Steven and Elisa Kadish
Steven and Elisa Kadish

Mesivta Ateres Yaakov is scheduled to mark its tenth annual dinner this Monday, January 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Congregation Kneseth Israel (The White Shul). The event will pay homage to an impressive list of honorees as well as celebrate the tremendous growth the yeshiva has experienced over the past 10 years, built on its trademark warmth, care, concern, and excellence in all areas of education. The yeshiva will also take note of its expanding role in and positive influence on the community at large.

Rabbi Noach Haller, the yeshiva’s director of development, noted, “We are very lucky to have such strong supporters of the mesivta who both champion and personify the goals of the school. It is extremely gratifying that these wonderful honorees are equally proud to be associated with our institution.”

Rabbi Yaffe, the menahel, commented, “The yeshiva’s annual dinner is an opportune time to acknowledge and express our hakaras ha’tov to these wonderful partners who have invested so much time and effort helping our yeshiva grow into the premier educational and community institution it has become.”

Special Educational Excellence Award: Mr. Jason Curry and Rabbi Joel Beritz, representatives of the Gruss Life Monuments Fund. The yeshiva has tremendous hakaras ha’tov to Mr. Curry and Rabbi Beritz who, as representatives of the Gruss Foundation, continually provide ideas and resources to raise the bar on the mesivta’s general studies curriculum and are helping in so many ways to improve its facilities. The mesivta benefits not only from their financial support but more critically from their eagerness to ensure that the talmidim get the best and most advanced education and are extremely well prepared for college and careers. The mesivta thanks them for their support, advice, and friendship.

Guests of Honor: Drs. Steven and Elisa Kadish. Long time residents of Woodmere, the Kadishes daven at Kehilas Bais Yehudah Tzvi and have been integral involved members of several local organizations and shuls, including Rabbi Spiegel’s Shteibel.

Steven has been a MAY board member for the past 10 years and Elisa was PTA president at MAY for many years. During that time she instituted many innovative programs, including the very successful and important biannual health fair. Elisa is involved in many worthy organizations and has been honored by Yeshiva University Women’s Organization, Emunah, and Yeshiva of South Shore PTA.

Both Steven and Elisa are practicing physicians. He is currently in private practice in gastroenterology in Cedarhurst and serves as the physician in charge of endoscopy at South Nassau Communities Hospital. She is the chief of mammography and interventional breast imaging at Sitron-Hammel Radiology.

The Kadishes are the proud parents of three MAY talmidim–Yishai (Class of 2007), Gavriel (Class of 2010), and Ariel (Class of 2013). After attending Yeshivas Toras Moshe in Eretz Yisrael for three years, Yishai earned a master’s degree in education at Johns Hopkins University and is currently studying for his semichah at Ner Yisrael Rabbinical College. Following graduation from MAY, Gavriel studied in Yeshivas Bais Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael for two years and is also learning in Ner Yisrael. Ariel and his twin brother, Yonaton, will be graduating high school this spring. Gavriel’s twin sister, Eliana, attended TAG, Michlalah in Yerushalayim, and is currently the assistant head of the chesed program at TAG. She will be graduating from Queens College this summer.

Parents of the Year: Mr. David and Mrs. Simone Ambalo. The Ambalos are longtime residents of Woodmere and are renowned for their many acts of chesed and the unassuming way in which they conduct themselves. The Ambalo family davens at Aish Kodesh in Woodmere where David is a member of the board, and at Chabad of the Five Towns where Simone is extremely active. Simone also serves as a member of a local chevra kadishah. David was born in Israel and at age 21 came to the United States after serving as an instructor in the IDF. He is the owner of Designs on Fifth, a jewelry manufacturing and design company.

Simone is a New York State certified teacher but has dedicated the bulk of her fulltime efforts to raising their children. Recently, Simone has opened a jewelry store off Central Avenue in Cedarhurst, “The Jeweler’s Wife.” The Ambalos’ core philosophy for raising their wonderful children continues to be “chanoch l’naar al pi darko.” Their focus is helping each of their children reach their ultimate potential, and they feel that their family values align beautifully with those of the mesivta.

The Ambalos have four children. Yaakov, their oldest, is a senior at MAY, and helps care for his younger siblings Joseph, Veronica, and Benji. It is with great hakaras ha’tov to the mesivta, and in particular to Rabbi Yaffe, that they accept this year’s parents of the year award.

The Kehillah Award: Dr. Benjy and Mrs. Judi Weiss. The Weisses are residents of Cedarhurst. They have watched the mesivta grow from its inception and have become indispensible and very active pillars of the Ateres Yaakov community kehillah.

Benjy exemplifies the integration of regular Torah learning with professional activities. He has participated in the daf yomi cycle for many years and is a regular attendee of a variety of local shiurim. He graduated from Yeshiva University after having learned in Yeshivat Shalavim and received both his M.A. in psychology and Ph.D. in clinical and school psychology from Hofstra University. He has been the senior psychologist in the Bellmore Merrick Central High School District for 23 years and maintains a private practice in Cedarhurst and Wantagh.

Judi is a graduate of Stern College for Women and received her M.S. in speech language pathology from Brooklyn College. In addition to her practice providing early intervention services and treatment for school age children, she works as the speech therapist for the PTACH program at the Yeshiva University High School for Girls.

Both Benjy and Judi are dedicated to Kehillas Ateres Yaakov, and Judi is a regular participant at the kehillah’s mother/daughter chabura that meets every Shabbos. The Weisses have three wonderful children. Their daughter Bella is attending Shalhevet High School as a Shalhevet scholar, and their sons Yekutiel and Tzvi are talmidim at Yeshiva South Shore.

Educator of the Year Award: Mr. Sanford Pesner. Mr. Sanford Pesner has been instilling a love of science in students for 25 years! Mr. Pesner has a long and distinguished career in education, not only at MAY, but also at the Freeport School District, where he chaired their science department and was honored with the outstanding teacher of Nassau County award. He has taught workshops for the New York State Science Teachers Association, including “Motivation of Studies in the Learning of Science” and “The Teaching of Science through Magic.” His articles about innovative teaching techniques have been published in many educational periodicals as models and professional development resources for other teachers. When not teaching, Mr. Pesner moonlights as an actor and has performed in a number of off Broadway productions. He has made a tremendous difference in the lives of his students, and the mesivta is honored to have him accept this award.

The yeshiva invites the whole community to join this wonderful celebration and to honor these worthy honorees. For more information, reservations, or dedication opportunities, contact Rabbi Noach Haller at 516-374-6465 or at v


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here