Our Pioneering Grandparents
Pioneers of their time, our grandparents Rabbi Jack and Elissa Sable were instrumental in bringing modern Jewish Orthodoxy to Riverdale in the mid-1950s. With not one Orthodox shul or kosher restaurant in the neighborhood, our grandparents sought to make Jewish traditions and values a core in every household. Rabbi Sable was the founding Rabbi of the Riverdale Jewish Center, which became, in its day, one of the most prominent Modern Orthodox shuls in America. The RJC served as the hub for both the spiritual and social needs of hundreds of families many of whom had previously left the fold. Another important part of our grandparents’ legacy was their devotion to education. Rabbi Sable, together with a group of dedicated parents and supported by the Jesselson and Lang families, started the Riverdale Hebrew Day School, which later merged with the established Salanter and Akiba Yeshivot of the Bronx, to become Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy, or SAR. And, it was a family undertaking as our grandmother was the school’s music teacher. Together with the other dedicated families, they grew the school, grade by grade, setting the foundation of strong Jewish education and values upon which SAR stands today.
Our grandparents chose to never leave Riverdale. They saw the people of Riverdale as more than just their congregants, but also as their family. Their greatest pride was seeing their children and grandchildren become members of their community and students at SAR. Seven of their grandchildren attended the school, and they had the privilege of seeing their granddaughter graduate from SAR High School in 2010.
Our grandparents’ legacy lives on through SAR and the greater Orthodox community of Riverdale.
Tanya (Sable) Wolf (AC ’94), Josh Berman (AC ’95), Annie (Berman) Kleinman (AC ’98), Elianna (Sable) Kaye (AC ’00), Michelle (Berman) Pines (AC ’06, HS ’10), and Alex, Rebecca, Joey and Sophie Sable
Picture of the first First Grade class from Riverdale Hebrew Day School. Photo from the personal archives of Rabbi Jack and Elissa Sable.