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Unsung Jewish Heroes

Unsung Jewish Heroes 2014

By kindling their students’ love of learning, the Unsung Jewish Heroes awardees ensure a vibrant and thriving future for our community. It is the teachers and dedicated volunteers in our Jewish educational institutions who provide our children with the foundation they need to build a righteous world. We are grateful for these devoted educators in our day schools, early childhood centers, and synagogue religious schools, and we thank each one for their dedication to Jewish learning and building Jewish life in Pittsburgh. View a list of the 2014 Unsung Jewish Heroes!

Honorees were recognized at the AJL’s annual meeting, June 1, 2014. View a slideshow of photos from the event!

2014 Awardees  :  2013 Awardees  :  2012 Awardees  :  2011 Awardees

2014  Awardees  |  View the 2014 Tribute Book

Adat Shalom Preschool ~ Lisa Ossman

Adat Shalom Religious School ~ Lisa Rothstein

Beth El Congregation of the South Hills ~ Ariella Isenberg

Beth Shalom Early Learning Center ~ Michelle Mark

Community Day School ~ Judy Goldman

Congregation Tree of Life*Or L'Simcha Torah Lishmah Community ~ Toby Neufeld

Dor Hadash Religious School ~ Jo Recht

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh ~ Susan Finder

JCC of Greater Pittsburgh ~ Susan Gross

Jewish Community Center-South Hills ~ Deanna Rubenstein

Joint Jewish Education Program (J-JEP) ~ Rabbi Michael Werbow

J-SITE ~ Orna Tal

Rodef Shalom Congregation/Berkman Family Center ~ Michelle Einstoss

Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Development Center ~ Irene Luchinsky

Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Development Center ~ Joanne Jackson

Temple Emanuel of South Hills ~ Paula Altschul

Temple Ohav Shalom Religious School ~ Ruth Dahim

Temple Sinai Religious School ~ Judy Kaplan

The Early Learning Center at Yeshiva ~ Morah Rochel Broocker

Yeshiva Boys School ~ Rabbi Nossin Hoen

Yeshiva Girls School ~ Sara Shur And we will also be honoring Judy Greenwald Cohen nominated by AJL and recipient of the community Shore-Whitehill Award in the area of special needs

Shore-Whitehill Award ~ Judy Greenwald Cohen

AJL Special Needs Distinguished Service Award ~ Linda R. Lewis Director of Operations Jewish Residential Services

Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education ~ David Harris-Gershon Community Day School


Unsung Jewish Heroes 2013  |  View the 2013 Tribute Book

Adat Shalom Preschool ~ Carey Rzeszotarski

Adat Shalom Religious School ~ Dr. Marjorie Schermer

Beth El Religious School ~ Mollie Neuman

Beth Samuel Jewish Center ~ Lauren McLeod

Beth Shalom Early Learning Center ~ Marina Shapiro

Community Day School ~ Ronit Pasternak

Congregation B'nai Abraham ~ David Hoffman

Dor Hadash Religious School ~ Yael Eads

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh ~ Irit Taasan

JCC Early Childhood Development Center South Hills ~ Michelle Olson

JCC Early Childhood Development Center Squirrel Hill ~ Sharyn Stein

J-JEP ~ Liron Lipinsky and Susan Loether

J-SITE ~ Nizan Leibovich

Rodef Shalom/Berkman Family Center ~ Rabbi Amy Hertz

Rodef Shalom/Jacob Religious School ~ Laura Swiss

Temple Emanuel of South Hills ~ Nan Simon

Temple Ohav Shalom ~ Cathy Filson

Temple Ohav Shalom Preschool ~ Bonnie Valinsky

Temple Sinai Religious School ~ Barbara Milch

The Preschool at Yeshiva ~ Mrs. Miriam Peltz

Torah Lishmah Community ~ Gabriella Horvitz

Yeshiva Boys School ~ Rabbi Yisrael

Altein Yeshiva Girls School ~ Mrs. Chana Friedman

AJL Distinguished Service Award ~ Nira Lion

AJL Special Needs Distinguished Service Award ~ Rabbi Alex Greenbaum


Unsung Jewish Heroes 2012  |  View the 2012 Tribute Book

Rita Bates - Adat Shalom Preschool

Sharon Serbin - Adat Shalom Religious School

Dafna Shimshi - Beth El Congregation Religious School

Holly Cessna - Beth El Early Learning Center

Barbara Dripps Wilson - Beth Samuel Jewish Center

Ronit Schulman - Community Day School

Cookie Elbling - Congregation Beth Shalom Early Childhood Department

Eric Yoffee - Congregation Beth Shalom Religious School

Harold Grinberg - Dor Hadash Religious School

Carol Lederer - Hillel Academy

Nancy Bell - Jewish Community Center Squirrel Hill

Jennifer Hawkins - Jewish Community Center South Hills

Leehee Kanne - J-SITE

Kathy Lobelsohn - Rodef Shalom /Jacob Religious School

Pamela Harbin - Rodef Shalom Family Center

Naomi Sogoloff - Temple Emanuel Torah Center

Kristi Karsh - Temple Ohav Shalom

Andrea Jacobs - Temple Ohav Shalom Preschool

Sheree Lichtenstein - Temple Sinai

Anita Kornblit - Torah Lishmah Community/Tree of Life/Or L'Simcha

Terry Naiditch - Yeshiva Schools

Sheila Soblick - Yeshiva Preschool


Unsung Jewish Heroes 2011  |  View the 2011 Tribute Book

Julie Garret - Adat Shalom Preschool

Nancy Glick - Community Day School

Michele Orr - Rodef Shalom Congregation

David Haviv - Temple Sinai

DeDe Fink - Adat Shalom Religious School

Shirley Dorsey - Hillel Academy

Amanda (Mandy) Steinsdoerfer - Rodef Shalom Family Center

Shelly Schapiro- Torah Lishmah Community, Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha

Merril Nash - Beth El Congregation

Patty Green - Jewish Community Center South Hills

Sharon Saltzman - Temple David

Brenda Homer - Yeshiva Boys School

Eve Dater - Jewish Community Center Squirrel Hill

Janice Keilly - Temple Emanuel

Kammy Dedig - Yeshiva Girls School

Immanuel “Manny” Theiner - Congregation Beth Shalom

Shulamis Rothman - J-SITE

Rabbi Art Donsky - Temple Ohav Shalom

Dalia Balass - Yeshiva Preschool

View photos from the 2011 Unsung Jewish Heroes event

The Honrable Luke Rvenstahl, Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, proclaimed June 9, 2013 as “Unsung Jewish Heroes Day,” in honor of AJL’s annual awards recognizing outstanding Jewish educatorsJune 9 was proclaimed as “Unsung Jewish Heroes Day” in the City of Pittsburgh, in honor of AJL’s annual awards recognizing outstanding Jewish educators. The proclamation reads in part: Whereas, the AJL works to nurture a thriving Jewish Community in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. AJL works to inspire students and families in our synagogues, connect teens with Jewish learning and community, and to engage families in Jewish life. We embrace the sacred legacy of lifelong Jewish learning and foster connections to Israel and the Jewish people. View the proclamation