Ohr Torah Stone held its 2016 annual dinner on December 13, 2016 in Manhattan.  At the dinner, Ohr Torah Stone honored two couples for their outstanding leadership and generosity: Lolly and Hertzie Bak and Joyce and David Friedman.  The dinner celebrated the 18th anniversary of Ohr Torah Stone’s remarkable emissary training programs: the Straus-Amiel Practical Rabbinics Program, the Beren-Amiel Practical Training Program for Educational Emissaries, and the Claudia Cohen Women’s Educators Institute, and we recognized the professional leadership and achievements of the director of the emissary training programs since their inception, Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum.  Ohr Torah Stone also paid tribute to the memory of Rabbi Pinky Bak z”l, a legendary educator and outreach professional, and honored the living legacy of Dr. Mordechai z”l and Adina Katz of Mexico City.  Dr. Katz passed away in July, and his passing was a great loss for Ohr Torah Stone and the Jewish world.  The Katz family has been generous supporters of Ohr Torah Stone’s programs for the training of emissaries, young men and women who represent the values and ideals of Ohr Torah Stone and are building Jewish life and community in countries throughout the world.
The evening of celebration and tribute was held in the new building of Lincoln Square Synagogue.  It was there, under the leadership of the chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, that Lincoln Square became known as the leading synagogue for outreach in New York, and probably in the world.  The dinner’s honorary chairs were Moshael and Zahava Straus and Daniel and Joyce Straus. The Straus family has been supporters of the Straus-Amiel program since its inception, and their commitment to Ohr Torah Stone, particularly to our men’s rabbinical seminary named in memory of their late parents, Joseph and Gwendolyn z”l, is profound and enduring.

Photos: Brian Berkowitz, Twilight Artistry

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