My SAR Story | Volume 3

Current SAR Academy students celebrating Chanukah at the home of their teacher, Rabbi Steven Moskowitz AC ‘79

Current SAR Academy students celebrating Chanukah at the home of their teacher, Rabbi Steven Moskowitz AC ‘79

RABBI STEVEN MOSKOWITZ AC ‘79 SAR Academy Middle School Faculty

Steven Moskowitz AC ‘79 from his 8th Grade graduation photo!

Steven Moskowitz AC ‘79 from his 8th Grade graduation photo!

“Back in the day we had real grass on the field and on the day that I finally hit a softball over the fence in the ELC parking lot for a home run was one of the best days of my childhood. Sledding down the hill (gone now) was another fantastic treat. In my class were the children of celebrities. Dina Weiss (Rabbi Avi) and JJ Greenberg (a”h) (Rabbi Yitz) were always referring to the television footage on the news of their parents being in Washington lobbying for the Holocaust Commission or being chained to an embassy gate. Jewish activism was so palpable here...

I had come to the school in the 3rd Grade but was about a year and a half younger than most of my classmates. I wasn’t particularly brilliant but I had a tantrum in my old school while in Pre-K and they put me in the only other class they had available which was the Kindergarten class. In any event, I turned ten during the summer before sixth grade and my father passed away a month later. Rabbi Fuld came to pay a shiva call during the summer to our apartment in the Bronx. This made such an impression upon my mother. She was very torn because we really couldn’t afford tuition when I started, but now, things were even worse financially. SAR was so kind about assuming that I would continue in school regardless of what we could afford to pay. When I returned to school, I was asked if I wanted to daven with the older kids in the shul upstairs rather than with my class. I was nervous but opted for the minyan. I was welcomed with open arms and during that year was treated in every way like a regular student which I so appreciated. I had to grow up a little faster than many of my peers but SAR helped me along when I needed it most. I will never forget their kindness. I always wondered if the day would come when I would have the opportunity to give back to them what they gave to me. Today is that day.”

I graduated SAR in 1973. I was there at the beginning. I was also there when Rabbi Fuld started at SAR. From the beginning, he was the young, fun Rebbe for all of us. He taught Thursday night Gemara mishmar. From Rabbi Fuld, I learned not only to love learning, but also learned how to begin thinking like a Jew. I will never forget his coming into our class on Yom Hashoah in 8th grade and just asking us to imagine what it would be like to try and make 6 million holes in a piece of paper or even (at that time this was just beginning) to try and program a computer to make 6 million dots on paper. On a more personal level, at the end of 8th Grade, he pulled me aside and told me that life at MTA would not be the same as it was at SAR and that I would at some point in my life come back and thank him for that advice.

I am proud to say that my children had the z’chut of also being talmidim of Rabbi Fuld at SAR. And yes, I did specifically thank him for the advice.
— Brian Hoch AC '73

RENA ROSSMAN SAR Current Faculty

My history with SAR goes back 35 years! At my initial interview with Marcia Jacobowitz, the ELC director at the time, I met my future mother-in-law, Ilse Rossman z”l. She said, “Rena, take this job!”  Little did I know that on that day I began my journey with my new Rossman family and the SAR family as well. Many years have gone by and I know that taking the job that day was one of the best decisions that I have ever made!

My years at SAR have been happy ones and I have always been in awe of the faculty and administration both in the ELC and the Academy. I would like to share this story about the administration, specifically the principals, of SAR as it epitomizes the caring and supportive community that are the hallmarks of SAR. It demonstrates how, starting at the top with the exemplary administrators,  SAR's culture is one of profound concern for others that extends beyond the classrooms and official roles.

Five years ago I got a very difficult phone call from Israel on a Thursday night. My mother of blessed memory had passed away. Being in America and knowing that I couldn’t get to Israel before Sunday was devastating to me. Rav Riskin paskined that the family should wait for me to get there and have the funeral on Sunday which was Lag B'omer. I decided to stay in Israel for the shiva as that is where my mother had lived for the latter part of her life. I assumed that my sisters would have many visitors and that I would be able to mourn quietly and be surrounded by my family.

Between the visits from past students who had made Aliya, family and friends, the shiva was packed with a constant flow of people. What touched my heart the most though were the visits from ALL THREE of the principals that I had worked for at SAR. First Rabbi Yonah Fuld came, next Rabbi Joel Cohn, and on Erev Shabbat (before I got up) straight from the airport Rabbi Binyamin Krauss.  All of these wonderful Rabbaim have been to many of the smachot that I have been blessed with, but to have all three of them come to Efrat to be menachem aveil to me left a lasting impression on me that I will never forget.

SAR forges strong relationships and has incredible people, starting at the top, that make SAR the amazing place that it is!”

DANIELLE (MOLLER) THAU AC ‘83 Current Parent, Parent of Alumni

“In my memory, SAR had a remarkable way of helping its students experience life as a community. One particular memory is of Rabbi Chwat speaking to the school from the top of the building on the loudspeaker after his son, Mordy, had been injured in the 1980 attack on Hevron. Rabbi Chwat shared with us that the Yeshiva students had been going home from davening Friday night when the terrorist attack occurred. He told us that Mordy had been injured and that he had phoned his parents en route to the hospital. Mordy sang a song with his father on the phone and Rabbi Chwat shared it with all of us. Over the loudspeaker, he sang one line at a time and we repeated until the whole school knew the song. ".אדיר אדירנו ה׳ אלוקנו, מה אדיר שמך בכל הארץ" To me, it will always be a song of strength, of the love between a father and son, and of the shared love for, and commitment to, Medinat Yisrael.”

PEARL TABACK SAR Academy Current Faculty

We were three head teachers and an assistant: Sandy Leiman, Lynne Goldsmith, Pearl Taback, and Jackie Binstock. For 14 years, from 1986 - 2000, we taught and challenged our students through projects, readings, discussions and presentations. This is how it worked:

On Monday, Sandy would say, "I have an idea..." and I, Morah Pearl, would say, "I'll write it up for tomorrow."

After which Lynne, our most practical strategist, would ask, "How many days will this take...?" and Jackie would complete the thought by saying, "I'll have all the materials in school on Thursday."

For 14 years we worked together. Never a harsh word, never a proprietary thought, only a creative fervor to inspire out students to love history, to create projects, and to delight in our Jewish heritage.

Sarah (Trachtman) Blechner ‘96, pictured at her Siddur Play

Sarah (Trachtman) Blechner ‘96, pictured at her Siddur Play

At the beginning of the basketball season, Rabbi Cohn sat down with the full girls and boys basketball teams in the shul. He spoke about winning, but more importantly, he spoke about middot on the court. He spoke about being kind to our teammates and to the other team. He spoke about being a good sport, not gloating when we win and being gracious when we lose. He absolutely made it clear that whether we won or lost just didn’t matter if we didn’t act like mensches.

It has stayed with me for almost 25 years. It’s the reason I send my kids to SAR. Winning just isn’t the goal. It’s how we behave that matters and the fact that it wasn’t just the coach who was telling us that, but our principal, specifically taking time out and sitting us all down in the shul of all places. When we live a modern orthodox life, we believe that Torah values intersect with everything, and this moment embodied that for me.
— Sarah (Trachtman) Blechner AC '96