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Chabad Women’s Circle 16th Annual Women’s Dinner

Tenafly—Lubavitch on the Palisades announces its Chabad Women’s Circle 16th Annual Women’s Dinner celebrating “He Transforms the Barren Women into the Joyful Mother of Children.” The dinner will be held at the Beth Aharon Forem Chabad House in Tenafly, New Jersey, on Monday evening, June 2, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. The Chabad Women’s Circle of Lubavitch is honoring Riva Ozcakir, Sophia Rudiak, and Mariette Warner for their devotion, dedication, and hard work.

Riva Ozcakir was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and while raised in a secular home, the pride of being Jewish was embedded in her by her parents and grandparents.

Riva’s family moved to Geneva, Switzerland when she was 14. After high school, she attended the Business School of Malagnou. When she moved to the U.S., Riva worked in the jewelry industry and then opened her own travel agency called “Travel by Riva.”

Although she was exposed to Judaism during her first years in Manhattan, a completely unexpected trip to Israel marked a major milestone in her life. She experienced the best of Israel and Judaism with Rabbi A. Goldhar and his wonderful family from the Upper West Side, who became lifelong mentors and friends. That trip inspired her to look for more opportunities to learn as well as become more observant. An additional sign that she was on the right track was when she met her husband, Alper, at a Turkish event on Long Island, where he was the only other Jew.

Following their marriage, Riva and Alper were overjoyed with the arrival of their wonderful daughter, Kayla Rina, who forever changed their lives. With her inquisitive mind and innate Jewish identity, Kayla kept amazing them with her love of Judaism. At 4 years old, she proved to her parents that she needed to be surrounded by more Yiddishkeit. Riva and Alper decided to move from Edgewater to a more Jewish town. They chose Tenafly for the strong public schools and the wonderful Israeli community. However, Hashem had different plans for the Ozcakirs. They enrolled Kayla in LPS for kKindergarten and they met Rabbi Shain! That was the beginning of a wonderful adventure as Lubavitch on the Palisades decided to open its fantastic elementary school.

On their first Shabbos at Chabad of Tenafly, Riva realized they had finally found their home! They immediately met wonderful friends and had many opportunities to learn. To this day, the women’s Tanya class is the highlight of Riva’s week. Motivated by Rabbi Shain’s long-term vision for the children, Riva also volunteers to run the library and the Book Club programs for the elementary school.

Sophia Rudiak was born in Petach Tikvah, Israel to an Iraqi family. Sophia, the youngest of nine children, was raised in an observant home where each Shabbat her family walked to the local synagogue where her grandfather was the rabbi.

Upon completing high school, Sophia served in the Israeli Air Force. During her service, she met her future husband, Felix. Upon completing the military, Felix and Sophia married. Felix continued in the army for an additional nine years. After his bout with a career in the military, the family, now a family of five, moved to Tenafly, NJ in 2001 for Felix’s new job.

Sophia is the proud mother of three beautiful children—Michal (23), Metanel (20), and Dan (soon to be bar mitzvahed). Sophia continues the traditions of her upbringing by raising her children in a home filled with her Jewish pride and strong heritage. She joined Lubavitch on the Palisades in its early days. Sophia has worked in many different capacities at Chabad for the past nine years—from a camp counselor to Hebrew teacher in Hebrew School, from a first grade Hebrew language teacher to a CSS security volunteer since its inception on multiple Shabbatot.

Mariette Jeffers Warner was born and raised in Tarrytown, New York. Born to non-Jewish parents, Mariette, the youngest of six and the only girl, was raised in a devout Irish Catholic family. Her parents worked hard to assure that all six children received their education in a private, religious school. Because of her upbringing and the environment that her parents created, Mariette developed a strong connection to God and lived a spiritual life. Her home life was lively with five older brothers, but what Mariette remembers most is how grounded her parents were in their commitment and dedication to each other, their family, and their faith.

When Mariette was 5, she began to play the violin and at the age of 13 attended The Julliard School of Music. Upon graduating from Sleepy Hollow High School, Mariette attended the University of Miami on a music scholarship. During college, Mariette began a career in modeling that brought her back to New York City where she worked as a model for the next 10 years. It was during that time that she met her future husband, Alan, who was a dress manufacturer. Upon finding out that Alan was Jewish and witnessing the warmth of Judaism first- hand, Mariette was instinctively drawn to it.

It wasn’t long before Mariette realized her true essence and converted to Judaism. A short time after that, Alan and Mariette were married and so the journey began. Mariette started to live a Jewish life, create a Jewish home, and was blessed to become a Jewish mother to their two beautiful children, David and Danielle. Throughout most of this spiritual journey, they lived in Bergen County, literally moving their home from community to community as they grew in their observance. Both children attended yeshiva right from the beginning—David, now 20, a graduate of Frisch, and Danielle, 17, a junior at Ma’ayanot.

Mariette and her family currently live in Cresskill where they have found their true home at the Chabad House in Tenafly. Mariette is incredibly honored to be part of this warm and loving community where the sparks of Chassidus light the path, making it possible for every Jew to reveal their true essence and strengthen their connection to Hashem and each other.

For more information, contact  Lubavitch on the Palisades at 201-871-1152.

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