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Meet Our 2022 Gala Honorees!


Matt and Talia Crystal
Matt and Talia grew up in Canada before moving to Houston to start their family in 2008. They have been members of HIWP since moving to White Plains with their then four-year-old Naomi and one-year-old Jonah in 2012. The Crystal family quickly immersed themselves in shul programming, meeting wonderful new families and developing a strong bond with a shul and community that was truly welcoming, accepting and supportive.  
Matt began his involvement initially as a member of the Youth Committee in 2014 and from there he became actively involved and trained with the HIWP Shomrim team. In 2015 he was approached to take on a position on the HIWP Board of Directors and enthusiastically assumed the role of Secretary and Management Committee member from 2017 to 2021. Matt continues to be a member of the Board of Directors and most recently, has been an integral part of the HI COVID-19 Committee, helping to ensure safe practice during services and shul programming and in planning a healthy return to our new building. Professionally, Matt is a Pediatric Interventional Cardiologist at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Columbia University where he is also the Director of Inpatient Cardiology. 
In 2015, Talia was approached by then president, David Kahn to coordinate a way to connect the generations in our growing community. Talia initially helped to develop a safety and storm watch program for the shul, pairing younger and more able members with those who were homebound and/or in need of extra assistance. Since then, with the incredible support of her co-chair, Debbie Guthartz, and other volunteers, Talia has helped to establish the Kesharim Committee as the primary chesed bridge between members requiring support in many forms and their HI community. In addition to maintaining the HI Storm Watch program, she has helped to coordinate many intergenerational programs throughout the years like Mystery Maccabee and has developed and facilitated many COVID-related resources, from the COVID info webpage to errand requests to vaccine assistance. From 2018-21 Talia has also been involved in the organization of the HI Gala as the co-chair of the Business Ad Committee and has been proud of the growing and ongoing White Plains Community support of our shul. Professionally, Talia is a Certified Manual Physical Therapist, currently working in a private orthopedic practice in Pelham, NY.
Matt and Talia are so grateful for the incredible people they have worked with and wonderful personal bonds they have formed in HIWP. It was a thrill to be able to share Naomi’s Bat Mitzvah in 2020, surrounded by a community they love and have grown up with for the past 10 years. They look forward to many more smachot and wonderful experiences to come.

Members of the Hebrew Institute since 1969, Shimon and Malka Shalit have dedicated their lives to Judaism and to the advancement of the State of Israel. It was at the synagogue where Shimon and Malka met Rabbi Murray Grauer whom they credit with guiding them through life.
Shimon was born in Ra’anana, Israel in 1931 into a family with a long lineage of rabbis. At the age of 13, Shimon was recruited to the Gadna youth groups of the Haagana, which fought for an independent country. Shimon was only 16 when the Israeli government summoned him to serve in the army during the 1948 War of Independence. Stationed at the foothills of the West Bank, Shimon and his unit faced the Jordanian army. In the fall of 1949, after the United Nations declared a ceasefire, Shimon finished his senior year of high school and then completed two years of military service.
Shimon’s lifelong passion has been medicine. In 1957, he was a part of the first graduating class of physicians of Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem. Following his surgical internship and residency in Israel, Shimon completed residency in urology and a fellowship in neurology at NYU Medical Center. In 1966 he opened a urology practice in White Plains. When the Yom Kippur war broke out in 1973, he boarded the last plane to Israel with military commanders and surgeons to volunteer. Shimon was stationed at Tiberias Hospital, operating and attending to wounded Israeli soldiers day and night for three weeks. When the war ended, Shimon was honored by Israel Bonds for his service and devotion. In 1976, he was invited by the Israeli Department of Health to build a urodynamic center to treat wounded soldiers with neuro-urological problems. Shimon retired from medicine after 42 years of private practice in White Plains. During his career, he received two prizes from the American Urological Association; one for prostatic research and another for developing a new kidney surgical procedure. He also received a diploma in recognition of his 25 years as associate professor at NYU Medical School. While at White Plains Hospital, Shimon served as Chief of Urology.
Malka and Shimon married in 1969. Malka is an eighth-generation Israeli and a graduate of Tel Aviv Law School. She served on the Hebrew Institute Sisterhood Board and has organized many fundraisers for the synagogue. Shimon and Malka are the proud parents of five children and eight grandchildren.





Thu, August 18 2022 21 Av 5782