Young Israel of Teaneck is hosting its 21st annual dinner at Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck; it’s set for Saturday, February 29, at 8:30 p.m. Chana and Larry Stiefel are the guests of honor, and Rebecca and Hezzy Jesin are the Charlie Gartenberg Memorial Service Service awardees. The YIOT Gratitude award, endowed by the Hod family last year, will be presented to the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps as thanks for its critical and often life-saving efforts, from which so many of the members of the YIOT community have benefited.
This year represents a milestone for the Young Israel community as it embarks on its second major shul expansion, which began weeks ago.
When Chana Stiefel, a children’s book author and editor of the Jewish Standard’s About Our Children monthly publication, and her husband, Larry, a pediatrician with Tenafly Pediatrics, moved to the Country Club section of Teaneck in 1999, they had two small children, and they were the 60th family to join the Young Israel community. The shul now has more than 200 families. Larry’s parents, Hannelore and Arnold Stiefel, OB”M, were founding members of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck. Over the last 20 years, Chana and Larry has contributed both to the spiritual and intellectual growth of the community and to the aesthetic and the infrastructure of the shul.
Chana is a longstanding member of the adult education committee, co-chairs the Sunday Night Learning “SNL” for Women, and has served on the design committee for the past and current expansions of the shul. She founded and continues to lead the weekly Shabbat morning Torah, Learning and Coffee “TLC” Parsha class for women, now in its ninth year. Larry has served on committees in the shul including the capital, dinner, and board nominating committees, organized the Jewish biography book club, and designed the “Etz Chaim” stained glass window, which is the shul’s centerpiece. Long ago nicknamed the “Maggid of Bergenfield,” the town where he grew up, Larry has combined his love of working with children, his writing skills, and his commitment to the youth of the community by telling stories to the children on the Yamim Noraim. The couple also is on the mechitza committee for the new sanctuary under construction.
The Stiefels have four children — Judah, 24, who is teaching in the Bronx as part of Teach for America; Abby, 21, a senior at Stern College, studying psychology; Maya, 18, learning at Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion, Israel; and Josh, an eighth grader at Yeshivat Noam.
Rebecca and Hezzy Jesin, who became involved at YIOT nine years ago when they moved to town, will receive the Charlie Gartenberg Memorial Service award. It was named in honor of a YIOT founder who gave his time, money, and expertise to enrich the shul and spread simcha. This year, the shul’s honor is on behalf of the youth of the community.
Rebecca is on the YIOT board, is the liaison to the youth committee, and is a trustee of the sisterhood. Hezzy serves on the expansion committee and several related subcommittees, and recently was elected men’s club president.
The couple has four children; Hailey, 10, and Max, 7, both at Yeshivat Noam; Jack, 3, a student at Lubavitch on the Palisades, and Sammy, 2 months.
Rebecca is the COO at Elite Method, a child development company that builds physical skills and social confidence largely through sports; Hezzy is a partner and CFO of American Construction Management.
TVAC was founded in 1939 to serve the emergency medical needs of Teaneck. Today it has more 100 members, including several members of the YIOT community, who volunteer their time to cover the community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They respond to more than 4,000 emergency calls a year, routinely saving lives and reducing suffering with their rapid response and application of basic life support.
Ari Lifschitz, a member of the Young Israel of Teaneck and longtime TVAC volunteer, recognized the uniqueness of TVAC in that it truly represents Teaneck; its volunteers come from a broad spectrum of the community, and the corps provides services that are essential to and used by the entire Teaneck population.
Congregation Keter Torah is at 600 Roemer Ave., Teaneck. Go to yiot.org/event/YIOTDinner2020 for more information.