Young Israel of White Plains broke all previous fundraising records at its recent jewel-themed annual dinner. The dinner honored beloved lay leaders Alissa Kosowsky and Andy Pressner, Steve Laub and Craig Zern.
“Our shul is a jewel, our community is a jewel and our honorees are jewels, so it made sense to acknowledge those riches in the theme for our evening,” said Yael Rosenberg, vice president of Young Israel of White Plains and co-chair, with Board Secretary Faigy Wolf, of the gala evening.
Two of those jewels are guests of honor Alissa Kosowsky and Andy Pressner. Members since 2007, they are tireless workers for the shul who shun praise for their efforts. Elected to the board in 2007, Andy has been treasurer since 2012. He takes an expansive view of the role, according to Young Israel of White Plains President Sim Shapiro.
“Andy is actively involved in virtually every shul endeavor, whether it’s coordinating kiddushes, dealing with suppliers, addressing building-related issues, seeing to shul emails and serving as gabbai at the hashkama minyan. Somehow, Andy fits it all in.”
Alissa serves as co-chair of the shul shiva committee and has served on its youth committee. She works to encourage volunteering both professionally and personally and serves on the board of Volunteer New York.
“When one thinks of this special couple, two words come to mind: anything and everything,” said Rabbi Shmuel Greenberg, rabbi of Young Israel of White Plains. “There is nothing that needs to be taken care of in shul at any time of the day or night that they would not tend to.”
Steve Laub, the Keter Shem Tov recipient, is another shul member who continually helps in whatever way possible without waiting to be asked. Members since 1998, he and his family donated the shul sukkah and he leads the team that assembles and disassembles it each year. Steve is a regular shaliach tzibbur at Shabbat davening and leads the annual Shavuot grilling squad.
“For these and countless other jobs that Steve has done and continues to do without fanfare, we are deeply grateful,” said Shapiro.
Capping the evening was the surprise announcement of Craig Zern as recipient of the Ner Tamid award. The award is presented to a member of the Young Israel of White Plains community who exemplifies the Ner Tamid or Eternal Light, a person who works tirelessly, often behind the scenes and without seeking recognition, to better the shul and community. Zern won the award for his active engagement on the shul security team, where he is a team leader, meaning he has undergone extensive training and commands a security shift at the shul on a regular basis. In addition, he coordinates all shifts throughout the year, ensuring the shul has constant coverage.
In addition to Rosenberg and Wolf, the dinner committee and others who assisted with the event included Ilana Englander, Tzvi Englander, Danielle Kinches, Joyce Kinches, Francesca Margolius, Robye Margolius, Phyllis Morris, Roni Grill Nadell, Aitana Permutter, Andy Pressner, Sandy Rosenberg, Marlene Schanzer, Nadine Staffenberg and Gary Yudewitz.
Young Israel of White Plains is one of Westchester’s most diverse Orthodox shuls, home to Modern Orthodox, yeshivish, those becoming observant and others from throughout the spectrum of Orthodoxy. The warm, family-friendly shul offers extensive children’s programming, adult learning at all levels, an active Zionist agenda, a full davening schedule and more. For more information about the shul, visit www.yiwp.org.