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When Neil and I spent our first Shabbat morning at HIWP in 1984 we felt we had found the heimishe atmosphere in which to start and nurture a family. Having grown up as a child of Holocaust survivors in Lakewood, New Jersey, it reminded me of my shul. I attended a small Orthodox Day School through eighth grade, then the public High School in Lakewood, which felt large and surprising, after the insular world of my day school. I have a BA/BS and MBA from NYU. All three of our daughters were born within this community – Rebecca, our youngest, being born in the middle of Neil’s Presidency. All three had their Simchat Bat and their Bat Mitzvah celebrations in our community. Our eldest grandson’s Bris was celebrated at HIWP three years ago, which was meaningful in so many ways. But, Shira, his mother, said that she hadn’t thought about how wonderful it would feel to have Joseph’s bris celebrated with her extended family. Rabbi Marder performed Rachel’s marriage ceremony. Our daughters loved coming to shul every Shabbat morning to see their friends—both their own age and much older! And this community has supported us when family members have died. Through my years at HIWP, I’ve chaired numerous committees and programs, chaired the Annual Dinner twice, served as Secretary for several years, and then as Vice-President from 2000-2002, and again these past two years. Neil is a partner with Cuddy and Feder, LLC, specializing in ElderLaw and Trust and Estates. We have a deep commitment and love for this kehillah!
Rena grew up in a small orthodox Jewish Community in St. Louis, Missouri, attended the local Jewish Day school, and a tiny Jewish High School (4 students in total!), and her Jewish life centered around the Orthodox synagogue. Her experience of being part of a small close-knit community where the presence and involvement of every person made a difference and where the shul community felt like family, was not something she saw again until she and David came upon the Hebrew Institute of White Plains! It didn’t take long before Rena and David and their two daughters, Maia and Anya had become fully embraced by the HI community. It also didn’t take too long before Rena became involved in shul programming, chairing several Chanukah dinners, Purim events, co-chairing the Youth committee, and serving as coordinator and gabbait for Women’s Tefilah. She later served on the Board of Directors and Management committee, first as Women’s Focus Officer and later as co-vice President with Marilyn.
Professionally, Rena received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, and has a private practice in Manhattan and White Plains. David is an owner and manager of a computer software company specializing in online ticket sales for schools and community theaters. Both Rena and David have marked many lifecycle events in the HIWP community, including their daughters becoming b’not mitzvah at some of the earliest Women’s Tefilah Services. They feel very fortunate to have found a second family at HIWP and look forward to sharing life’s ups and downs with this community for many years to come.