The Jean Fischman Chabad Center of the Five Towns invites you to join its gala dinner celebrating Commitment, Compassion, and Connection.

Guests Of Honor: Dr. and Mrs. Rubin and Mandy Brecher. Rubin and Mandy both grew up in Flatbush. Rubin attended the Yeshiva of Flatbush. Mandy went to Shulamith Elementary School and Central Brooklyn for high school.

Rubin and Mandy Brecher

Rubin and Mandy have lived in Lawrence for the past 27 years. They have been affiliated with several shuls, including the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst, Aish Kodesh, and Rabbi Gruber.

Rubin, an ophthalmologist, graduated from YU and Albert Einstein, and Mandy runs the financial side of the business.

They have four children, all graduates of HALB, and six grandchildren.

Their eldest son, Elie, a Harvard-trained dentist, currently is chief resident in maxillofacial surgery in Boston. Ayelet and her husband, Chaim Frankel, live in North Woodmere with their three children, and she works with her parents. Eliana and her husband, Rabbi Moshe Watson, live in Kew Gardens Hills with their three children. Eliana is an OT working in the NYC public-school system. Shmuli, the youngest in the family, moved to Israel after high school and lives with his wife, Etty, in Beitar Illit where he is learning in kollel full-time and studying shechitah.

Rubin and Mandy travel frequently and always enjoy visiting Chabad Houses all over the world. It is their hope that once they retire they can become shluchim to the Bahamas, and welcome all kinds of Jewish souls into their home on the beach.

Guests of Honor: Dr. and Mrs. Mendel and Aliza Fundo. Aliza and Mendel moved to Cedarhurst nine years ago from Teaneck, NJ. They were immediately drawn to the warmth and friendly atmosphere of Chabad. Today, Mendel and Aliza, along with their three children — Michali, Yoni, and Levi — are proud members of Chabad of the Five Towns.

Mendel and Aliza Fundo

Both Mendel and Aliza immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union. Aliza came to attend a Jewish high school in Denver, CO, when she was 15 years old, while her parents and family remained in Simferopol, Ukraine. This in itself was a remarkable achievement on behalf of Aliza’s parents. With almost no knowledge about any Jewish practice or way of life, sending their daughter to a Jewish school was certainly “out of style” amongst their friends and peers. Aliza graduated Beth Jacob High School and went on to attend Maalot Seminary, college, and a master’s program in Baltimore, MD.

Mendel came to the United States from Moscow, Russia, with his parents and sister in 1992, when he was nine years old. Up until the age of twelve, Mendel, who was known as “Andrew” at that time, grew up as a son of a pastor. His parents, although Jewish, knew absolutely nothing about their heritage. Unfortunately, this was a common result of growing up in communist Russia. In the early 1980s, their search for spirituality and meaning in life led them misguidedly to become members of an underground Christian church.

Mendel and his family became very involved with the church, even to the point that his father became an ordained minister. Despite all this, their Jewish neshamos never gave up, fueling their perpetual thirst for finding the ultimate truth. Within a few years of coming to New York, through a series of extraordinary events of Divine providence, and of course with the help of Chabad, Mendel, his sister, and their parents returned to Yiddishkeit and became fully observant Jews.

From the age of 12, Mendel grew up in West Hempstead, NY. He attended Hebrew Academy of Nassau County. He then spent a year at Yeshiva Ohr Dovid in Israel, followed by Yeshiva University and graduated from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey as a dentist.

Today, both Mendel and Aliza work together at their dental practice in Forest Hills, N.Y. They are truly honored to be recognized at the Chabad annual dinner.

Guests of Honor: Mr. and Mrs. Vitaliy and Natalya Mikinberg. Natalya Mikinberg is a broker and founder of V.I. Properties, who’s been proudly servicing the Five Towns community for the past 26 years. Natalya, her husband, Vitalily Mikinberg, and two daughters, Zhanna and Ella, immigrated to New York from the Soviet Union in 1990. Before taking on real estate, Natalya educated students in economy and finance back in the Soviet Union. Her husband was a mechanical engineer.

Natalya has gained support due to her compassionate and sympathetic personality once establishing herself as a licensed real-estate salesperson in 1993. On February 9, 1999, Natalya officially opened the doors of V.I. Properties. Natalya nurtured her business and grew it into the leading independent brokerage in the Five Towns, with over 40 real-estate agents. Her biggest joy is contributing to and supporting her community.

In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her two daughters and five grandchildren.


Gregory and Ivy Levi

Gan Chamesh Parents of the Year: Mr. and Mrs. Gregory and Ivy Levi. Ivy and Greg moved to Woodmere from Manhattan a little over two years ago, just in time for the starting bell of Gan Chamesh classes. The reputation of Gan Chamesh as a school infused with an infectious love of Torah and mitzvos was quickly revealed to be a complete understatement! Before even attempting to unpack, a true partnership with many excellent educators took root and continues to flourish into its third year. Elan (5), who was blessed with tremendous individual care during his two remarkably formative years in the Yellow Room and Green Room, has passed the Gan Chamesh torch to his sister Eden (3), who has benefited from the unsurpassed morahs of the Red Room and Blue Room. The future together looks promising as Aviella (1) is eager for 2020!

Greg grew up in Iowa City as a 4th-generation Iowan. After graduating with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Iowa, Greg worked in industry in Minnesota, Illinois, and California before returning to the classroom at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Following his relocation to New York to pursue an investment career, Greg was fortunate to discover the depth of the Torah. In response, he later took a sabbatical to learn in Machon Yaakov, an intensive yet intimate yeshiva in Jerusalem with which he remains very involved. Greg is currently a portfolio manager at Loews Corporation and finds great meaning in the trenches of parenting.

Ivy is a Manhattan native and attended the Ramaz School and the University of Michigan. After graduating with a degree in communication studies, Ivy returned to New York where she worked in television production (please don’t tell the kids). Inspired by a deep desire to grow and live an authentic Torah life, Ivy took a detour to attend Neve Yerushalayim in Jerusalem. Ivy went on to work in Jewish outreach at the Brownstone in Manhattan, and now dedicates herself 24/7 to the Levi family.

The early education at Gan Chamesh brought to life by such talented and dedicated educators continues to be a tremendous blessing in the lives of the Levi family, yet the school is merely one of the immeasurable contributions made by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Wolowik to ensure the strength of our collective Jewish futures, both locally and globally. Ivy and Greg are deeply grateful for the opportunity to accept the recognition of Gan Chamesh Parents of the Year. It is with heartfelt appreciation for this exemplary school that they seek to further inspire and strengthen the support our community provides to Gan Chamesh and the essential Chabad of the Five Towns.

Chabad will also honor Friendship Circle presidents Meira Adler, Miriam Borenstein, Zahava Graff, Beckey Haviv, Illana Katz, Leah Katz, Julia Klayman, Esther Medows, Anabelle Muller, Gabby Nakkab, Yishai Attias, Shuey Feierman, and Jonah Naiman.

Chabad will honor CTeen leaders Dora Aronov, Rachel Bohnik, Ellie Cohen, Mia Gwirtzman, Jordan Myers, Evetta Poley, Justin Sajovitz, and Sasha Teplish

Dinner Chairmen Mr. and Mrs. Yosef Yitzchak and Penina Batsheva Popack, Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey and Shira Eisenberg, and Mr. and Mrs. Larry and Susan Sachs are planning a great night on Sunday, February 24, beginning  with a gala dinner buffet at 6:30 p.m. and the awards presentation at 7:45 p.m., followed by a lavish Viennese dessert. The dinner will take place at the Grand Ballroom of the Sephardic Temple, 775 Branch Boulevard in Cedarhurst. Couvert: $600 per couple. RSVP at 516-295-2478 or


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