Schechter Chai-lights is a monthly newsletter for parents of alumni, alumni, current families, and friends of Schechter connecting you to all things SSLI, the latest news, events and more.
We hope you will share your thoughts and stories with us.
December 18, 2021 / 14 Tevet 5782
In this month’s Chai-Lights we hear from our Lower School Administrator (Boaz Tomsky) and one of our College Guidance counselors (Mark Kowalsky) about their work with our students. Their columns remind us of the essential role of our staff in educating our students. Truthfully at SSLI, all our administrators are simultaneously educators. Many (myself and Ofra included) teach classes, but even those who don’t are integral to the educational experience of our students. I think sometimes our staff get short shrift in our appreciation, and so I am glad to have this chance to thank them for their significant contributions.

Speaking of significant contributions of our administration, there are few who have given as much as Eileen Bohrer, who (as most of you likely know) has just recently left her position as Director of Institutional Advancement at Schechter. Eileen also served for many years as our Executive Director. We greatly appreciate her many contributions over the years to our community and wish her much success in her upcoming endeavors.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a restful winter break. I hope you are able to decompress a bit, enjoy your families and friends, and stay healthy and safe!

Dr. Scott Sokol, Head of School

Although I have already met and spoken with many of you, I would like to take this opportunity to reintroduce myself and to share some of my roles and responsibilities as the Lower School Administrator. My primary role is to oversee grades K-5 and to be the point person for you in anything that your family and your child may need. Although I do have a desk in the main office, I prefer to be in the classrooms, where I can interact and work with the students directly. I have since gotten to know each of the students and how to provide support in their academic development. In addition, I am also responsible for addressing student behavior and disciplinary matters as they may arise throughout the course of the day.
In the past few months, I have been observing and evaluating the overall curriculum and educational program in the school. My goal is that each of our students are learning and reaching their fullest potential in both their Judaic and general studies classes. To strive towards this goal, I work with the teachers to implement best practices in engaging students in differentiated instruction. By focusing on each individual child, we create an academic program tailored to their specific academic goals.
In addition, I am responsible for providing continual professional development to our lower school faculty. At our recent professional development day, we focused on the six core values of Schechter and some strategies for its implementation both inside and outside of the classroom. Together with Leora Cohen, we discussed how to implement our core values throughout the school day. Our goal is to continue to strengthen these values and build a positive, collaborative, growth mindset throughout the school.
As the Lower School Administrator, I want you to know that my door is always open for you and your family as your child's success and happiness is my main priority. If you have any questions about the upcoming year, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at your convenience. I can be reached via email at or my phone at 516-539-3700 ext. 1203.
Dr. Boaz Tomsky, Lower School Administrator
L’Dor V’dor - Carrying the Torch
L’Dor V’Dor means simply - “Generation to Generation”. Through the concept of L’Dor V’Dor, parents pass on wisdom and traditions to their children so that they will continue through the generations.

We would like to celebrate and welcome back to Schechter Long Island;
Heather Kaplan Egert with her son Noah to our Gan,
Melody Shenassa Schor with her son Joshua to our Gan,
Ariele Goodman Sabet with her sons Max & Lev to our First Grade,

You are planting the seeds for future generations, seeds of love and hope, seeds of tradition and seeds of love of Judaism. We are thrilled to have you back!
Alumni Highlight
I graduated from Solomon Schechter Long Island in 2007 and went to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. I was accepted during my sophomore year of college to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai through the Humanities in Medicine program—an initiative to recruit people with non-science majors into medicine. I went on to complete Internal Medicine Residency and a fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Bone Diseases at Mount Sinai. I am working as an Endocrinologist at Mount Sinai Morningside in Manhattan where I treat patient with diabetes, thyroid disorders, and have a special interest in women’s health. 

I am so lucky to have met my husband, Jordan Bass (class of 2007), at Schechter and we have been together since 2006! We have identical twin daughters, Ella Zosia and Julia Rose who are turning 3 this month. 

During the pandemic, I started a company in memory of my beloved father, Mark Ramer z”l, called The Challah Box which delivers pre-measured ingredients to bake challah at home along with detailed instructions. It’s been really fun to spread joy and love for Jewish tradition through the activity and mitzvah of challah baking. 

I thank my wonderful parents and grandparents for my strong Jewish identity and love for Israel and am grateful for my Jewish education at Schechter. I made lifelong friends at Schechter with whom I have traveled and celebrated many happy occasions over the years.

Schechter gave us all the most kind, patient, and fun-loving atmosphere to spend our formative years.

Ilana Ramer Bass (SSLI '07) 
Where are you and what are you doing? Who got a new job, who moved? 
Who got engaged, married, or had a baby? Who ran into a fellow alumni unexpectedly?

Email your info.
Lower School News

Nursing homes can be difficult places. Residents have no control when or what they eat, when, and if they can go outside and must rely on staff for their every need.

Due to COVID-19, nursing home residents are allowed no visitors and most of their recreation programs have been suspended. The social isolation and loneliness they are feeling are painful and unprecedented.

The Schechter Lower School created 86 “Kindness Cards” (see pictures below). They did this with Ms. Markacs, the Schechter School art teacher. They are being delivered to Brandywine Senior Living Center in Little Neck.

First grade has been learning what it means to be a friend. We partnered up and interviewed a fellow classmate. We got to know all about who they are. We found out so much information that we didn’t know. It was so much fun. We had a class discussion about what makes a good friend and each of us came up with “A FRIEND IS….”
These are some of the responses. We hope you enjoy reading them.
And remember,
Middle School Updates
The middle school drama program is still seeking performers for our Spring 2022 production of Matilda the Musical! After two years underground (the 2020 and 2021 musicals were streamed remotely), in-person drama returns to Schechter middle school. The performances will be held on May 19 and 22, 2022. If you are interested in helping out with any aspect of the production—acting, designing, set construction, stage management, or publicity—contact Mr. Pitt Stoller.

The middle school trivia club is gearing up for the American Scholastic Achievement League's 2022 Scholastic Challenge. For over twenty years, ACAL has offered this nationwide trivia challenge for middle schoolers to earn certificates, medals, trophies, and (most important) glory for themselves and their schools. The trivia contest is held remotely in January, with students logging in via laptop and sending in their answers before the clock runs out. Stay tuned for updates on the students' performance in the challenge!
News From The College Counseling Office
Schechter seniors have been quite busy this fall semester completing their college applications and working closely with Art Mandel and Mark Kowalsky to present themselves in the most positive light to many of the most selective colleges in the country. They have received the exceptional, personal, and one on one counseling that our students always receive each year. Colleges admire our students for their strong academic performance in our rigorous dual curriculum school and their highly polished time management skills where they can balance academics with family obligations, religious observances, and extracurricular activities.

When Covid hit, and schools needed to close and try to continue instruction through online platforms, Schechter students shined by immediately transitioning to zoom classes, following their normal schedules, and receiving instruction at the same high level as they would during normal in school learning. Schechter never missed a beat, and colleges admired our students and faculty and were confident that applicants coming through their admissions process were strong and extremely well qualified. During a worldwide pandemic that upended many schools, our graduating class of 2021 did exceptionally well, being admitted to the most competitive schools in the country such as Princeton University, The University of Chicago, The University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, the University of Michigan and Emory University. Our class of 2022 will also soar with many achievements and many admirable college acceptances and scholarship offerings.

During this month of December, usually the middle of the month, students who applied Early Decision to schools will be notified about admissions decisions. Students who applied Early Action will start to hear back from schools in January and later. And, students who apply Regular Decision, where deadlines are usually in early January and later, will hear results in late March and early April.

The pandemic has significantly affected the college admissions process. Most colleges have gone “Test Optional.” College admissions counselors have been retrained to review applications “Holistically,” taking into account and into consideration that schools may not be functioning as well as during normal times. With campuses being closed for in-person campus visits and information sessions, colleges have developed extensive virtual programming options.

But through it all, our students have had continuous instruction and high-level advising and guidance. Schechter students and staff always shine!

As we begin to work with our big and bold current junior class through the college admissions/research process, we look forward to ongoing outstanding college acceptances for the class of 2023.

Mark Kowalsky, College Counselor/Guidance Counselor
From the SSLI Student Government
Whether it’s selling snacks at the wing, or running Hanukkah workshops, the High School Student Government works diligently to prepare and execute exciting programs for our students. The Executive Student Government, President Meira Duflter, Vice President Avi Soussan, Secretary Zoë Amram, and Treasurer Jordan Vogel, work at the core of the student government. The four of them work together to develop ideas and bring them to fruition. The Cabinet members, Programming Chair Talia Bidner, Internal Affairs Chair Lily Weissberg, and Spirit Chair Kayla Lerner, assist the executive board in their respective areas and help out in any way that the executive board needs. Twelfth Grade Representatives Milla Zabib and Avital Aaron, Eleventh Grade Representatives Yael Gabbaizadeh and Boaz Ginzburg, Tenth Grade Representatives Summer Walters and Spencer Hoberman, and Ninth Grade representatives Hannah Fineman and Elinor Schlissel, serve as the bridge between the student body and the executive government to ensure that the voices of all students are heard and communicated. 

In addition to the numerous events like Hanukkah workshops, Fall food fundraisers, and the all-school retreat, the student government is also working on upcoming events. Last Saturday night, the student government hosted a movie night for all high school students. And in a few weeks, the student government will be hosting a spike ball tournament/paint night. Students will have the opportunity to bond with members of their own grade, and other grades, and will have the option of either playing spike ball or painting. We look forward to seeing everyone there and enjoying the exciting programs that are ahead!
SSLI Sports & Athletics
Schechter Lions are not hibernating this winter. 

Winter sports at Schechter include:
  • Varsity Boys Basketball, coached by Dyaln Stephenson,
  • JV Boys Hockey, coached by Josh Jurysta,
  • JV Girls Basketball, coached by Sam Kahn,
  • 5th Grade Boys Basketball, coached by Howie Seidman,
  • 5th & 6th Grade Girls Basketball, Coached by Howie Seidman.
Coach Howie Seidman is busy teaching and coaching the 5th and 6th graders how to play basketball on a team.

Coach Siedman explained that both teams have students at all ability levels. His plan is to teach a zone defense, rather than man to man. Coach explained that in a zone defense, if the zone breaks down there is always someone else to cover. This will get them ready for High School basketball, he sees it as a stepping stone to Varsity playing.

The High School has already begun league play and both basketball teams are cleaning up. The 5th and 6th grade teams will begin league play in January.  

Stay tuned for January edition of Schechter Chai Lites for sports updates.

SSLI High School Spring Musical To Celebrate 20 Years at the LI Children’s Museum
This year’s Spring Musical will be a retrospective show celebrating the past 20 years of performances at the Long Island Children’s Museum. The concept is to have Schechter alumni reprise their great songs from past shows. Current high school Drama Club members will be hosting this special production, as emcees, ensemble players, and more. Participants will be getting the backtracks and they will rehearse on their own. Saturday night March 26th at the LICM, we will gather for a run-thru.

Mark your calendars, This is going to be a spectacular production!
NEWS from Admissions
The past month has been a busy time for Admissions, Recruitment, and Community Engagement. We have had a steady stream of interest from prospective families and have been conducting school tours on a daily basis showing off the amazing academic programs we have in our elementary, middle, and high schools. Several applications for Schechter’s 2022-23 Gan class have been submitted as well as a few others for our elementary school grades. Some of the interest has come from our very own Schechter alumnae who are now grown up and have young children of their own. It has been wonderful welcoming these “grown-up” alumnae back and partnering with them to bring their young children into our school.
Chanukah was also fun with two community engagement events taking place where our adorable and talented Schechter elementary school choir, the Schechter AriNotes went on the road and performed Chanukah songs in Hebrew and English for audiences outside of our Schechter community. More than 100 preschool students at Shorashim Preschool at Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation enjoyed a sing-a-long outdoors with the AriNotes, Dr. Sokol, and Mrs. Stern and each Shorashim preschooler brought home a special Chanukah gift bag and note from Schechter to share with their parents/families. Schechter partnered and celebrated the last night of Chanukah with several other area synagogues at the Sid Jacobson JCC for a Community “Light Up The Night” Program where our AriNotes entertained and dazzled the more than 300 attendees at this festive outdoor community Chanukah program.  Thank you to the many Schechter families who participated.

Enrollment Applications for 2022/23 are now available. Please click HERE. For any questions, please contact Lori Kantorowitz, Director for Recruitment and Engagement at 516.516-539-3700 ext. 1108 or email
This month @Schechter LI

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Mazal Tov
Mazal Tov to Heather & Seth Egert on the birth of Beau Miller born December 4, 2021 (7lbs 10oz).
Mazal tov as well to big brother Noah (SSLI '34).

Mazal Tov to Natalie Orena and Adi Ramer (SSLI '08) who were married on November 20, 2021.
This month's tributes:
In Honor/ In Memory

If you would like to honor a person's memory or mark a celebration with a contribution to Schechter LI, you may make an online donation, or send your donation to the Development Office. The family will be notified of your contribution.
To discuss making a donation to Schechter LI, please email Elizabeth Kahn, Director of Institutional Advancement to or call 516.935.1441 ext.1131.