Keter Torah Award
Few people fully embody Rav Pinchas Mordechai Teitz’ famous axiom to “Learn Torah, Love Torah, Live Torah” more than Rabbi Nathan Zemel, זצ"ל. For years, Rabbi Zemel delivered a shiur in the community every day after davening. Those who had the privilege to learn with him consistently remarked upon the expansive Torah knowledge Rabbi Zemel possessed, the clarity with which he delivered a shiur and the inviting warmth with which he engaged every individual.
A prominent and very successful businessman, Rabbi Zemel’s passion for Torah eclipsed all of his other pursuits. “I wanted to learn all that I could,” Rabbi Zemel once remarked. That love of learning, accompanied by a love of sharing that learning with others, lasted throughout his illustrious life. Not satisfied with accumulating knowledge for himself, Rabbi Zemel taught at the Hebrew Youth Institute and throughout the JEC community.
Rabbi Zemel was also the inspiration and driving force behind the remodeling and rededication of the JEC’s Reibel Bais Medrash. He worked with the artist designing the plans for the space, to ensure every element of the makom Torah met his exacting specifications. He was most proud that all of the materials used in the renovation and refurbishment of the space originated in Israel. The students and community members who daven in the Reibel Bais Medrash have their learning and tefeilos enhanced by Rabbi Zemel’s efforts.
Rabbi Zemel received semicha from Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalaim, as well as from Rabbi Meyer Blumenfeld of Newark. Rabbi Zemel took many advanced classes at Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and attended shiurim at Yeshivos Torah Vodaas and Chaim Berlin. He was raised in Newark, where he and his wife Marion built their family before moving to Elizabeth. Their son, Leon, is a proud 1988 JEC-RTMA alumnus.
As with everything he did, Rabbi Zemel was reticent to speak of his accomplishments and contributions. His modesty was as well known as his generosity. The impact he had on the Jewish community continues.
Rabbi Zemel’s love of learning led him to complete the Shas nine times, an amazing accomplishment. And so it is only fitting and our distinct honor to name Rav Elazar M. Teitz's Daf Yomi for Rabbi Zemel. It is a fitting tribute to a man so thoroughly immersed in Jewish education and life, a true Keter Torah.
JEC Family of the Year
The Luchins family has achieved a feat so incredible that it has never been seen before in our nearly 80-year history. All four of Chana and Meir Luchins’ sons are students in the Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy -- JEC High School. Shlomo is a graduating Senior, Aahron a Junior, Akiva a Sophomore, and Ephraim a Freshman. All four boys are on the Torah Bowl Team, work on B’Kol Rom (the student-run inter-yeshiva weekly divrei Torah publication) and are part of the model beis din.
Individually, Shlomo is Editor in Chief of B’Kol Rom, the yeshiva’s baal korai, and also participates in the mock trial and college bowl team. Aharon is Managing Editor of B’Kol Rom. Akiva is a member of the chess and college bowl teams and is heavily involved with the school’s amazing SciTech STEM program. And in addition to Torah Bowl, Ephraim is also involved in the school’s SciTech STEM program.
Not to be forgotten, Zahava, the youngest Luchins child is currently in the second grade at RPRY where she is already recruiting classmates to join her in being part of Bruriah’s graduating class of 2029!
Chana Stein and Meir Luchins met and married in 1999. They shared a similar commitment to Torah learning, fundamental values for raising a family, and community engagement. As the eldest daughter of a shul rabbi and rebbetzen, Rabbi Reuven and Shoshana Stein, Chana was privileged to be raised in a family with deep educational, rabbinic and Torah.
Meir, son of Dr. David and Vivian Luchins, grew up in Pelham Parkway in The Bronx, NY. Meir’s home was a bastion of chesed, constantly filled with guests and deeply embedded in work for the klal and the wider Jewish community.
When Chana and Meir began their search for a great high school for their oldest child, Shlomo, they were looking for a school that would fit their family hashkafically and educationally. The JEC exceeded their expectations.
Chana is currently RPRY’s Assistant Principal of General Studies and Meir is part of the Louis Berger Group’s team building the new Terminal 1 at Newark Airport.
The Luchins are truly the JEC’s Family of the Year.
Lifetime Educational Achievement
Few people merit to teach for a half century, even fewer are able to do it at the same school. Throughout the past fifty years at the JEC Rabbi Moshe Snow has taught, guided and influenced the lives of thousands of students, maintaining a strong personal relationship with many of them long after graduation. Although every talmid is precious, there is nothing quite as special to Rabbi Snow as the opportunity to educate the children of former talmidim. Rabbi Snow is the embodiment of transmission of Torah knowledge and Jewish values midor l'dor, from generation to generation.
Rabbi Snow’s closer personal connection with every student is evidenced in their continued and ongoing relationships. It is not at all uncommon for former students to call Rabbi Snow to ask questions, seek guidance, or just to talk. This is a reflection of the special bond that is formed in a rebbe-talmid relationship that is based on mutual respect and a sincere devotion to the interests in every individual’s growth. Rabbi Snow’s erudition, breadth of knowledge, keen insight and personal warmth are just some of the reasons that after a half century his hashkafa classes are among the most sought after in the yeshiva.
A student of the revered Rav Moshe Feinstein, זצ"ל, Rabbi Snow received smicha at Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim before beginning his career in education at the Jewish Educational Center. Rabbi Snow also served as principal of the Morris County High School for Jewish Studies for twenty-two years, as well as Youth Director, Associate Rabbi, and currently Rabbi of the Young Israel Beth-El of Borough Park. Rabbi Snow holds a BA in Sociology from Brooklyn College, and continued his graduate education at Long Island University.
Rabbi Snow credits his wife, Syma, for his successes in chinuch noting that her support for his endeavors and the opening of their home to students, fostered the development of healthy, meaningful relationships that stay strong long after students graduate.
We are proud to present to Rabbi Moshe Snow the Lifetime Educational Achievement Award.
Anyone who has ever received the coveted moniker “Dodobird” from Mrs. Susan Weinstein knows that he is among the cherished students of this beloved veteran teacher. Mrs. Weinstein has been teaching at the JEC for 42 years. She has taught all grades and levels of middle and high school English, as well as AP English. Aside from her warmth and genuine love for her students, Mrs. Weinstein has earned her reputation as the “Grammar Queen,” and the rest of the faculty approach her when they have a question pertaining to grammar or writing. Students from past years have continuously thanked her for teaching them how to write and ask her to proofread their college essays.
Mrs. Weinstein originally hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she received her teaching degree from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She married her husband while he was serving in the U.S. Army and accompanied him to Germany as a newlywed. Prior to her marriage, she taught in public schools in Milwaukee, WI and Syracuse, NY, and, upon returning from Germany, she taught in a public school in Baltimore, MD. Eventually, she settled in Elizabeth, NJ, where she has taught ever since. She and her husband have been married for 49 years and are looking forward to celebrating their 50th anniversary next year, b’ezrat Hashem.
All of Mrs. Weinstein’s children are alumni of the JEC/Bruriah, and one of her daughters teaches English down the hall from her at the JEC. If one were to ask Mrs. Weinstein what her priority in life is, she would answer without hesitation: her family.
Through changing times, students, administrators, and grade levels, Mrs. Weinstein is the anchor, consistently providing an exceptional education to her students. She has devoted the better part of her life to the JEC and her students, making herself available to help with proctoring, editing school publications, writing recommendations, and other student and school-related needs.
The JEC has been very blessed to have Mrs. Weinstein teach for over four decades, and it is with bitter-sweet emotions that the entire school community joins in wishing her the very best in her upcoming retirement. It is with a profound sense of pride and happiness that we bestow upon her the title of first-ever JEC Laureate.