May 16, 2024
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Septimus-Greenfield and Twersky Families To Be Honored at YIOT Annual Dinner This Sunday

Jen and Dan Twersky

The Young Israel of Teaneck (YIOT) will celebrate its annual dinner this Sunday, May 19. This year’s guests of honor are Seth Greenfield and Vivi Septimus. Dan and Jen Twersky will receive the Charlie Gartenberg Memorial Service Award and the Teaneck Police Department will be recognized with the Gratitude Award endowed by the Hod family.

YIOT has become well-known for its dynamic scholars-in-residence, beautiful davening, evolving learning initiatives for men and women and meaningful teen and youth programs. This year, in response to the war in Israel, the YIOT community has raised to date over $100,000 to support Israel. “We celebrate our community this year with a heavy heart due to the ongoing war in Israel and the plight of the hostages,” reflected Rabbi Beni Krohn, YIOT rabbi. “This year’s dinner will include a special tribute to Israel, highlighting our community’s chayalim and chayalot. A portion of the proceeds will be donated through our YIOT Israel Action Committee to support Israel-related causes.”

One element of the YIOT community that stands out is the ability for this growing community to continue to foster a sense of warmth and a feeling of home, even as its membership continues to grow. The honorees at this year’s dinner are emblematic of that commitment to continue to create a community “where everyone knows your name.”

Vivi Septimus and Seth Greenfield

Dror Barber, YIOT president, shared, “One unique aspect of the Young Israel of Teaneck is the symbiotic relationship between our shul and the Country Club community. Honoring these couples and the Teaneck Police Department exemplifies that bond of communal service.”

Guests of honor Seth Greenfield and Vivi Septimus moved to Teaneck 14 years ago. “We were looking for a neighborhood with a good commute that was low-key, friendly and with easy access to kosher shopping and great yeshiva day schools. When we came to visit, we met so many lovely people,” Vivi recalled. “We immediately felt the warmth and appreciated it was a community with one shul. Even as the shul has grown, that intimacy continues today. We are a shul of volunteers. Members, like our close friends and co-honorees the Twerskys, work hard to cultivate a close, welcoming atmosphere.”

Inspired by the volunteerism of their parents, Seth and Vivi have actively contributed to the YIOT and other Bergen County organizations. Seth noted, “I love coming up with ideas to bring people together. Activities like our annual cholent competition, Spring Sh’wing and Sh’Octoberfest enable people to get to know each other and promote a deeper sense of community.”

Vivi added, “One of the reasons people are attracted to the community is because of events that foster a strong sense of community where everyone knows your name. We wanted there to be opportunities to daven together and to socialize together. That’s a key ingredient of the community. When people come here they feel welcome.”

Seth, who works for a large asset management company, served as first vice president during COVID and the expansion project. He was also a general board member and a longtime member of the House and Security committees.

Vivi worked at Yavneh Academy for many years and is now a local real estate agent with V&N. She is secretary of the Sisterhood board and involved with organizations including JFCS’ Café Europa, iShine after-school program and the Yoetzet Halacha Event Committee.

Seth and Vivi are proud parents of twin boys, Gabe (at UPenn) and Jack (at NYU) and their daughter Jillian, a freshman at Frisch.

The Charlie Gartenberg Memorial Service Award is given annually to a person or couple who exemplifies the midot of Charlie Gartenberg, z”l a founding member of YIOT.

Dan and Jen Twersky to Teaneck nine years ago. “We came to Country Club for a Shabbos and had an unforgettable time. It was everything — one shul, one community where everyone knows and greets each other,” said Jen. Dan shared, “Community is crucial to us, and we wanted to contribute, so we launched the Hospitality Committee. We started hosting families interested in moving here and facilitated many of them moving here.”

Dan, who serves as global cyber claims leader for an insurance brokerage firm, shared that he grew up in a community where there was a weekly kiddush.

“After the YIOT expansion, I was committed to ensuring there was a weekly kiddush at the shul. When the pandemic hit, there were many who could not come to davening or groups even after shul reopened. For many, the kiddush was their one opportunity to socialize. The kiddush is a dedicated opportunity every week where people can interact and expand their relationships.”

Both Dan and Jen told The Jewish Link that their main focus has been on growing the community and wanting to be part of something larger than themselves. “There’s something so special about our shul. We all want to spend time together, and we have been so proud of how the community cohesion has continued even as the shul has grown.”

Jen, a digital marketing strategist, is volunteering her time for YIOT marketing initiatives and is about to launch a membership survey project. She also volunteers for Yavneh, serving on different fundraising committees and like Vivi, is involved with iShine. Dan and Jen are proud parents of Ella, a seventh grader, and Isaac, a fourth grader, both at Yavneh.

Dan and Jen fondly remember sharing their first meal when visiting Teaneck with Seth and Vivi. “Their love for the neighborhood is why we’re here. We couldn’t be more pleased to share the podium with them,” said Dan.

Krohn told The Jewish Link, “Our honorees are role models of dedication to helping all our members, from newcomers to veterans, feel that they have a place. It’s one of the elements of our community that makes me most proud. When people feel welcomed and that they matter, it becomes a springboard for their connection to everything else we do here.”

In 2019, Janet and Lior Hod established the Gratitude Award to honor those to whom the community owes a debt of gratitude. “We are incredibly grateful to the Teaneck Police Department for their tireless efforts to keep our neighborhood safe and secure,” said Krohn. “This year, more than ever, I have had a chance to see firsthand the dedication of the entire department to all residents of Teaneck. We are honored to honor them with the Gratitude Award, dedicated by the Hod family.”

Barber reiterated, “In following our community theme, we are grateful to the Teaneck Police Department in accepting our Gratitude Award, endowed by the Hod family, for their tireless efforts to keep our neighborhood safe and secure, this year more than ever.”

To make a reservation for the dinner or place an ad in this year’s journal, email [email protected] or visit www.yiot.org/form/yiot-dinner-2024.

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