Adina & Aaron Steinberg
Little did I know when I first stepped foot inside the Hebrew Institute 35 years ago, that it would become a place so central to my life; and it remains so, after all these years. Looking back now, I am not surprised, as synagogue life and volunteerism were modeled beautifully, by my parents and grandparents. Marc and I moved to White Plains 42 years ago, shortly after we were married. We chose White Plains for its affordable housing, proximity to our parents (in Ct and the Bronx), easy commute to jobs (NYC and Scarsdale), varied choice of synagogues and, kosher butchers nearby. We had always assumed then, that we would join the conservative synagogue here but when I decided one Shabbat morning to take a walk down the street with my then 5 year old son, and was greeted so warmly at HI, I was hooked. Shortly after that first Shabbat, I convinced Marc to come along and give it a try and you can figure out the rest.
The Hebrew Institute then, had only a handful of young families with children and we quickly became involved with them in synagogue life here, helping to develop new programs for our children and ourselves. The older members of the congregation at that time were thrilled to have helpers to work alongside them and we were happy to learn from their experience and eventually, take over from them. It didn’t take long for HI to become an integral and central part of our lives. I am happy to say that I have always felt enriched by and through my involvement here.
Marc and I raised our three sons (Seth, Noah and Rafi) and started and built our home healthcare business, here in White Plains. Marc involved himself in our business’s development, growth and service delivery and I ran the back office, concerned with billing and payroll. Although I am grateful for and proud of the business that we built, my fulfillment has come through family and then with my volunteer work, both at HI and at Solomon Schechter. There I served as PTA Treasurer and then as a Co-President, and was involved in many exciting projects including the Schechter Haggadah and on the Steering Committee that first conceived of, proposed and developed the Israel Trip, which has now become an integral part of the school curriculum.
Marc and I were and remain, a team, and have helped with countless Shabbat and holiday celebrations, numerous fundraising efforts both large and small, as well as social and social action programs here, making lasting and cherished friendships and memories, through our involvement. I am humbled to be honored along with Norma Hurwitz and Adena and Aaron Steinberg. I do what I do because I love our shul and get so much out of and learn so much, working alongside people like them. We are all so fortunate that role models abound here and I thank Rabbi Marder and Suzie for their friendship, leadership.
I served on the synagogue Board of Directors for at least 10 years (before term limits) and on the Management Committee as Women’s Focus Officer. I was privileged to be involved (along with Roxanne Levine) in the founding of Women’s Tefillah, over 21 years ago. I am so grateful to Rabbi Marder for his encouragement and support then and his ongoing commitment to expanding opportunities for women at HI.
Approximately ten years ago, Milton Hoffman z’l, asked if I’d be willing to help him with our HI Bulletin; he had pretty much single-handedly been producing it since our family first joined HI. His were big shoes to fill but I stepped in and was happy to help. Thanks to the expertise of Teri Kopp, the bulletin continues and is something that I think of as a tribute to Milton’s memory; he considered it to be an important historical document for our institution.
Thankfully, the Hebrew Institute has grown and changed over these 35 years and I am thrilled that when my grandchildren visit, they can participate in exciting kids programs with so many others of their age. Yet with our growth, the one quality that brought us here, remains to this day. I am grateful to be part of this warm, welcoming and most special community of friends, and friends that have become like family and I thank you for this honor.
I am so honored having been selected as an honoree alongside the truly worthy recipients, Deborah Guthartz and Adina and Aaron Steinberg. Synagogue life has been a part of me always. My father z’l Judge Jules M. Bornstein and my dear husband Jerry served as presidents of Congregation Sons of Israel in Yonkers and Jerry also served HIWP as president.
I have been a regular Shabbat attendee since learning how to daven beside my beloved grandmother z’l Eva Bornstein.
Yonkers born and bred I am a proud graduate of Yonkers High School. At Smith College where I earned my BA, I was president of Hillel. My Masters from Columbia Teachers College prepared me for my teaching career at Edgemont High School, Westchester Hebrew High and 37 years as a religious school teacher at the Jewish Community Center of Harrison.
I am most proud of my continued commitment to Jewish learning. My mentor, Dr. Miriam Klein Shapiro z’l, guided me through Westchester Board of Jewish Education classes and I was in her first graduating group of certified Jewish Family Educators. At Temple Israel Center where we belonged before joining HIWP in 1991, I was instrumental in securing instructors for their Educational Institute which I still attend.
There are many facets to my life at HIWP. I have served with Jane Grauer as a dinner co-chair, worked with Jonathan Ament on his intergenerational committee, helped to bring speakers and programs here, participated in Synagogue 2000, and served on the Nominating Committee. It’s wonderful that HIWP offers so much to us all. I have enjoyed Mofia and mah jong, been a keen supporter of our book group and of course I am a proud-but not too competitive member of the Wednesday Thrift Shop group.
I truly love my HIWP community- young and older. I miss my Shabbat seat mates, Roz Kurz and Yetta Kaplan.
For 52 years Jerry has been at my side as we raised our dear children Stuart and Roberta and now enjoy the 5 delicious grandchildren that they have given us.
I am grateful always for the loving family I have. The memory of my parents, Ruth and Jules and all the special friends I hold dear. HIWP has certainly become a most important part of my life and I truly appeciate your friendship and this honor.
Adina & Aaron Steinberg
Adina and Aaron Steinberg moved to White Plains in 2013. They were looking for a warm synagogue community that would offer a meaningful and challenging religious experience for a growing family. Although they came to White Plains with a 2-year-old, they now have three young children: Dahlia, Judah, and Noah. They quickly fell in love with the Hebrew Institute community, and the entire family is excited to participate in Shabbat services, holidays, special events and more.
Adina works at SAR Academy as the Director of Middle School Student Programs. She also is a teacher of 8th grade Tanach and Math. Her passion for tefillah and torah study led her to become involved in the women’s tefillah committee of HIWP. Although she had never previously held a sefer torah, she quickly learned how to leyn, lead full Shabbat morning services and assume the role of Gabbait. Adina is now the co-chair of the Women’s Tefillah Committee, and is the primary liaison to the HIWP Yoetzet Halacha. She has also contributed greatly to the Youth Committee, special events, taught teen programs on Shavuot.
Aaron is Deputy Director of The Bronfman Fellowship, a pluralistic community for Jewish thought leaders, activists, and influencers. He has previously held professional roles at JOFA, SAR Academy and Yeshiva University. His experience working for Jewish non-profits and sitting on the boards of Jewish organizations over the past 12 years led him to get involved early on at the Hebrew Institute, first with the Kiddush committee and ultimately to lead the youth committee for three years during the tenure of youth directors Sam Pearlson and Ayala Raice. He has served on the HIWP Board of Trustees since 2014, advocating for families with young children and working to keep the community as warm and welcoming as it has been known to be for years.
White Plains is their home, and the Hebrew Institute their community. Together, Adina and Aaron along with their three children plan to continue contributing to this unique and wonderful Hebrew Institute community in increased and varying ways over the coming years. Roles change, and needs evolve, but this is the community they call home and are committed to help grow.
A rhyming couplet (Because, why not?)
Around the bend of Big Ralph Avenue,
Is a house that’s robin blue.
Judah is biking round the street,
Noah’s finding tasty things to eat,
Dahlia holds the bat for a swing,
Adina finds an audience to sing.
Aaron’s coffee isn’t far from hand,
Welcome to our White Plains promised land.