On May 12, more than 650 guests, which included parents, faculty, and alumni, gathered at the Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation for the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County’s (HANC’s) 66th Anniversary Dinner Gala. In addition to celebrating HANC’s 66 years of providing educational excellence on Long Island and to its surrounding communities, this festive event allowed HANC to publicly recognize and pay tribute to its most notable and deserving honorees and celebrate its many achievements.

The evening began with a moving tribute to Rabbi Moshe Gottesman, zt’l, dean emeritus. HANC was blessed to have Rabbi Gottesman as a teacher and dean for over 41 years. Rabbi Gottesman’s love of Eretz Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael, his devotion to every individual student, and his value of always being makir tov, still stand as the cornerstones of HANC’s educational philosophy. Rabbi Gottesman’s legacy will continue to live on in the many students he inspired throughout the years, and in all the current and future HANC students who will continue to be educated with love and in a way that meets their specific needs, as per Rabbi Gottesman’s mission. HANC was thrilled that Mrs. Sondra Gottesman and so many extended Gottesman family members were able to join.

Guests of Honor Faige and Akiva Lefkowitz are both longtime involved and dedicated members of the HANC family. Akiva is a respected board member of HANC’s board of trustees and serves as chairman of the legal committee. Faige is an active member of the HANC PTA whose loving involvement has been instrumental in the success of many of its activities. The proud parents of four former and current HANC students, the Lefkowitzes are dynamic members of their West Hempstead community, as well as of the larger Jewish community, and are also enthusiastically involved in the Young Israel of West Hempstead.

Debbie (Rudansky) and Perry Wyner, Jill and Max Rudansky, Henny and Sam Rudansky, and Hanni and Charles Rudansky were recipients of the Family Legacy Award. The Rudansky family credits Rabbi Moshe Gottesman, zt’l, with introducing the entire family to a Torah lifestyle. The Rudanskys and their spouses are wonderful examples of Rabbi Gottesman’s legacy and all that Rabbi Gottesman accomplished as an educator at HANC. Rabbi Sam Rudansky is a HANC alumnus and a beloved rebbe at HANC High School. Rabbi Charles Rudansky is also a HANC alumnus and serves as the director of Jewish Clinical Services at MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care, as well as the cherished rabbi of Congregation Shaarei Tikva in Mamaroneck, NY. Dr. Max Rudansky is a highly respected neurologist who has been treating patients in the Long Island community for over 20 years. Mrs. Debbie Wyner has served as the HANC West Hempstead Elementary School nurse for the last 19 years, until her retirement this June. HANC will miss her!

Grandparents of the Year Joanne and Bill Mlotok have been active and involved members of the HANC community for many years, first as parents and now as grandparents. In addition to being engaged parents and grandparents, Joanne is the much-loved HANC Plainview ECC coordinator and nursery teacher and Bill serves on the HANC board of trustees. The Mlotok family’s love of Judaism and connection to HANC are a direct result of their close personal relationship with Rabbi Gottesman and the Gottesman family. The Mlotok’s children and grandchildren represent links in the chain of the Jewish mesorah that Rabbi Gottesman, zt’l, had a tremendous role in nurturing.

The Hebrew Academy of Nassau County was proud to present its coveted Mack Markowitz Award for outstanding service to Dr. David Vilkas, whose devotion to and unceasing efforts on behalf of HANC are well-known and most worthy of this recognition.

HANC’s 66th Anniversary Dinner Gala was a beautiful and meaningful celebration of all that Rabbi Gottesman, zt’l, created, cultivated, and inspired in his role as teacher and dean, as well as recognition of all that the honorees have done and continue to do for HANC that honors his legacy.


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