(Courtesy of BCHSJS) The Bergen County High School of Jewish Studies (BCHSJS) has moved its major fundraising drive online and will publish its green ad journal as planned. BCHSJS, Bergen County’s only weekly Hebrew high school, depends on funds raised from its annual gala dinner and journal to help sustain the school and Jewish continuity.
“Just as we had to move our Sunday program online, so must our fundraising be virtual to perpetuate the school as the vital organization it is to our Jewish teens and community,” noted Fred Nagler, BCHSJS principal. “We invite you to place an ad or make a donation of any size at this incredibly difficult time by going to www.bchsjsdinner.org.”
Sadly, Fred’s wife, Dr. Deborah Nagler, recently passed away after a valiant battle with the COVID-19 virus. In addition to tribute ads and donations for the 2020 honorees, the Nagler family also prefers memorial donations for Deborah be made to BCHSJS.
The 2020 honorees are two-term BCHSJS president Sy Blechman of Edgewater; Nagler of Teaneck; educator Bruce Prince of Teaneck; guidance counselor Chanan Strassman of Fair Lawn; and parent Jill Strassberg of Woodcliff Lake.
Sy Blechman will receive the L’Dor v’Dor Award, which recognizes individuals who further Jewish continuity by supporting programs for Jewish teens. He joined the BCHSJS board in 2001, served as its president from 2003-2012, and then again from 2016 to the present. In addition to his personal generosity to the school, he is credited with establishing the gala dinner as its largest community fundraiser.
Blechman actively supports the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish National Fund, and has served as chairman of the New York UJA Dress Division, one of UJA’s largest contributing groups. His company, Perceptions, regularly donates dresses to Yad Leah’s clothing drive for Israel, and he flies to rescue dogs in the U.S. from kill shelters. In 1927, an uncle made aliyah and built the first shul on any kibbutz or moshav in Israel. In 2010, after it had fallen into disrepair and disuse, Blechman rebuilt and refurbished the national landmark to return it to vibrancy.
Nagler will receive the Walter Ramsfelder Service to the School Award. He served as principal from 1982-2010, initiating many innovative programs including Shabbatonim, an Israel trip and many community service projects in which he personally participated. Additionally, he applied for and received a grant that for the past 20 years has enabled BCHSJS to be the only Hebrew high school in the country to have a guidance counselor on staff. In 2016, Nagler returned to BCHSJS to lead and inspire a new generation of Jewish teens. He has announced his retirement at the end of the school year.
In further recognition of Nagler’s tireless and enduring service to the school for over 30 years, the BCHSJS board also will honor him as its first principal emeritus.
Bruce Prince and Chanan Strassman are the 2020 Educators of the Year. Prince, who has taught at BCHSJS for the past two years, previously taught at the congregational schools of Congregation Beth Am in Teaneck and Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley. He served his own Congregation Beth Sholom in Teaneck as president and chairman of adult education and youth education programs. He also was also a Cubmaster, Youth Committee chair and Men’s Club president. He currently serves as co-president of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Teaneck and is the co-chair of the Holocaust Memorial and Education Center.
Strassman joined BCHSJS in 2015 as its school counselor. In this role, he offers guidance and support to students in meeting their academic, social, emotional, career and religious goals. Strassman also serves as a resource for BCHSJS teachers, helping them to foster a warm school climate, engage students with diverse learning profiles and enhance parent communications. In his full-time position, Strassman is a member of the Guidance Department at the Torah Academy of Bergen County.
A volunteer at BCBSJS since 2016, parent honoree Jill Strassberg became more Jewishly active and observant when the younger of her two daughters started preschool. She celebrated an adult bat mitzvah at Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley and has been an active volunteer there, serving as sisterhood treasurer and co-chair of the Torah Fund Campaign for the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is also a former member of the Board of Trustees and Adult Education co-chair, selling yarmulkes for simchas.
The Bergen County High School of Jewish Studies is Bergen County’s only community Hebrew high school for teens in grades 8-12. For more information about BCHSJS, visit www.bchsjs.org or contact Nagler at [email protected] For information about the dinner, visit www.bchsjsdinner.org.