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Meet Our Zoom Gala Gala 2021 Honorees!

Doug Hirshon: Born and bred in Staten Island, Doug married Jerusha Coltof in 2001, lived on the Upper West Side and then made the obligatory suburban trek to White Plains in 2004. Not long after, Doug joined the gabbaim team and remained with them for the next eleven years.  His first child, Michaelah, was born in 2005. Judah was born in 2008. In 2017 he joined with Kara Olson to become co-vice presidents. They then started their term as co-presidents in July of 2019. Doug has one brother, who is married and has two children, living in Forest Hills, Queens. His parents moved to White Plains from Staten Island in 2015. They are proud members of this wonderful shul. Doug has been a physician since 1995. He trained and worked in the Bronx for more than 20 years in primary care. He currently works for the FDNY.
Kara Olson: Moving to White Plains from Seattle with her family in the fall of 2007, Kara quickly immersed herself in shul activities, volunteering on the youth and mishloach manot committees, co-chairing programming for 5 years, and serving as co-VP and now co-President. She has been an integral part of many memorable shul programs, helped to establish the Areivim committee with Rena Fredman, and is honored to be co-president with her good friend Doug during this particularly historic time for our shul. When not volunteering, Kara enjoys her job as a pre-clinical immuno-oncology scientist at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. She also enjoys skiing, supporting her favorite Seattle and New York sports teams, a good book, and deep conversations with her wonderful husband of 22 years, Jess. But if you were to ask her, Kara would tell you that for all this, her greatest accomplishment is being the mother of two amazing children, Toby, a senior at SAR, and Beruria, a WDS 8th grader.

Robert Z. Brody has lived in White Plains with his wife Shoshana since 2001. Their Daughter Ariana,  was married to Jonathan Silverman last summer. Bobby has served as Gabbai of Hebrew Institute since 2003 when the previous daily Gabbai went on a “two-week vacation”. Bobby will gabbai in the luxury of a beautiful shul, the Annex at Maple, shul parking lot or any minyan outside with a temperature greater than 20 degrees. Bobby has also served as Treasurer and Gabbai of Young Israel in his younger days. Little known fact is Bobby served as captain of the now defunct HI softball team even before he moved in. Bobby grew up in Long Island. He attended HANC and received his BA in Accounting at Queens College.  Bobby became a CPA in 1993 and has worked for over 30 years serving the not-for-profit world. Bobby is currently the Director of Finance of Rye Country Day School at which he has been employed since 2000.
Michael Z. Kellman moved to White Plains in 2005 with his wife Idana and their children, Noam and Shai, and welcomed a third child, Mali, in 2008. He got his start as gabbai at Kehillat Orach Eliezer (KOE) and was one of the founding members of Darkhei Noam, a partnership minyan in Manhattan. Upon arrival at the Hebrew Institute of White Plains, he took on the job of laining coordinator and joined the board, and has now served on the Management Committee as Gabbai for the last 4 years. Outside of shul, he serves as a board member for JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, and works as a Product Management consultant for Stride Consulting.
Leah Z. Portnoy Worenklein has been a member of HIWP since she moved to White Plains in 1996 with her husband David, and she became actively involved from the start. Their daughter Eliana was born a year later. Leah has a BA in Psychology from Barnard College, and an MA in Child Clinical and School Psychology from Ferkauf. She loves her work as a learning specialist and educational therapist, and enjoys a wide array of creative endeavors. Leah is the drummer in a band with fellow HIWP members Jess Olson and Adina Steinberg that is either called Rival Radio or Abundance of Caution, depending on who you ask. Leah became an HIWP gabbai in 2016. She feels lucky and honored to be working with each of her fellow gabbaiim, all of whom bring an amazing level of empathy and professionalism to Team GabbaiTM.
Gideon "Gadi" Z. Romm and his family moved to White Plains 15 years ago and became Gabbai within the first year and has been in that role since. This likely means Gadi is the longest running current active board member.  Gadi has served on the Management committee, as Head of the Religious Services committee, as unofficial AV squad at shul dinners, as adjunct tech support for the office and website, as canopy builder in the spring, and generally helps grease the wheels where he can. Gadi is honored to be part of the current Team Gabbai - a motley crew of awesome, seasoned gabbaim who somehow ensure that the show goes on. Gadi can often be found in shul with his wife Jana, and sons, Beni, Ilan and Ori.
Fri, June 18 2021 8 Tammuz 5781