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Keter Torah Honoring Secemskis and Elbaums at Annual Dinner on June 16

Teaneck—Congregation Keter Torah’s 14th annual dinner on June 16th will honor two cou­ples who are extremely active in the communi­ty, and renames an award in memory of two be­loved community founders. The event, which is competitively priced to encourage most, if not all, of the shul’s membership to attend, is looked to as an opportunity for everyone to give back to a shul that is both central and essential to the larger Teaneck community.

The guests of honor this year are Tammy and Ken Secemski. The Secemskis moved to Te­aneck 16 years ago with their five children. They were looking for a shul with a warm and friend­ly environment, recognizing the impact it would have on their family, and found it at Keter Torah.

As a member of the local community, Tammy takes her position as owner of Glatt Express seriously. “I try whenever possible to support our local establishments by fea­turing their products in our store,” she told JLBC last year. On her directive, the store’s acts of chesed are also numerous. “It is our policy that no local tzedakah is ever turned away and, in fact, all charitable institutions receive a 15% discount for their purchases,” she said. Glatt Express also provides free ko­sher meals to local hospitals.

Ken is also very involved in the communi­ty at large. As a Senior Vice President for Invest­ments with Merrill Lynch in Paramus and as a senior financial advisor, he has been a volun­teer for the Financial Planning Association and the New Jersey State Society of CPAs, offering pro-bono financial planning services. Ken has served as both Chairman of Committee Oper­ations and as an Interest Group Leader for the Personal Financial Planning Committee of the New Jersey State Society of CPAs. Ken has been a guest lecturer and taught a personal financial planning course to the senior grade at the Frisch School, providing for many students the first taste of the real world in preparation for their journeys to Israel and college. Ken was also a co-founder of the Frisch baseball team.

Keter Torah’s service award, which had previ­ously been named the William B. Manischewitz Service Award, in memory of one of the builders of the Teaneck community, has been renamed the Esther and William B. Manischewitz Service Award, acknowledging the loss of Esther this past November. The daughter of a prominent rabbinic family, Esther was a magnetic presence in Teaneck over the past 40 years, was a pioneer at Congregation B’nai Yeshurun, and helped to form Teaneck as the religious Zionist communi­ty it is today.

The inaugural service award named for both Manischewitzes is being given to Gary and Gila Elbaum. They have been involved at Congregation Keter Torah since moving to Teaneck in 1999. Gila has served as pres­ident of ATARA, the shul’s sisterhood, and Gary is on the board of the shul. “They have been extremely willing to roll their sleeves up, and we honor them for their ongoing service,” said Rabbi Baum.

The Elbaums have been involved in organ­izing countless shul events and fundraisers, in­cluding Purim chagigot, Simchat Torah lunch­eons, spring teas, summer picnics, membership nights, mishloach manot and, until this year, shul dinners. Gila has served in several leader­ship roles, including five years as co-president of ATARA and a current member of the Keter Torah Advisory Council. Outside of Keter Torah, Gila serves on the board of education at Yavneh Academy. The couple also has spent time vol­unteering for communal organizations such as Leket Israel and City Harvest. The Elbaums are always sure to include their three children in community service activities, whether it’s pack­ing mishloach manot for ATARA, setting up the shul ballroom for a Yachad luncheon, or picking fresh produce for needy families.

For more information on how to attend the dinner or to acknowledge the honorees, visit http://www.ketertorah.org.\

By Elizabeth Kratz

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