Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center Celebrates Its 57th Annual Trustee Dinner


Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center Celebrates Its 57th Annual Trustee Dinner

Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center’s 57th Annual Trustee Dinner, which took place on February 22nd, was held at the beautiful Bella Blanca Banquet Hall conveniently located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley.

The decor dazzled with accents of gold and silver. Mrs. Karen Amitay Taieg, Emek alum and owner of TGIF Flowers, arranged the spectacular centerpieces featured at the banquet. Mr. Nir Wenblut provided scrumptious delicacies with an impeccable presentation. A roaming violinist was on hand, spreading charming melodies throughout the evening, and Mr. Brad Schachter of Nefesh Music sang and entertained the guests.

Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Roy Mansano, First Vice President of Emek, introduced David Bachar, a third grade student. Bachar played “Hatikvah” on the violin, and then Brad Schachter led the national anthem from his keyboard. Rabbi Mordechai Shifman, Emek’s Head of School, gave a beautiful and insightful dvar Torah, stressing the importance of each community having a Jewish day school so that every child within that community is afforded the opportunity to receive a Jewish education. With that in mind, Mr. Gary Finder, Emek’s treasurer, updated the trustees on Emek’s progress with regards to its endowment campaign. Two years ago, Emek joined Generations LA, under the auspices of PEJE and the BJE, to create a significant endowment to be used for tuition affordability and programmatic excellence. Emek undertook this critical project as a community to ensure the perpetuity of the school. Since it has joined the program, Emek has raised close to $1.8 million in cash and legacy gifts. Rabbi Shifman, together with Emek’s board, has spearheaded this undertaking and encouraged everyone to partner with him in this important initiative.

The evening was dedicated to the Emek PTA Presidents of the past and present. Mr. Abraham Raphael created a heartwarming video encapsulating all the extraordinary accomplishments that the PTA has achieved over the past five decades. The nostalgic video featured personal interviews and accounts of PTA Presidents, teachers, administrators, staff, and friends, offering the viewers a small glimpse into the PTA’s involvement and triumphs throughout the years.  Mrs. Vardit Aharonoff and Mrs. Amy Leibowitz, Emek’s current PTA co-presidents, thanked the Emek board and administration for the tribute and encouraged new families to join the Emek PTA in its mission to support and assist the school, students, and staff. On behalf of the PTA they donated $35,000 towards Emek’s annual campaign, earmarked for the upgrading of the school’s outside basketball courts. Each PTA President was presented with a stunning framed challah cover created by Yael Harris Resnick, Emek alum and daughter of Hedy Harris, one of the school’s honorees.

Emek’s past president, Mr. Ira Leibowitz, introduced the concept of “We’re All In,” Emek’s theme for its first Annual Campaign. “We’re All In” means that parents, grandparents, teachers, staff, alumni, lay leaders, and community members must all pull together to make up the $1,300,000 gap between tuition income and the school’s operating expenses. One of the indicators of a healthy school is the percentage of parents and staff who contribute towards the Annual Campaign. Whether it’s contributing to the Trustee Dinner, Golf Tournament, or Steak and Scotch Event, or participating in our Yahrtzeit Campaign, any financial contribution to the school above and beyond tuition is deemed a contribution towards the Annual Campaign. Rally, Mutually, Loyally, Communally, and Annually – Emek thanked all the families who have already contributed to the campaign and looked forward to having 100% participation from all Emek constituents.

Additionally, School President, Mr. Ben R’bibo, beamed with pride about the gorgeous renovations of the outside campus that are underway at Emek. This include the brand new lawn and fruit trees that were planted, encompassing the entire perimeter of our parking lot. Ira Leibowitz later ran an auction-style bidding for the tree dedications from which, the school was pleased to announce, over $27,000 was raised.

Towards the conclusion of the program, Congressman Brad Sherman spoke and presented Mr. and Mrs. Sol and Ruth Teichman, Emek’s patriarch and matriarch, with a special American flag that has flown atop the White House along with a certificate of authenticity. Mr. Sherman thanked the Teichmans and community members such as them for helping to build and maintain wonderful institutions like Emek. The evening concluded with a scrumptious dessert reception.  To everyone’s delight, cupcakes, donuts, éclairs, puddings, tarts, and fresh fruit and berries lined the dessert tables. Guests were also treated to a unique scotch and cigar presentation on the outdoor patio after maariv. Emek thanks all their Trustees whose presence and involvement made the evening so magical.