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Sunday, Dec. 8th, 2013 at Marriott Marquis, Manhattan

Shomer Yisrael Awardees

Dr. David and Barbara Bortniker

Dr. David and Barbara Israel Bortniker reside in West Orange, NJ, where they are active members of the Jewish community. 

David graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and has worked for over 25 years as an Ear, Nose and Throat Physician/Surgeon.  He is active in teaching medical students and training new physicians at NJ Medical School and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. David has been recognized as a top doctor in many NY and NJ magazines.

Barbara graduated Columbia University School of Law and currently practices as an attorney in the NY-NJ area.  She earned an MFA degree in painting, and her artwork has been exhibited widely. Her recent paintings depict Israel landscapes. 

On their most recent trip to Israel, the couple visited their cousins in Bet El and toured Bet El’s institutions. They were most impressed with the IDF Preparatory Academy for underprivileged students where they noted, “The Sephardi and Ethiopian young men here discover the beauty and grandeur of our traditions, develop a commitment to contribute to Israeli society, and continue to positions of command and leadership in the IDF.”

 Barbara is President of the West Orange-Livingston chapter of NORPAC, a pro-Israel advocacy group and has recently been named Co-Chair of the Jewish National Fund’s Women for Israel Committee in the Central Jersey Division.  They have contributed generously to various Israeli organizations including Magen David Adom and JNF. The Bortnikers were honored by the Israel Bonds committee several years ago.  In West Orange, they are active members of both the Ohr Torah Orthodox and Bnai Shalom Conservative synagogues.

They are blessed with four children and one grandchild. The American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center is honored to bestow its Shomer Yisrael Award on Dr. David and Barbara Bortniker. 

 Aishet Chayil Awardee
Sylvia Freyer

Sylvia Freyer is renowned for her devotion to and support of community activities, and commitment to the State of Israel and Jewish Outreach. She has served on the boards of the UJA in Manhattan, Yeshiva of Flatbush, the Moriah School, the Frisch school, and the ZOA, just to name a few. Along with her late husband Carl, OB”M, they founded the Concert in the Park, which annually follows the Celebrate Israel Parade. They have been leading supporters of Arutz Sheva and Bet El, and are extremely involved in supporting the Legal Forum.

Sylvia’s passion lies with Jewish continuity. Twenty-seven years ago, Sylvia and Carl started the Jewish Youth Encounter Program in Bergen County to provide meaningful Jewish educational opportunities to thousands of youngsters who otherwise may not have received one. It also provides day school teens leadership opportunities through mentoring. This program serves as a model which has been replicated throughout the United States.
Sylvia is also among the most generous supporters of the National Jewish Outreach Program. Sylvia and Carl were twice honored by NJOP, and have a Young Leadership Award named in their honor. Several years ago, they established an endowment fund in the Torah Academy of Bergen County, which grants a stipend to a TABC student who excels in outreach.
A very special relationship developed between Bet El’s Rosh Yeshiva, Zalman Melamed, and Carl. Carl considered Rabbi Melamed his family Rabbi.
Sylvia’s crowning glory are her daughters Louisa Susman and Maura Ruskin, who along with their husbands Yehudah and Adam, live in Israel with her 13 grandchildren and great grandson, Yosef, named for Carl.
It provides great esteem to the American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center to grant Sylvia its Aishet Chayil Award.


Shomer Bet El Awardees


Joshua and Rachel Goldsmith

Joshua and Rachel Goldsmith have made Judaism and Israel activism core foundations of their lives. At the center of their activism is the belief in a strong network of yishuvim, located at the front lines of our ancestral homeland and key to a secure, spiritual and physical homeland in our times.
Joshua and Rachel visited Bet El two summers ago where they toured Bet El Institutions and sat in on a class at the Israel Defense Forces Preparatory Academy. They were most inspired by the efforts that help these young men understand their place in Judaism and Israeli society. Josh has supported Bet El for 5 years and together the couple has taken a leading role in web and social media marketing for Bet El and Israel Empowered.
They are pillars of their local synagogue, Kehillas Ishei Yisrael, in Kew Garden Hills, NY where they serve on several committees.
Joshua, who grew up in Hillcrest, Queens, works as a Senior Software Developer at Bloomberg. In his prior position at Citibank, he coordinated minyanim and developed a website, to help people maintain small office minyanim. He also founded kiruv shiurim there, run by Center for Return, and was honored at their annual dinner.
Joshua is involved with many community organizations in Kew Garden Hills, including Tomchei Shabbos of Queens where he recruits volunteers and delivers food on a regular basis.
Originally from Savannah, GA, Rachel is completing her Master’s degree at Gratz College in Jewish Communal Service, which included two years of study at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She completed a Graduate Certificate in Jewish Nonprofit Organizational Management at Gratz College in order to bring new skills in strategic planning, marketing and fundraising to Jewish community organizations. Rachel currently interns with the Jewish Communal Service Association, which focuses on professional development for people who work in Jewish fields.
In college, Rachel served as president of American University Students for Israel which countered the campus’ vocal, anti-Israel contingency. She lobbied in Congress on behalf of initiatives that benefited the Jewish State. During an internship with Project Interchange, an affiliate of the American Jewish Committee, Rachel helped to create Israel experiences that fostered a deeper understanding of the issues for American leaders in fields such as journalism, politics and security.
Rachel trained students for hasbara with the David Project and Aish HaTorah in NY. She taught Hebrew, Judaism and Zionism across all grade levels in a summer camp and supplementary religious schools in Savannah, GA, Atlanta, Washington, DC and New York.
In recognition of their tireless efforts on behalf of Eretz Yisrael, The American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center is proud to honor Joshua and Rachel Goldsmith with the Shomer Bet El Award.

Young Leadership Awardees
Elchanan and Aliza Romanoff

Elchanan & Aliza Romanoff grew up with a natural affinity for Bet El and commitment to the entire land of Israel. Both Elchanan’s and Aliza’s parents are former guests of honor at Bet El’s annual dinner.

Elchanan was born and raised until the age of 9 in Israel in the Neve Aliza neighborhood of Karnei Shomron, where he developed his love for Israel from his parents, David (z’l) and Syndi Romanoff, who left their life in America to settle and live in the hills of Shomron. Growing up in a religious-Zionist family, Elchanan learned what it meant to be a fierce advocate for the Land and State of Israel.
Through the years, Elchanan has been involved in many pro-Israel activities including his participation in the organization of worldwide rallies to protest the expulsion of the Jewish residents of Gaza, as well as advocacy and fundraising on behalf of the Jews of Hebron. Most recently, Elchanan has assumed the role of President of Israel Empowered, a non-profit organization created to engage and direct the support of the next generation of pro-Israel individuals towards worthy causes, such as the IDF Preparatory Academy in Bet-El. Elchanan graduated from Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business with a B.S. in Business Management and is part of the acquisitions team for the private equity real estate investment firm, The Lightstone Group, based in New York City.
Aliza was born to a family with deep roots in the foundations of Bet El and Israel. Her grandfather, Rabbi Morris Friedman (z’l), was a founding trustee of Bet El. Her great-grandfather, Mr. Mayer Sand, donated the original Bet Midrash in Bet El in the early 1980’s. Aliza’s parents, as well, are strident supporters of Bet El since the early years of its establishment. It is with this inspiration and guiding light, that she continues her own advocacy and support for Bet El and Israel. Aliza graduated with honors from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development with a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics and is pursuing her career in nutritional science.
Elchanan, Aliza, and their baby daughter, Olivia Rose, reside in Woodmere, NY. The American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center is proud to have Elchanan and Aliza Romanoff as its Young Leadership awardees.


Sunday, Dec. 8th, 2013, 5pm at the Manhattan Marriott Marquis

The American Friends of the Bet El Yeshiva Center is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization which works to secure the safety and security of Israel's citizens by raising awareness of Israel issues, promoting Israel activism and encouraging Aliyah through the activities of Bet El Institutions in Israel. Perhaps more than any other network, Bet El impacts the Jewish nation reaching literally millions of people via its broad educational network and IDF Prep Academy, its online Israel news site Arutz Sheva (, its Hebrew hardcopy weekly newspaper BeSheva (circulation 120,000), and its online Gateway to Jewish Learning (link to The US-based Young Leadership Division of Bet El hosts events in support of this vital work.

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