My SAR Story | Volume 4


Mezzuzah Hanging Ceremony at the Toscanini Carriage House

JAY KALISH | Alumnus AC ‘71

I started my story in Salanter Yeshiva in first grade in the building on Amethyst Street. My Hebrew teacher was Mrs. Nathanson (who was also my father's teacher as well). I was part of the first joint graduating class, and I still have my yearbook! Our school was the Carriage House, and we did special projects in the old mansion, which is now the site of the main building.

On the class picture page in the yearbook, I was in the 8th grade class picture and Judy Miller was in the 7th grade picture (same page). We did not know each other then, but met through Yeshiva University and married in 1980. We have been living in Israel since 1987, with our children and grandchildren all here. So we are probably the first SAR couple....

SAR’s First Alumni Couple

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My father, Cantor Martin Horowitz z״l, taught Ta׳Amei Hamikra, Zmirot, Tefila and Megillot from the beginning of SAR. He donated his services the first year. He began the teaching of Megillat Esther which is still read by students every year.  A Megilah was dedicated in his memory at an SAR Dinner after his death.

He trained a generation of students to be able to lead services in their own communities. Our daughter, Sharon Millendorf Rabinowitz, was a graduate of the Academy and one of the class speakers at her graduation. SAR helped foster her love of Israel, where she lives with her husband Shlomo and sons Elior and Amiad.
— Minna Millendorf, Parent of Alumni


For me, the best years at SAR were in the 5th and 6th Grade, when we still had class in the mansion. I loved that entrance into the ornate mansion, those grand stairs, the balcony above, the one flight stairwell to nowhere, the dungeon and the warning from our Rabbis not to look at the painted scenes on the bathroom ceilings.  I remember going down the secret stairwell to the first-floor kitchen where Mrs. Hecht would make a cup of tea if you weren’t feeling well.

Audrey Schurgin  z”l , Former Associate General Studies Principal

Audrey Schurgin z”l, Former Associate General Studies Principal

But there could be no SAR without the amazing Mrs. Audrey Schurgin. In 6th Grade, she opened her heart to share with me the gift of writing. She instilled the importance of writing well, and writing often. Her instruction was simple: just write stories. The day my book was published 30 years later, the essence of those words of inspiration was found. I know that with the love in her heart for all the students, she inspired many before me, and many students after me, in my short one year as her 6th Grade English student.


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Each and every day I would pass the iconic Alef, always inspiring me, as it did for others before me and will for those after me. It is taken for granted to celebrate Judaism in an open and loving environment. SAR gives that and so much more. The love of Torah was evident from my time in Kindergarten through the 8th Grade. How can I forget the game of line tag on the gym floor, sliding down the massive hill during a snowy day, climbing on the monkey bars on the jungle gym, or the thrill of having the first outdoor basketball hoop set up?

Ever since my first year in Kindergarten I fell in love with my teachers. I felt so much warmth and care where each teacher pushed me to do my very best. They worked tirelessly to make sure I knew the material and made sure to celebrate my strengths in the classroom, where every student was just as important. I am forever grateful and feel it was a massive stepping stone for my future and beyond. I am a better person and a well-rounded, educated student because of all my years at SAR. I especially learned what good middot are,  thinking of how to help the next person was SAR's motto through and through.

Some of my favorite teachers include, Morah Dassi, Mrs. Berger, Mr. Singer, Mr. Reuben, Morah Bina, Morah Soo, Morah Shoshi, Mrs. Kafer, Morah Shira, Mrs. Fisch, and too many others to name. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for giving the love of Torah, the strength of Judaism, a shoulder to lean on and your brilliant teaching skills. Thank you for always believing in me. Thank you to SAR for having the best faculty and an environment that encourages us to soar.

Years ago, we used to take a school trip for the 5th and 6th Grade students to High Point State Park. It was a two-night outing trip. During the day, we walked the trails and at night, the staff and kids slept in the cabins. Through these trips I actually became skilled at trail walking.

One year, around 10:00 pm as we were getting ready to go to bed on the second night of the trip, there was a knock at the door. Two State troopers were at the door to inform us that there was a prison break at a nearby state prison and to be on the alert. This was before cell phones and our school buses were not expected to return until the morning. There was nothing we could do but spend the night.

In short, none of the teachers slept that night, and all made sure the kids were unaware of the situation. The police never returned and we presumed the prisoners were caught. It was quite the memorable trip!


At SAR I shared an area with Ms. Lynn Goldsmith and remember how we would call each other every Sunday night to coordinate activities for the week: noisy time, quiet time, activity time, etc. After all these years, we still call each other every Sunday night!
— Sandra Leiman, Former Faculty


BETH ANSCHEN BRAUNSTEIN Currren Faculty, Parent of Alumni, and Grandparent

In the mid-1980s when I was an SAR parent, Rabbi Fuld approached my sister Elaine Bloom and I to invite a Russian-born young student and her mother to our Passover seder. At the time we were all living in Pelham Parkway and did not know these people at all.

Rabbi Fuld did not ask how they would get there or any other details about them. It was just important that they experience a seder with our families.

That request of Rabbi Fuld led to a very special relationship that has spanned over the years...there were even times they came to our Seders unexpectedly when they were in town. Thank you Rabbi Fuld for sparking a most meaningful relationship.