavneh Academy
Scott and Bertta Herstein
Brittany Horowitz
Yavneh Academy
Robert and Stacy Horowitz
David Iola
Highland Park High School
Randall and Darci Iola
Austin Jacoby
Yavneh Academy
Dr. Eric and Karla Jacoby

Sydney Kane

J.J. Pearce High School
David and Marlo Kane
Melissa Kurtzman
Booker T. Washington High School
Matthew and Pamela Kurtzman
Jonathan Lantz
Yavneh Academy
Jeffrey Lantz and Patricia Levy
Mikayla Lewison
Yavneh Academy
Jason and Lauren Lewison
Andrew Murphy
Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas
Melanie Kuhr Murphy and
Eric Murphy
Bennett Oberstein Shepton High School
Edward and Stephanie Oberstein
Gabi Popp
Jasper High School
Daniel and Anna Popp
Grant Prengler
J.J. Pearce High School
Craig and Tami Prengler
Ryan Rawitscher
Greenhill School
Dr. David and Rosalyn Rawitscher
Serina Romick
Yavneh Academy
Jeffery and Shani Romick
Zachary Romick
Yavneh Academy
Jeffery and Shani Romick
Noah Shore
Parish Episcopal School
Dr. Kenneth and Patty Shore
Ryan Subel
Greenhill School
Gavin and Suzanne Subel
Ariel Veytsman
Gary and Anna Veytsman
Jacob Weiner
Shepton High School
Deborah and Jonathan Herskovitz and David Weiner
Sophia Witheiler
Dr. Daniel and Abbe Witheiler


Melton Adult Mini School of Dallas graduates 32 students

The Florence Melton Adult Mini School Class of 2011 | Photo: Courtesy of the JCC

The Florence Melton Adult Mini School of Dallas graduated an exuberant group of 32 students on Tuesday, May 31. Rachelle Weiss Crane, Melton’s director, welcomed the crowd and explained that The Florence Melton Adult Mini School is unique because it’s a sequential two-year course developed specifically for adult learners. It utilizes a sophisticated, text-based, pluralistic curriculum and students develop greater Jewish literacy and familiarity with texts. Each week, they seek meaning and connection to their lives from the texts, their teachers and each other.
Keynote speaker, Temple Shalom’s Rabbi Jeremy Schneider, who is also a Melton instructor, gave an impassioned speech and spoke about the importance of asking questions in the study of Jewish text. He urged the students to continue learning, and most importantly, to continue asking questions.
A highlight of the program was the presentation of the Honu Frankel Zest for Learning Award. This award is named in memory of Honu Frankel, a former student with a zest for knowledge and someone who set an example for all as she continued her Jewish journey each week, until the end of her life. The award is presented annually to the student who most embodies the characteristics of Honu Frankel. This year the winner is Mark Stromberg. Melton regional director, Annie Glickman, said, “I sat next to Beth Stromberg , the wife of theHonu Frankel Award winner, and she was thrilled when the big announcement happened. Both she and her husband were enrolled in the Sunday morning class. Their daughter, Ariella, was sitting between them and talked about how they’d discuss what they learned on the way home after they picked her up from Sunday school. What a Melton moment!”
The audience was filled with children, grandchildren, spouses, parents, teachers and friends. The room was buzzing with excitement and graduates were beaming as they stepped up to the podium. The teachers commented on what a great group of people they were privileged to learn with each week.
Melton classes begin the week of September 11, 2011. Contact Rachelle Weiss Crane or 214-239-7128 for enrollment information.
Class of 2011:
Beverly Broman
Julie Eichelbaum
Cathy Feldman
Diane Gerber
Jill Hance
Janet Kaner
Howard Klatsky
Wendi Klatsky
Diane Laner
Lana Latman
Norma Levitan
Debra Levy
Ellen Marks
Audree Meyer
Anna Miller-Goodman
Lynn Minsky
Ann Parker
Bernie Parker
Jody Platt
Diane Plotkin
Ali Rhodes
Roy Rhodes
Cristie Schlosser
Susan Sereboff
Karen Stock
Beth Stromberg
Mark Stromberg
Monica Susman
Leanne Svec
Alicia Wallace
Gail Wine
Kimberly Wolfinger


2011 marks largest graduating class for TTI

Senior class with headmaster Rabbi Shlomo Pacht on their senior trip to Israel.

Texas Torah Institute (TTI) celebrated its sixth commencement with a ceremony on Sunday, June 5, at the new Haymann Family Campus of TTI.  Sixteen students graduated, making the Class of 2011 the largest graduating class since the school’s founding.  Texas Torah Institute was founded in Dallas in 2003 as a traditional Yeshiva for young men, and this year had almost 70 students enrolled in its high school and college programs.
Fred Wagner, TTI’s academic dean, remarked during the ceremonies that in his almost 40 years as a school administrator, the TTI Class of 2011 was the most talented and dedicated group of students of his career.  Most of the graduates will be continuing their Jewish studies next year in advanced Jewish study programs throughout the United States and Israel, with many choosing to continue at Texas Torah Institute.
This year’s graduates, their parents and future educational plans are:
Yecheskel Amrami
Hagay and Tova Amrami
Yeshiva Ohr Yerushalayim
Dani Barak
David and Daphna Barak
Texas Torah Institute
Joey Davis
Bob and Rachel Davis
Texas Torah Institute
Aryeh Goldschein
Dr. Donald and Ilana Goldschein
Texas Torah Institute
Shlomo Rafaelov
Moshe and Carmela Rafaelov
Yeshiva Derech Eitz Chaim
Akiva Rodin
Rabbi Aryeh and Henny Rodin
Texas Torah Institute
Aryeh Roth
Jeff and Deena Roth
Yeshiva Ateret Yerushalayim
Dovid Rubinstein
Chaskel and Aviva Rubenstein
Pacific Torah Institute
Benjamin Rudansky
Dr. Max and Jill Rudansky
Samuel Slomowitz
Rivkah Slomowitz
Avrumi Solomon
Eli and Tzippi Solomon
Texas Torah Institute
Yisrael Sternberg
Rabbi Yonasan and Miriam Sternberg
Texas Torah Institute
Tani Teigman
Dr. Marc and Joyce Stock
Texas Torah Institute
Yishai Truxton
Ron and Ahuva Truxton
Texas Torah institute
Shlomo Isser Yachnes
Rabbi Yingi and Tzippi Yachnes
Pacific Torah Institute


Torah Day School graduates eighth class

By Chana Ruderman

Front row (l to r): Maya Parkoff, Tamar Cohen, Brocha Burr, Shira Kosowsky, Eliyah Shimon. Back row (l to r): Rachael Berk, Aliza Benpoart, Galit Rothschild, Aliza Rosenberg, Penina Bracha Abrams. Not pictured: Basha Rubinstein.

Torah Day School of Dallas graduated its eighth class of eighth grade students on June 1. A number of speakers mentioned the fact that this is the first group of students that are fully the product of TDSD, having progressed through all the grades.
Of course, the group included students who came to TDSD from other schools and other cities over the years. Both the boys’ class and the girls’ class have achieved a level of achdus, togetherness, that would make it impossible to tell who is new and who is not.
Each student was presented an award for a particular middah (character trait) that teachers felt was especially apt for him or her.
Academic awards were also given. Valedictorian of the girls’ class was Shira Kosowsky, and salutatorian was Brocha Burr. Valedictorian of the boys’ class was Benjamin Singer, and salutatorian was Moshe Schick.
The graduates were a diverse group, as their choices of high schools reveals. The boys’ class includes
Yehuda Benklifa, son of Rabbi Hanania and Adira Benklifa, who will attend Texas Torah Institute; Daniel Elfenbein, son of Ester and Victor Elfenbein, who will attend Mechina of South Florida; Meir Epstein, son of Norman and Cheryl Epstein, who is undecided; Tommy Erlich, son of Moshe and Fran Erlich, who will attend Yavneh Academy of Dallas; Yitzy Feigenbaum, son of Rabbi Aryeh and Chaya Feigenbaum, who will attend Mesivta of Long Beach; Shlomo Fried, son of Rabbi Yerachmiel and Miriam Fried, who will attend Yeshiva Ner Israel; Gavi Lashak, son of Rabbi Israel and Bella Lashak, who will attend Yeshiva Ner Israel; Yirmiyahu Rich, son
Front row (l to r): Gavi Lashak, Yirmiyahu Rich, Benny Singer, Yehuda Benklifa, Moshe Schick. Back row (l to r): Jordan Shafron, Yitzy Feigenbaum, Daniel Elfenbein, Binyamin Rosenberg. Not pictured: Tommy Erlich, Meir Epstein, Shlomo Fried

of Rabbi Yaakov and Susan Rich, who will attend Yeshiva Beth Moshe in Scranton, PA; Binyamin Rosenberg, son of Oscar and Aviva Rosenberg, who will attend Yeshiva Ner Yisrael; Moshe Schick, son of Rabbi Yonason and Malkie Schick, who will attend Yeshiva and Mesivta of Baltimore; Jordan Shafron, son of Drs. Larry and Jackie Shafron, who will attend Texas Torah Institute; and Benjamin Singer, son of Drs. Mike and Miriam Singer, who will attend the DISD School for the Talented and Gifted.
Graduates in the girls’ class all plan to attend Mesorah High School for Girls. These girls include Penina Bracha Abrams, daughter of Rabbi Yehuda and Esther Abrams; Aliza Benporat, daughter of Joseph and Roya Benporat; Rachael Berk, daughter of Richard and Dianne Berk; Brocha Burr, daughter of Rabbi Noach and Bitsy Burr; Tamar Cohen, daughter of Rabbi Sharon and Avishag Cohen; Shira Kosowsky, daughter of Rabbi Avraham Zev and Daniella Kosowsky; Maya Parkoff, daughter of Seth and Dana Parkoff; Aliza Roseberg, daughter of Rabbi Shellie and Rachel Leah Rosenberg; Galit Rothschild, daughter of Shimon and Louise Rothschild; Basha Rubinstein, daughter of Lew Rubinstein and Mindy Goldstein; and Eliyah Shimon, daughter of Rabbi Ronen and Odelia Shimon.
In his concluding remarks, Rabbi Yerachmiel Udman, the headmaster of TDSD, mentioned that the Torah tells us that Hashem considered Avraham very dear to Him because he taught his children Torah. “After hearing the reflections of our graduates and the role that their Torah education plays in their lives, we, along with their parents, can take great pride in having furthered Hashem’s love for the Jewish people by giving our children the gift of a Torah education,” Rabbi Udman said.


2011 Yavneh Academy graduates are on their way

By Deb Silverthorn

Yavneh Academy of Dallas’ 16th commencement exercises were held on Sunday, May 29. “From the world of teenagers, you now go forth on your own path,” said Head of School Don O’Quinn. FRONT ROW: Leigh Bonner (valedictorian), Abbie Denemark (salutatorian), Leora Mitzner (summa cum laude), and Sarah Weiss (magna cum laude), were honored as leaders, along with their 21 classmates.

Yavneh Academy of Dallas’ Class of 2011 is bound for greatness as the students received their diplomas, well wishes, and turned their tassels on Sunday, May 29. The administration of Yavneh Academy announced the award of valedictorian to Leigh Bonner, of salutatorian, to Abbie Denemark, of summa cum laude, to Leora Mitzner, and, magna cum laude, to Sarah Weiss. The school’s Sylvia and William Epstein Golden Wedding Anniversary Fund Award for Excellence in Judaic Studies honors were bestowed upon Denemark and Weiss, and Yavneh’s Gabbai award, was given to Jonathan Sulski. All honors were conferred during commencement ceremonies at Congregation Tiferet Israel.
“Each of us has discovered a passion at Yavneh, and it is my hope that this passion will not wane when we are met with greater challenges, or daunting new environments, but we will make our mark wherever we go,” said Bonner who will spend next year in Israel, studying at Midreshet Lindenbaum, before attending Barnard College in New York. “We will be presented with countless opportunities in our daily lives to make a difference. I urge you to accept responsibility whenever, and from wherever, it comes.”
“As we graduate and move forward, it is important that we remember both our individual and our shared journeys,” said Denemark, who will also study in Israel, at Midreshet Moriah, and then at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. “Both are a part of who we are and where we come from, therefore both can provide insight into where we are going in the future.”
Prior to certifying the class for graduation, head of school Don O’Quinn spoke to each student aloud, recalling a memory from the past four years, or sharing with the audience special traits, honors and talents of each child. “You represent the culmination of a vision and never before has that so thoroughly been represented,” he said of the Class of 2011 which has raised more than $100,000 to help numerous causes around the world. “You came here as children and you leave as beautiful young men and women. You leave here a family and you made the Yavneh family a stronger one. We are better for having met each and every one of you. How rare that is.”
The students thanked Yavneh devotees Ethel Gruen, Carol Kreditor, Rabbi Adam Raskin and Allyn Schmucker for their roles in supporting the school in many ways, over many years. Kreditor, outgoing board president, spoke on behalf of Yavneh’s Board of Directors. “Yavneh is a special and unique place that provides much more than a diploma. We look at you graduates and know we have done our job,” she said. “Beyond the classrooms, you are leaders, living the tenet of tikkun olam, of repairing the world, and you take with you a true sense of Jewish purpose.” Blessings were shared by Yavneh’s Naomi Schrager and Rabbis Howard Wolk and Meir Tannenbaum, as well as Jeff Rasansky who offered greetings from the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. Steve Sonday accompanied the students during the processional and recessional.
“As a parent of now three graduates, Annette and I thank Yavneh for its commitment to excellence. At Yavneh, the faculty doesn’t teach subjects, they teach students and there’s a difference,” said Rabbi Wolk, a Yavneh faculty member, JFS Community Chaplain, and father of graduating Shimi. “Our graduates leave with values based on our holy teachings. Yavneh’s logo, the Star of David surrounded by an atom, exude our mission to bring Torah ethics and morality to the society around us. The academic achievements of our students shine, but more important is their individual and collective efforts which are a model for all who follow.”
The 25 members of Yavneh Academy’s 16th graduating class received 99 acceptance letters to universities and colleges, Israeli yeshivot and seminaries. They received more than $620,000 in scholarships, and served 10,865 hours of community service. Their average score on the SAT was 1804 and 26 on the ACT.
“From the world of teenagers, you now go forth on your own path,” said O’Quinn. “You go with the hopes and dreams of the generations sitting around you, and those who could not be here.”
Class of 2011:
Eitan Barak
University of Toronto
Enrique Welcher and Inna Barak
Brittany Barnett
Midreshet Harova, Muhlenberg College
Dr. Brian and Michelle Barnett
Shiran Boim
Art Institute of Dallas
Yoav and Rachel Boim
Leigh Bonner
Midreshet Lindenbaum, Barnard College
Gary and Andi Bonner
Alexandra Burk
Babson College
Lowell and Faith Burk
Jessica Cohen
Simmons College
Andy and Karen Cohen
Abbie Denemark
Midreshet Moriah, Brandeis University
Howard Denemark and Dr. Grace Tannin
Melissa Diamond
Tulane University
Eric and Risa Diamond
Zoe Elewitz
Blinn College
Marc and Jacque Elewitz

Samuel Epstein

Texas A&M
Leonard and Tina Epstein

Michaiah Gartner

University of Kansas
Dr. Jay and Mary Jo Gartner and Tarron Gartner-Ilai and Doron Ilai
Sara Jane Goldenberg
University of Texas at Dallas
Brian and Juliana Goldenberg
Shelbi Karlebach
University of Missouri
David Karlebach and Sharon Shalet
Jared Katz
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Bruce and Debbie Katz
Zev Klein
Derech Etz Chaim, SUNY/Binghamton
Dr. Mordecai and Doris Klein
Jamie Kleinman
University of Georgia
Jay Kleinman and Nancy Kleinman
Elan Kogutt
Yeshivat Orayta, University of Texas at Austin
Jeffrey and Judy Kogutt
Faith Medina
Texas Woman’s University
Yaffa and Elishema Medina

Leora Mitzner

University of Southern California
Judy Mitzner, Avi Mitzner and Shelley Meyers
Kathrine Solomon
Texas A&M Commerce
Kristyle Solomon

Jonathan Sulski

Mechinat Yeud Drexel University
Cyril and Cheryl Sulski
Michelle Tanur
St. Edward’s University
Drs. Eduardo and Monica Tanur
Noa Waks
University of Texas at Austin
Willy Waks and Helen Waldman
Sarah Weiss
Machon Maayan, University of Maryland
David and Barbara Weiss
Shimon Wolk
Reishit Yerushalayim, Rutgers University
Rabbi Howard and Annette Wolk

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