When family and friends gather for the annual Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey dinner, they will be coming together to honor people whose names have become synonymous with pillars of education and volunteerism.
Shira and Yehuda Isenberg will be honored as this year’s guests of honor. Almost every parent in the school knows the Isenberg family, at least by name. As parents of Amira (RYNJ ’16), Yaakov (RYNJ ’19) and Aharon, a current fourth grader, they got involved in RYNJ immediately and their involvement has only grown since then. Yehuda Isenberg, Senior Vice president and actuary at Validus Reinsurance, has used his background in finance to help the school form a successful pension plan as well as other financial projects. Shira has been part of nearly every aspect of the school, working behind the scenes in ways most people do not know exist. She was part of the RYNJ PTA and the board of directors and now serves as secretary on the executive board. Shira co-chaired the RYNJ Dinner committee for the last 10 years, making the dinner one of the highlights of the school year. In 2010, she became an integral part of the RYNJ Scholarship Campaign committee, successfully coordinating it ever since.
Shira was one of the members of the committee that produced the first annual report in 2012 and she continues to oversee its publication every year. Thanks to Shira’s hard work, this report is something that the yeshiva is proud of, and it has been imitated by many other institutions. She has also assisted with the yeshiva’s successful application for Homeland Security Grants, the Prospective Parents Open House, the RYNJ-SINAI Chinese Auction and many other events and committees over the years. “Shira’s willingness to take initiative and responsibility for yeshiva projects is inspiring,” said Head of School Rabbi Daniel Price. “Her organizational skills, positive attitude and ability to see the big picture as well as small details have been invaluable to RYNJ.”
For their part, the Isenbergs can only feel grateful for the level of involvement they have had with RYNJ. “It’s so hard to put into words all that I’ve gained from being part of an incredible institution like this,” said Shira, “how much I’ve gained from being part of RYNJ and how much I have learned from all the people I have worked with. I’ve worked with the most talented and inspiring group of administrators, teachers, parents and lay leaders.”
Rabbi Levi and Leah Neubort, in their 15th consecutive year as RYNJ parents, are being honored as parents of the year and they are parents not just to their five children, Chaya (’14); Brocha (’16); Mindy (’17); Racheli, a current eighth-grade student; and Mendel, a current fifth-grade student, but to hundreds, if not thousands, of others. As spiritual leaders of Congregation Anshei Lubavitch in Fair Lawn they run a full davening schedule, youth programming and preschool, kiruv opportunities, vacation camps and shiurim at all different levels, many of which are streamed to extend the reach of their message. “The Neuborts are a powerful force of good in the Bergen County community. They wholeheartedly channel their community spirit into a wide array of successful programs and exemplify the idea of Torah, avodah u’gmilut chasadim with their drive to spread Yiddishkeit throughout our community,” said Rabbi Price. Over the past 15 years, the Neuborts have been proud RYNJ parents and active ambassadors for the yeshiva. They use their wide influence to guide countless new families seeking an environment of Torah and excellence. “We sent both our boys to Anshei Lubavitch for early preschool and they both benefited from the love and the messages the Neuborts infuse into the experience,” said the Isenbergs.
As experienced educators, the Neuborts look to RYNJ as a partner in their chinuch. “We know what goes into running a school and how much work it takes to view each child as an individual,” said Rabbi Neubort, executive director of Anshei Lubavitch. “Even in a school the size of RYNJ, they have never taken a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to our children. Whether they needed support or enrichment they have taken a solution-oriented approach and differentiated seamlessly, catering to each child’s learning style,” he said. The Neuborts continued to explain the pride they have in sending their children to an academic institution known not just for their high caliber of learning, but for their dedication to Torah, chesed and middot. “We see a common value in what we teach and what happens in RYNJ,” they said. “There is no greater nachas than sending to a school that continues to support the same priorities.” Rabbi Neubort even added that when their own family moved to Fair Lawn and started considering schools for their young children, they saw how happy parents and children are at RYNJ and were happy to enroll their own children there, too.
“Our yeshiva is indebted to Morah Peninah Pick for her endless devotion and dedication to our students, their families, her colleagues and the greater school community,” said Rabbi Price. “It is in this spirit that we recognize and honor her with the RYNJ Educator of the Year Award representing her life-long commitment to our yeshiva.” Whether students have her as “Morah Peninah” or “Ms. Pick,” children and parents know they are getting a teacher who is professional and dedicated. Pick is from a family of mechanchim; her father was a principal, and her mother was a teacher. She always knew she wanted to be a morah and she also had an interest in the medical field; she has found a way to fulfill both those interests as a first-grade morah and a science teacher for middle school. She is constantly looking for ways to increase her knowledge and spearheaded bringing the Tal-Am Hebrew Language program to RYNJ and enhances the STEM and E2K programs with her enthusiasm for education. For Pick, however, her biggest accomplishment comes from being part of the students’ connection to Torah. “I’m proud to be part of transmitting the mesorah to the next generation,” she said. “I am working to develop their ahavah to Torah and mitzvos, to have them love learning and love tefillah. I’m teaching my second generation of students now, and to me that is very important to be a part of.”
“Amira had Ms. Pick for sixth-grade science, Yaakov had Ms. Pick in first grade and then for science in sixth and Aharon already looks forward to having her in a couple years, having heard so much about her hands-on science experiments,” said Shira. “She has the unique ability to identify each student’s specific skills and interests and caters her teaching to what she knows will inspire them to learn and to grow.”
“Each of these honorees stands out in their own community as models others look up to,” said RYNJ President Yaacov Apfelbaum. “Peninah Pick as the coordinator for the Down the Aisle Kallah Gemach, has assisted many new couples in starting their lives together with elegance and beauty; the Isenbergs are the first to step up and volunteer in any school or shul to which they belong; and the Neuborts are leaders in harbatzat Torah and guiding neshamot. Now is the time for our RYNJ family to gather together within our close-knit group and recognize how much they have all brought to our school community.”
Please join RYNJ in recognizing these dedicated honorees on Monday, January 13, at 6:30 p.m., at Congregation Keter Torah. To make a reservation or submit an ad, visit https://www.rynj.org/dinner/.
By Jenny Gans