Rosa & Herman Engel
Grandparents of the Year
Herman and Rosa Engel, JEC’s Grandparents of the Year, began their relationship with the JEC in a hotel room in Moscow in June, 1974, where they first met Rav Pinchas and Rebbetzin Bessie Teiz, ל”צז. While the Engels were already planning to immigrate to America, they were concerned about where their four year old son, Yossi, was going to be able to receive a Jewish education. The Rav assured them that the JEC would be able to provide just the education they were seeking. Yossi, now known as Alex, began his formal Jewish education at the JEC in Kindergarten in September, 1974.
The Engels purchased their home on Kipling Road in Elizabeth only four years after immigrating to the US, and second son, Sam was born a few years later. Both Yossi and Sam matriculated through the JEC, graduating in 1988 and 1995, respectively.
Herman and Rosa worked tirelessly to pay for their son’s education, Herman as a truck drive and Rosa as an operating room nurse, and they are proud of the fact that they were able to put their children through the JEC, college, law and medical school. Alex now works as a corporate attorney and Sam as a pediatric otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon.
Alex and his wife, Abby, live in Elizabeth, and have sent all five of their children to the JEC. Two are still in the JEC high schools. Sam and his wife, Joelle and three children live in South Jersey, but can be seen in Elizabeth frequently for Yom Tovim with family.
Herman and Rosa are long time Elizabethans who are actively involved with their grandchildren, and can be seen ferrying them back and forth to the JEC High School and Bruriah for school and extra-curricular activities. They enjoy taking walks through the Elmora Hills section of Elizabeth, which they have called home for 44 years, and visiting with their extended family who also live in Elizabeth, or visit regularly.
Elizabeth is fortunate to have Herman and Rosa Engel in our midst and part of the JEC “Family.” We are pleased to honor them as Grandparents of the Year.
Yael & Jonathan Pittinsky
Parents of the Year
Jonathan and Yael Pittinsky, our Parents of the Year, embody the Torah values that we hold dear. They are engaged in their community, their Shul, and, most importantly, actively involved with their children and families. The education of their children, one with a firm Torah foundation, has always been a primary concern.
The connection between the Pittinskys and the JEC is a long one. Both Jonathan and Yael are JEC graduates, he in 1987 and she in 1989. They continued their learning in Israel, he at Shaalvim and she at Sharfman’s then on to YU and Stern. Jonathan received his MBA from NYU, and works as the Chief Accounting Officer at Tradeweb Markets LLC. Yael has been a teacher for over 20 years, and is an Administrator at Camp Shalom. We like to believe that the foundation laid at the JEC has contributed to the life they have built for themselves and their children.
The Pittinskys moved to Passaic when they married in 1991, and are actively involved in the community, with Jonathan a Commissioner on the Board of Adjustment. Their Shul, Ahavas Israel is truly fortunate to benefit from their involvement. Jonathan is a Vice President for Facilities, and a Past President of the Shul. Yael has co-chaired the Shul Dinners for many years, on the kiddush committee, and is active behind the scenes assisting with programming. Jonathan is also a past Treasurer of YBH.
The Pittinskys have six children, three of whom are JEC graduates: Yonah in 2010, Miriam in 2015, and Natan in 2016. Geula is a tenth grader at Bruriah, and Shoshana will be joining Bruriah’s ninth grade in the fall, after graduating eighth grade from YBH, where Shmuel is also currently enrolled.
As parents, Jonathan and Yael are wonderful role models for their children as well as for the rest of us. They have an overabundance of love for their family, their community, the Jewish people as a whole and they show it in so many ways. We are proud to honor Jonathan and Yael as JEC’s Parents of the Year.
Community Service Award
Bryan B. Fox began his career in Jewish communal service in 1975 as Fundraiser and Office Manager for P’eylim, a charity doing educational work in Israel. He has served as Social Work intern at Daughters of Israel in West Orange, Director of the South Shore Extension of the Staten Island JCC, Program and Camp Director at the Plainfield JCC and the Bayonne JCC, and as Campaign Associate for the Bayonne UJA.
Bryan moved to Elizabeth in 1975 and joined Congregation Bais Yitzchok, the Elmora Shul and the North Avenue Shul
In 1986, Bryan became the Executive Director of the YM-YWHA of Union County at a critical time in its history. Just prior the “Y” was set to close and the community rallied around in an attempt to “Save the “Y”. Though only 20 years old, the Green Lane facility was in terrible disrepair, the program was at a subsistence level and the agency had a huge debt.
During these last 32 years, Bryan’s vision for the facility saw the development of the Levenberg Camp Grounds, the Infant-Toddler playground, the Gelb Pre-School playground, the Ida Cohen play room, the Flint-Jonisch toddler rooms, the Pre-School suite, the outdoor pool, the Halbrecht Health and Fitness Center, the Kramer Health Club, renovations to the Schering pool, the Lebau Gymnasium and, most recently, the Kirshenbaum Israel Center.
Today the “Y” stands debt free and able to serve the community from its youngest members in infant care to the children in summer camp, to its oldest members in our senior adult programs. The “Y” and the JEC have had a special relationship for decades, with many joint programs and events. Bryan has been instrumental in expanding the relationship between the two entities and the entire Elizabeth/ Hillside Jewish community.
Bryan received his Bachelors from Yeshiva University and Masters of Social Work from Wurzweiler School of Social Work. He is a New Jersey State Certified School Social Worker and a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. He was President of the New Jersey Association of Jewish Center Professionals and currently serves on the board of JPRO. Bryan was Co-President of Kehilat Ohavie Zion of Wesley Hills and currently is a member of the Board of Kehillas Bais Yehudah in Wesley Hills. Bryan has lived in Elizabeth, Roselle and currently resides with his wife Debbie in Wesley Hills, NY. His children, Yony Fox and family and Elianna Markovic and family are members of our community residing respectively in Hillside and Springfield. Step-daughter Batya Sharbat and family reside in West Orange. Son, Perry Fox, lives in Manhattan and stepdaughters Shayndi and Ayala Raice live with their families in Chicago and Riverdale. Between them, Bryan and Debbie have eleven grandchildren two of whom are JEC students.
The “Y” and the community have been the beneficiaries of Bryan’s leadership for the past 32 years, and the JEC is proud to honor him with the Community Service Award.
Special Recognition of the
50th Anniversary of our 1968 graduating class
25th Anniversary of our 1993 graduating classes
10th Anniversary of our 2008 graduating classes