Peter Materman, Tania Materman, Robert Materman, Rabbi Zev Friedman, and Rabbi Yotav Eliach
Peter Materman, Tania Materman, Robert Materman, Rabbi Zev Friedman, and Rabbi Yotav Eliach

Hundreds of parents and supporters of the Rambam Mesivta gathered this past motzaei Shabbos to support and pay tribute to its honorees. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Materman were the guests of honor and they were joined by Dr. Arthur and Adina Gerber, grandparents of the year, Dr. Sergio Sokol, man of the year, and Daniel Friedman and Avi Posnick as alumni of the year representing the 10th anniversary of the graduation of the Class of 2003. Mr. Yitz Elman served as the evening’s master of ceremonies and spoke about how much his son has benefited from Rambam and his daughter from Shalhevet. He introduced Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman, rosh hamesivta, who discussed the role of Moshe and Aharon in dealing with the Cheit HaEgel. The challenges we faced back then still exist today, because human nature doesn’t change. The leadership displayed by Moshe Rabbeinu is the paradigm for us to learn from and apply in facing today’s challenges,” said Rabbi Friedman.

Rabbi Yotav Eliach, Rambam’s principal, spoke passionately about his recent trip to Israel and the school’s mission of instilling middos, responsibility, and commitment to Klal Yisrael to its students. He then presented an award to Avi Posnick, who serves as the regional coordinator of, one of the largest and most effective Israel advocacy groups on college campuses across America. Avi humbly accepted the award and attributed his passion and drive to help Israel to the high school education he received in Rambam.

Rabbi Eliach then presented the man of the year award to Dr. Sergio Sokol, lauding him for his commitment to the community at large. “Dr. Sokol is renowned for his caring and compassion and providing medical care to so many individuals. He is well-known for his tzorchei tzibur and it is no surprise that his house is always open to so many of our talmidim who feel so comfortable there,” said Rabbi Eliach. Dr. Sokol graciously accepted the honor and outlined why he loved Rambam Mesivta.

Rabbi Friedman presented alumnus of the year award to Daniel Friedman and introduced him as his sister-in-law’s nephew. “He truly represents Rambam because of his professional achievements (having graduated McCauley Honors College, NYU Law School, and currently an associate at Creizman LLC) and display of integrity, commitment to halacha, and living up to the ideal of making a Kiddush Hashem.”

Daniel accepted the award, thanked his parents, and mentioned how he is continually inspired by all his grandparents, all of whom are Holocaust survivors.

“Dr. and Mrs. Gerber personify the ideal of love and commitment of Klal Yisrael, Am Yisrael, and Eretz Yisrael,” said Rabbi Friedman in presenting them with the grandparents of the year tribute. Their grandson Ben participated in presenting them with a beautiful artistic besamim box and spoke about his love for his grandparents and everything they have done for him. Dr. Gerber spoke about how proud he was of Ben and all of his grandchildren and the nachas he derives seeing them grow up with Torah values.

Lastly, Rabbi Friedman presented to the guests of honor, Robert and Tania Materman, and spoke of their courage, chesed, and involvement in so many Jewish causes in Forest Hills and West Hempstead saying, “In many cases the Matermans took the lead where others were afraid to tread, their reputation for tzedakah and chesed is a natural outgrowth of everything that they do.” Mrs. Materman responded by saying how strongly she and her husband feel about Rambam’s educational mission and how happy they were to do their small part to help the mesivta.

Mr. Elman closed the program by speaking of the warmth, camaraderie, and middos that permeate the school and parent body. The program was followed by leibedik dancing and desserts. v


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