George Rohr, Dinner Chairman

Honorees

Paul and Lisa Glazer
Omri and Jackie Dahan 
Rabbi Benjamin Blech 

Amanda Dryer 
Casey Levine 
 
 
Paul and Lisa Glazer
Guests of Honor
 
Lisa is an Emmy Award winning TV News corespondent who worked at major networks including Channel 2 , CNBC and Fox News. She is also a proud graduate of Rabbi Buchwald's Beginners Service at Lincoln Square Synagogue which she attended alongside Jill Wildes.  Paul is CEO of Glazer Capital, LLC, an event driven hedge fund he founded in 1999 (just one year after MJE was established!) Paul holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  His education also includes  two and a half years of Torah study in Israel at Machon Shlomo, starting at the age of 29.

Paul and Lisa Glazer live on the Upper West Side with their four children.  From the moment MJE was established in 1998, Lisa and Paul opened their home to the MJE community, inspiring countless MJE participants at their beautiful Shabbat table.  They are the quintessential Shabbat hosts, serving as role models for the many young MJE men and women they invite into their home and into their lives.
 
 
Omri and Jackie Dahan
Lifetime Alumni Award
 
Jackie and Omri are longtime friends of Manhattan Jewish Experience. Since their courtship days, attending weekly Parsha lessons at MJE, going to Beginners Minyan and enjoying meals in the extended Kiruv community every Shabbat, their personal journeys began with an intention to deepen the meaning of Judaism in their lives. Fifteen years later, their fondest memories as a couple are those shared with MJE. Jackie and Omri were married in the vineyards of Sonoma County by Rabbi Mark Wildes, accompanied by Rabbi Ezra Cohen and Azi Cutter under their Chuppah. The naming of their daughter and brit milah of their sons, were all celebrated on the 10th floor of MJE among loved ones. And yes, MJE is so near to their hearts, that it was the inspiration for their children’s names: Maya, Jonah and Ezra.
 
Jackie and Omri have been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 8 years. Their children attend Oakland Hebrew Day School, and they are active members of their community and shul, Beth Jacob Congregation of Oakland, often hosting multiple guests at their own Shabbat table. Omri is an executive at a technology company and Jackie is a psychologist working in private practice. They still consider themselves “die hard” Upper West Siders, and their connection to MJE has remained strong and cherished. Each time they visit NY and return to the warm embrace of Rabbi Mark and Jill, and the community they have created, it truly feels like coming home to family.
 
 
Rabbi Benjamin Blech
Rabbinic Leadership Award

Rabbi Benjamin Blech is an internationally recognized Jewish educator, religious leader, author, and lecturer who has graciously lent his considerable talents to MJE over the last 20 years. 
A recipient of the American Educator of the Year Award, Rabbi Blech is a Professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University since 1966 and has formed thousands of student-teacher relationships through his warm and caring style. Rabbi Blech is known for his ability to present complicated ideas in a clear and entertaining manner.

A tenth-generation rabbi, Rabbi Blech is Rabbi Emeritus of Young Israel of Oceanside, which he served for 37 years. He is a frequent lecturer in Jewish communities as far-flung as Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Israel. Closer to home, he has served as Scholar-in-Residence at hundreds of synagogues throughout the United States and Canada and been active on behalf of countless Jewish causes.

He has appeared on national television (including the Oprah Winfrey Show); hosted a popular weekly radio program in New York; and written for Newsweek, The New York Times and Newsday, in addition to a wide and varied number of scholarly publications.

Rabbi Blech is the author of twelve highly acclaimed and best selling books, including three as part of the highly popular Idiot’s Guide series. His book, Understanding Judaism: The Basics of Deed and Creed, was chosen by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations as “the single best book on Judaism in our generation”. His book Taking Stock: A Spiritual Guide To Rising Above Life’s Financial Ups and Downs was featured in a full page article in the Sunday New York times and If God is Good, Why Is The World So Bad? was translated into Indonesian where it had a powerful reception in the wake of the country’s tsunami, as well as into Portuguese. 

As a result of his meeting with the late Pope John Paul II, Rabbi Blech helped secure the loan of precious Jewish manuscripts for exhibition in Israel and he is presently involved in further negotiations for the return of precious Judaica held by the Vatican. His book on the Sistine Chapel was featured on Nightline, Good Morning America and 20/20 and was translated into 15 languages and is available in 25 countries. His most recently published book book - “Hope, Not Fear” has also been widely received and has helped changed the way we view death. 

Rabbi Blech is an unusually eloquent and gifted speaker, as well as a profound theologian and religious spokesman. Since MJE was founded 20 years ago, he has spoken at countless MJE Shabbat Dinners and events including MJE’s Annual Ruth Wildes Memorial event. His deep and thoughtful presentations have made a great impact on the thousands of MJE participants who he continues to inspire. He deeply believes in MJE’s mission of outreach and to date, Rabbi Blech, has never turned his student, Rabbi Mark Wildes, down when asked to speak at an MJE event. Rabbi Blech and his amazing wife Elaine live on the upper West Side and have become an essential beloved part of the MJE community. 
 
Amanda Dryer
Community Service Award 

Amanda Dryer is a Learning Specialist at SAR Academy in Riverdale, New York.  A graduate of Brandeis University, Amanda subsequently served as a Teach for America corps member and earned her masters from Fordham University in Special Education, Elementary Education, and History Education. Being the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Amanda was motivated to study Holocaust Education at Brandeis and had the incredible opportunity to reunite three Holocaust survivors that who had not seen each other in over seventy years. While serving as a Teach for America corps member, Amanda was awarded with the Classroom without Borders Fellowship in Germany and participated in a seminar at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies. 

After completing Teach for America, Amanda became an active member of the Manhattan Jewish Experience and a graduate of their Fellowship program. Amanda is being awarded with the MJE Community Service Award in recognition of the contributions she has made to the organization, specifically her contributions in grant writing. While completing the fellowship program, Amanda began to write grants for MJE and thus, is being awarded with the Community Service Award. Outside of the classroom, Amanda has been a basketball and slam poetry coach. Amanda is a passionate genealogist, and is a member of Yad Vashem’s Young Leadership Associates.
 
 
Casey Levine
Student Recognition Award

Casey Levine grew up in the small town of Litchfield, CT. She received her BA in Mathematics and Economics from Columbia University while also studying both Spanish and Portuguese. Casey began her career as a currency trader at Morgan Stanley before joining a Silicon Valley technology startup. Still in the technology industry as a Senior Manager at Medallia, she currently lives in Manhattan. 
 
Casey turned to her Jewish heritage while living in India studying yoga in 2016 after having a realization that she did not need to turn to other cultures to find wisdom and truth when her own Jewish heritage was left unexplored since her Bat Mitzvah. So upon moving back to NYC, she attended an MJE Downtown Friday night dinner in January 2017, which quickly escalated to the MJE ski trip, weeknight classes, Shabbat services, MJE trips to Israel, and the Fellowship & Senior Fellowship Programs. Through the inspiration, learning, mentorship of the MJE Community, and even a rabbi-led kitchen kashering, Casey has become an observant Jew committed to those very truths she was searching for back in 2016.
 
 
 
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