Bet El Annual Gala Dinner

Dec. 4, 2016

Ken and Nira Abramowitz
Guests of Honor

Nira was born in the Galilee in Israel. In 1972, she moved to the United States where she completed her studies at the Boston School of Architecture. Kenneth earned a B.A. from Columbia University and a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. In 1976, they moved to Scarsdale, NY where they raised their two children. Nira was an active member of the PTA and taught Hebrew school. She also worked as a curator and designed exhibits for the Scarsdale Historical Society. Nira has worked on various committees at the Young Israel of Scarsdale.

During the 1980’s Nira pursued her architectural career and embarked on several ambitious projects with the Dallas Zoo. Nira has been a committed supported of many causes that champion Israel, Zionism and the Jewish People for many years.

Kenneth is a Managing General Partner and co-founder of NGN Capital, a $450 million worldwide healthcare venture capital fund. He joined NGN from the Carlyle Group in New York where he was Managing Director from 2001-2003, focused on U.S. buyout opportunities in the healthcare industry. He was awarded the Number 1 analyst in Medical Devices and/or Services for 15 years by the Institutional Investor magazine, which also placed him in the Wall Street Analyst Hall of Fame in 2009 with a rank of 15 out of 20,000 analysts. Kenneth has published several notable studies on healthcare service companies, major medical mergers and cardiovascular device innovation. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Optiscan Bionmedical Corporation, Valtech Ltd. And Cerapedics.

Kenneth and Nira have been staunch supporters and contributors to various organizations that are fighting to preserve liberty and to protect Israel and America from Jihadism and the radical left. Mr. Abramowitz serves on the boards of the Israel Independence Fund, American Friends of Likud, Americans for a Safe Israel, The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), and Bible Lands Museum. He is also active in 25 pro-Israel/America/ Western civilization organizations.

Nira and Kenneth are the proud parents to Ari and Rachel and grandparents to Logan, Gabby and Brynn. They reside in Manhattan. The American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center are honored that Mr. and Mrs. Abramowitz have agreed to be this year’s Guests of Honor.

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Larry Gordon
In memory of Rabbi Nison Gordon z"l
Builder of Bet El Awardee

Rabbi Nison Gordon, z”l, was a man with a clear vision and great intellectual appreciation into the developing Orthodox Jewish community after his arrival in the US as a teenager in 1934.  His career as a Yiddish journalist in the Day-Morning Journal and The Algemeiner Journal spanned over almost a half century.

Rabbi Gordon was well connected and attuned to the various aspect of burgeoning Jewish life and his relationships with every level of Jewish leaders from  government ministers in Israel to modern Orthodox Rabbis to Chassidic Rebbes which afforded him the opportunity to share with his readers the world over insight into innumerable aspects of Torah life both here in the US and in Israel.

Born in a shtetl in Russia in 1918, Rabbi Nison Gordon developed into an accomplished Torah scholar and a man who cared deeply about both the Jewish people and the Jewish homeland.  His dedication and attachment to Eretz Yisrael was a frequent theme of his several times a week essays in these papers as well as in other Jewish magazines and periodicals.

He had an extraordinary appreciation for the building and efforts to populate Judea and Samaria in the aftermath of the Six Day War and had a very close relationship with Beth El’s founder Rabbi Yaakov Katz and the cities benefactor the inimitable Eugen Gluck.

Larry ( Arye Leib) Gordon was born and raised in Crown Heights and is a resident of Lawrence.   Larry is a veteran journalist, writing stories on Jewish life and related issues for thirty years.  He is also the acknowledged creator of modern Jewish radio.

In 1977, Larry pioneered the first weekday morning Jewish music and news program on FM radio – 19.1 WFMU at New Jersey’s Upsala College.  Larry’s program, the “Hebrew and Jewish program” and the format he created is the direct, originating predecessor of the world famous JM in AM radio show hosted by Nachum Segal.   Recognizing the necessity for an unfettered Orthodox Jewish voice in the Five Towns, Larry established the 5 Towns Jewish Times, what was then a thin newspaper published twice a month.  Today, The 5 Towns Jewish Times is published 50 times each year.

Larry’s vision for the paper is to be a reliable resource for information, news, advocacy, fundraising and promoting achdut within and throughout all the disparate Jewish Communities of the United States, Israel and the world.

Tonight’s award is dedicated to Rabbi Nison Gordon ע'ה’s great accomplishments and memory and is being accepted by his son, Larry Gordon, Publisher and Editor of the 5 Towns Jewish Times.

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Marc and Alan Berger
Shomer Eretz Yisrael Awardees

Marc and Alan Berger were raised in Kew Gardens Hills with their siblings, Gary & Debra (Sarasohn). Their parents, Carol & Donald Berger, are long-time members of The Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. Marc and Alan credit Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld for encouraging political involvement and its importance for the US-Israel relationship.

Marc is married to Judy (Wolpoff) and they reside in New Rochelle, NY with their daughter, Sydney, a student at SAR Academy in Riverdale.  They attend the Young Israel of New Rochelle. A graduate of Yeshiva University and its Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Marc is in private medical practice in New York City. He is NORPAC’s Westchester Chapter President and a former AIPAC Capitol Club & Congressional Club member, served as a trustee of Congregation Ohab Zedek in Manhattan, served on the board of the Israel Cancer Research Fund and was appointed to YU’s Undergraduate Alumni Council.

Alan and his wife, Deborah (Hanon), have 3 children, Dara, Sammy & Ezra. They live in Englewood, NJ and are members of Cong. Ahavath Torah & East Hill Synagogue in Englewood & Cong. Brothers of Israel in Long Branch. Their children attend the Moriah School of Englewood. Alan & Deborah received the Guardians of the Children award from Emunah. Alan graduated from Yeshiva University & The Chicago Medical School. He is an OB/GYN in private practice and is an attending physician at NYU Tisch Hospital/Langone Medical Center. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologisits and was appointed an Honorary Surgeon for the New York City Police Department. Alan was elected to the County Committee of the Bergen County Republican Organization & was the Republican nominee for Mayor of Englewood in 2009.

Marc & Alan Berger are active in the American & Israeli political scene and care deeply for Jewish life here and in Israel.  They enjoy close personal relationships with U.S. Senators, Congressmen and Governors, as well as, Israeli Knesset members. Their political action and support includes the American Conservative Union/CPAC, Young Jewish Conservatives and its annual Shabbat@CPAC, Faith & Freedom Coalition, Ateret Cohanim, The Israel Day Concert in the Park, Zionist Organization of America, Orthodox Union and Shaare Zedek Medical Center. They are also on the Vice President Council Leadership of the Republican Jewish Coalition and Board Members of NORPAC. They were previously honored as Silver Founders by Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. They joined the 2014 mission to Israel with Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) together with several of this year’s honorees.

The American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center are proud that Marc and Alan Berger have agreed to be our Shomer Eretz Yisrael Awardees.

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Pinny and Yael Farkas
Young Leadership Awardees

Yael Farkas grew up in Forest Hills and attended the Ramaz School in Manhattan.  Yael graduated from Stern College and received her Graduate degree from Azrieli Graduate School.   After teaching for a while, Yael opened her own business with her sister and business partner Ariela Fine called Threads Linen in Cedarhurst.

Pinny Farkas was raised in Woodmere and attended Southshore Yeshiva and HAFTR High School.  Pinny attended Touro College and received his Master’s Degree in Social Work from Wurzweiler school of Social Work.  He practices as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and maintains a private practice with offices both in Cedarhurst and Manhattan.

Pinny and Yael live in Woodmere and have been married for 10 years and are the proud parents of Moshe Simcha (9), Miriam (8), Shalom Dovid (5) and Yaakov Tzvi (3).  They are active members of the Aish Kodesh Shul headed by Rav Moshe and Myrna Weinberger.

Pinny and Yael are proud of their involvement with Kfar Yeladim David in Israel.  It is a home for underprivileged girls.   They have “adopted” a young girl named Ayala and keep in contact her and visit with her when they visit Israel.

Yael and Pinny are so honored to be the grandchildren of Mr. Eugen and Jean Gluck.  They have instilled in all of their grandchildren such a deep love of Israel and deep connection to their past and their future.     Yael has so many wonderful memories of visiting Bet El annually for many years as a child, and then together with Pinny as a married couple with their children.. Each visit would bring them a new appreciation and love for the land, the community, and of course for their Bubby and Zeidy who love this community so much. The love that the people there exude for the land of Israel and each other is inspiring and encourages them all.  They are so grateful to Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Bohrer, who would take them on exciting tours, and his wife, Helen who would welcome them into her home, Katzeleh and Tammy were always so inviting and made them feel so much at home.

The American Friends of the Bet El Yeshiva Center are honored to bestow the Young Leadership Award on Pinny and Yael Farkas.

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