May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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RPRY to Celebrate Leadership and Honor Three Couples

Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva invites parents, alumni, staff, supporters and community members to participate in a celebration of the Light of Leadership on the night of Lag B’Omer, Wednesday, May 2. The dinner, to be held at the Rutgers University Hillel in New Brunswick, will honor the essential role of three couples in the growth of the yeshiva over the past decade.

Debbie and Marc Turansky of Highland Park will receive the Amud Aish/Pillar of Fire Award.

Marc served as president of the school for three years. He is most noted for organizing and chairing a strategic planning initiative, in partnership with Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership. This multi-year project involved performing parent and governance surveys, along with a full analysis of the school, to allow for a benchmarking comparison between RPRY and other comparable Jewish day schools. The benchmarking identified four priority areas for further development and led to the creation of RPRY’s first long term strategic plan. After stepping down as president, Marc chaired the constitutional reform committee, which produced the new/current governance structure of the school.

Marc’s passion and dedication as a lay leader inspired Debbie to direct some allocations from a family foundation to RPRY. They identified a growth opportunity in the school’s use of technology and had the funds dedicated to that area. This enabled the installation of the school’s first smart boards, implementation of the RenWeb school information database, partnership with the Gruss Foundation on a new computer lab and the hiring of a consultancy group to advise, support and oversee all the changes.

Debbie also directed funds from the foundation to support RPRY’s acquisition of ALEKS—a Web-based math assessment and learning system that identifies each student’s proficiency and delivers a personalized learning program. The results were remarkable and the yeshiva has since expanded access to ALEKS from the eighth grade to students in all the middle school grades.

Marc is executive director/head of financial advisor directed programs at JPMorgan Securities and Debbie is a veterinary medical doctor at the Raritan Animal Hospital in Edison. Though their sons Eli and Benji are now in high school, they remain big supporters of RPRY.

Penina and Asaf Shmuel will receive the Lapid Leadership Award.

Asaf was enlisted to serve on the board of directors of RPRY over seven years ago and was later tapped to be a member of the yeshiva’s executive committee. Three years ago he agreed to co-chair the scholarship breakfast, and under his leadership support of the event has continued to increase. Penina has served as a substitute teacher at RPRY in different grades in the mornings and has been a valued volunteer for many years, including as a class parent and as a helper in the lunch program.

Asaf works in his family’s cabinet manufacturing business, Choice Cabinetry, in Somerville. Penina is an assistant teacher in the kindergarten class at RPRY. The Shmuels have five children—Rachel (15), Tamar (14), Yosef (13), Ezra (10) and Molly (7). When their youngest graduates, Penina and Asaf will have been proud RPRY parents for over two decades.

Brooke and Rabbi Daniel Reich will receive the Ner/Alumnus Torah Award.

Rabbi Reich is part of a family deeply tied to the yeshiva. He grew up in a home across the street from the school and his mother, Nancy, was a beloved preschool and elementary school assistant teacher at RPRY for 15 years. He and his siblings, Phillip, Isaac and Rebecca, all attended RPRY.

Daniel is currently completing his semicha studies in the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) of Yeshiva University. He is also completing a certificate in pastoral mental health counseling at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at YU.

Brooke is a licensed social worker who received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from YU. She has worked in a nursing home, in a clinical mental health agency, at YUConnects and most recently at Jewish Family and Children’s Services in Wayne, New Jersey.

Daniel and Brooke decided to pursue a life in the pulpit rabbinate and are now planning for the next stage of their family’s life.

RPRY invites family, friends, and neighbors of the honorees to join in celebrating this vital central New Jersey institution by placing ads in the 2018 dinner journal and by attending the dinner. To see a listing of dinner journal ad levels and prices, and to make a reservation to attend the dinner, please go to Ads to appear in the journal must be received by April 25.

For more information about the dinner, please contact Yehuda Kohn, executive director of RPRY, at 732-572-5052, x207 or [email protected].

By Harry Glazer

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