Deborah and Ben Schochet
Deborah and Ben Schochet
Deborah and Ben Schochet

By Michele Justic

On December 31, close to 400 people came out to Beth Sholom to raise funds and some fun for Deborah Schochet, a 39-year-old Woodmere resident battling ALS. Though this disease is slowly ravaging Deborah’s nerve cells, it cannot quash her spirits, her intelligence, and her dynamic personality. Almost $40,000 was raised at this event for the Shirat Devorah—ALS Foundation to enable her and others with ALS to undergo treatments not covered by insurance and to make her Sandy-ravaged home more accessible as her mobility decreases.

The large amount of funds raised was largely made possible by the generous donations of time, services, and goods by the event sponsors: Josh Aaron of Tov Caterers, Azamra DJ, B&B Linen, Beth Sholom, Brach’s, Carol Weissman, Cedarhurst Paper, Chap-a-Nosh, Cho-Sen Island, CSU Industries, East Coast Paper, Jacob and Bella Feuchtwanger, the Five Towns Jewish Times, Gotta Getta Bagel, Gourmet Glatt, Hapinah, The Hatch Group, Herman Brothers, Holy Schnitzel, The Jewish Press, LNS Enterprises, Inc., Mauzone in Queens, Marc Garfinkel, Mike Faygan Photography, MLW, Noodles, Oasis Caterers, Prestige, Saffron Culinary, Skyview Wine and Spirits, Strauss Bakery, Touch of Silk, Z Cholent, Lisa and David Zaslowsky, Zing Vodka, and anonymous donors.

Jeff Neckonoff was the evening’s lively and professional emcee and DJ, generously forgoing many other events in order to host this for his dear friend. Mentalist Marc Garfinkel and singer Moshe Hecht captivated the crowds with their entertaining gifts. Rabbi Wolowik of Chabad of the Five Towns inspired everyone with a dvar Torah about the importance of gemilus chesed and bikur cholim. A video presentation produced by Herman Brothers highlighted Deborah’s struggle and her support system. Everyone enjoyed the delicious food, rivaling many a bar mitzvah, raffles, music, and schmoozing.

Deborah’s friends created the event from scratch and produced a first-class evening. Chana Braverman and Ilana Kahan served as the main organizers, brainstorming and tying all the loose ends together. David Zakheim, Jeff Neckonoff, Josh Aaron of Tov Catering, and Avi Pollack also lent their expertise to the event. Hosts Cindy Shayovitz, Shana Aaron, Teri Pollack, Vicky Herman, and Hindy Ginsberg also devoted countless hours to event planning and preparation.

The event concluded successfully, but of course Deborah and her family still face many challenges. To donate, please visit To assist with a meal, help run an errand, etc., visit, and enter ID “163819” and code “deborah” (all lowercase letters). May we see an end to all suffering with the coming of Mashiach speedily in our days. v


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