Jack Harounian, Yehuda Marmorstein, and Rabbi Shlomo Braun touring Aleh facilities.
Jack Harounian, Yehuda Marmorstein, and Rabbi Shlomo Braun touring Aleh facilities.

The Aleh Foundation has scheduled its 2013 awards dinner for Wednesday, May 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in lower Manhattan.

Young Leadership Awardee: Steven Matsas. As the managing editor of Image Magazine, Steven and his family bring together enthusiasm for social issues with the wise insights of the Jewish tradition. They were introduced to the Aleh Foundation by beloved board member Mr. Sam Amster.

Civic Leadership Award: Officer Emanuel Almog. Officer Almog’s grandfather was a member of the Turkish Police and the founder of the Israeli Police. He was an integral part of a secret mission to save John Foster Dulles, the Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Officer Emanuel Almog serves the U.S. as a member of the Department of Homeland Security.

Medical Leadership Award: Dr. Steven G. Pavlakis. Dr. Pavlakis is the director of the Center for Brain and Behavior at Maimonides Infants and Children’s Hospital and professor of neurology and pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Pavlakis is board certified in pediatrics, neurology with special competency in pediatric neurology, and neurodevelopmental disabilities. He is the chief scientific officer of the Maimonides Medical Center and has served as a consultant to government, public, and private agencies.

Physician of the Year Award: Dr. Israel Jacobowitz. A cardiothoracic surgeon and co-director of the atrial fibrillation center at Maimonides Medical Center, Dr. Jacobowitz has been one of the leading figures in cardiac surgery in New York State for more than 30 years, with experience in all aspects of cardiac surgery, including valve repair and valve replacement, aortic root surgery, left ventricular reconstruction for heart failure, and coronary artery surgery. He is a fellow of both the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Surgeons, a member of the Academy of Surgical Research, the American Heart Association Council on Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, and several other prestigious societies.

Community Service Award: Lee Eric Tessler. A neurosurgeon who specializes in the treatment of primary brain tumors, metastatic tumors, meningiomas, stereotactic surgery, and radiosurgery, Dr. Tessler is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Tessler is the executive director of the Long Island Brain Tumor Center and a partner at Neurological Surgery, PC. He obtained certification in both gamma knife and cyber knife radiosurgery, and in 2008 he was appointed assistant professor of neurosurgery at NYU Medical Center. He is chief of neurotrauma and the chairman of the neurosurgery quality improvement committee at Winthrop University Hospital. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the New York Neurosurgical Society, and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Distinguished Humanitarian Award: Dr. Herbert Lepor and his wife Dr. Ellen Shapiro. Dr. Herbert Lepor is one of the leading internationally recognized experts in the field of prostate cancer. At the age of 37, he was appointed chairman of urology at NYU School of Medicine, the youngest chairman of a major academic urology department in the country. A few years later, Dr. Lepor was inducted into the Hopkins Society of Scholars, and was recently inducted into the Clinical Society of the Genitourinary Surgeons. Membership in this prestigious society is limited to 22 members of the academic urology community. Dr. Lepor had a vision to establish a multi-disciplinary team of urological oncological surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, health services investigators, and radiologists who were bound by one common interest–optimizing the treatment of prostate cancer. Mr. Joel Smilow shared this vision and with a $5 million gift, the Smilow Comprehensive Prostate Cancer Center was established. Dr. Lepor is the director of the center. Today, the Smilow team is in the forefront of prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment.

Dr. Ellen Shapiro is a recognized leader in the treatment of neonatal and pediatric urologic diseases. She is a professor and director of the pediatric urology department of NYU Urology Associates. She has won seven major awards and prizes in urologic research. She has served on the examination committee of the American Board of Urology and the American Urological Association. She is an active member of several associations and societies.

The dinner chairs are Mr. Jack and Mrs. Violet Harounian, active community philanthropists who were recently taken on a guided tour of Beit Yehalom along with Rabbi Shlomo Braun, Aleh Foundation’s founder and director. Beit Yehalom is home to hundreds of children whose severe disabilities prevent them from living with their families. “Beit Yehalom is a haven for these children,” he said looking around in admiration. After they completed their visit they toured the site being built in Pardes Katz. When completed it will have the capacity to service 200 children, with special-education classes ranging from kindergarten to high school. It will also include an Olympic-sized pool to provide daily hydrotherapy treatments. While viewing the construction, Yehuda Marmorstein, executive director of Aleh, explained that while $7 million has already been invested in the construction of the new school, an additional $7 million is necessary for completion–$2 million of which the government will contribute. Beit Yehalom and Pardes Katz are some of the jewels in Aleh’s crown that distinguish this organization from all others.

The staff of the Aleh Foundation has put together an exciting program of entertainment that will be sure to please. A private tour of the Museum of Jewish Heritage will be available for guests prior to the start of the event. There will be a drawing at the close of the program for four round-trip tickets to Israel, donated by HAS, a partner of the Aleh Foundation for many years. HAS issues low-interest credit cards and donates a percentage of the proceeds to many worthwhile charitable organizations in Israel. Send your reservations and journal ad blanks to the Aleh Foundation headquarters at 5317 13th Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11219. For tickets to the dinner, or to learn more about how you can help the Aleh Foundation help Israel’s most needy, please call their offices at 718-851-4596 or visit alehfoundationusa.org.

The 2013 event is dedicated to continue the construction of the new Special Education School Campus in Pardes Katz, 10 minutes from Tel Aviv. v


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