Guests of Honor
When Beth Levine ’79 and Sam Bernstein ’79 attended Frisch, it was just a few years after the school was founded.
“There were fewer than 100 students in the entire school, and we did not have many extracurricular activities,” recalled Beth. “This made for an environment where everything we did we did as a unit, and every event was schoolwide. We had a track and field team and boys’ and girls’ basketball teams. Most students would either be playing or in the stands at the games. Away games always sent buses of fans, as we all felt fiercely supportive of our team and our school. There was a lot of camaraderie between students and a lot of community and parental support for the school.”
Sam likened Frisch in its early days to being part of a startup company. “It was an indelible life lesson to experience not only the positives but also the difficulties and challenges that had to be overcome to achieve success,” he explained. “The hard work of the founders, the patience of the teachers, the rebbeim and the administration, and the financial support and volunteering of time by the community was not lost on me.”
“From the very beginning, Frisch attracted a diverse crowd of students, including a large mechinah program, and there was a powerfully inclusive feel to the school,” continued Sam. “Judaic classes were assigned by aptitude so that freshman and seniors were in classes together and maintained friendships with one another.”
Beth and Sam also have the distinction of being our very first “Cougar Couple.” Their trendsetting has launched many similar couples who married their spouses thanks to having first met as peers at Frisch.
As Frisch parents, both Beth and Sam emphasize that the feeling of inclusivity has remained, even with the school’s student body having grown in leaps and bounds.
“When we arrived with our daughter, Allie, to her high school interview, we immediately felt the warmth and happiness of everyone who was excited to be there,” said Beth. “As different as Frisch was, it was still very familiar.”
Beth and Sam’s children – Allison ’07, Kimberly ’11, and Robby ’15 – all attended Frisch.
“It was amazing to watch Frisch through each of our children’s eyes. One defining thing about today’s Frisch that really stands out to me is Shiriyah,” said Beth. “Shiriyah gives every student an opportunity to display his or her non-academic talent and is truly a unique experience. Anyone who has attended Shiriyah and roamed the halls is immediately consumed by the energy, the creativity, and the Frisch spirit that defines Shiriyah.”
The Bernsteins also highlight the many friendships they formed at Frisch that have continued to this day. “Many of the people we met at Frisch and the relationships we developed in high school are still in our lives over 30 years later, and I expect it will be the same for our children,” said Sam.
“From one perspective, we never really left Frisch,” continued Sam. “Between us, our siblings, our cousins, and our children, Frisch has played a big role in our lives at every turn. While it has certainly expanded in size, the common denominator is that it has remained the inclusive, warm and friendly place that it always has been. This is so critical during adolescent years, when children are transitioning to adulthood and forming the value system that will stay with them after they graduate.”
“Frisch helped build our strong commitment to Judaism,” explained Beth. “At Frisch, we began to develop the moral compass that guides us in our personal and professional lives. If you take your Jewish values into everything you do as parents, professionals and community members, you will make an impact in a profoundly decent way. I hope that these values we were instilled with during our time at Frisch have shown in the charity we give, the way we devote our time, and in everything we do in the greater Jewish community.”
Since they first became involved with the school, the Bernsteins have been deeply supportive of Frisch. Beth is a longtime member of the Board of Trustees and a member of its finance committee. Sam has volunteered on the athletic committee.
While the Bernsteins generally shy away from receiving communal recognition, they both feel a deep sense of loyalty to the school for its central place in their lives for so many years. Frisch is proud to recognize them as our Guests of Honor at this year’s annual dinner.
“We have a deep sense of pride in being Frisch Cougars, and we feel indebted to Frisch for being such a consistent part of our lives,” said Sam. “The role that Frisch has played in our lives and the fact that, as a student, I personally benefited from the financial support of the community. made it obvious that Beth and I would want to give back in any way we could. If we can step up and inspire others to become involved with Frisch and support the school, we are happy to do so.”
Beth is the CFO of Eos Partners, an investment management company, and Sam is a managing member at Hillside Capital Management. They live in Englewood and are members of East Hill Synagogue. Allison, who attended Columbia University, is married to Michael Fremed ’07, Kimberly recently graduated Cornell University, and Robby is a freshman at the University of Michigan after spending a year in Israel studying at Yeshivat Orayta.
The Nedivat Lev Award
From the moment she first became involved with Frisch, Patty Borodach was struck by the school’s dedicated faculty, programs and activities.
“From their first day at Frisch, my kids had every advantage, being in a serious Jewish environment with all the bells and whistles of an unparalleled high school experience,” said Patty. “Moreover, my children’s spirituality was nurtured by a Judaic Studies faculty that leads by incredible example each and every day.”
Patty’s children—Benjamin ’10, Sarah ’12, Steven ’14 and Joseph ’19—have all graduated or are currently enrolled at Frisch. Patty, a Barnard College alumna and Columbia University-educated lawyer, emphasized the plethora of opportunities available to her children. “My children who have already graduated left Frisch empowered to take their Jewish and secular studies to the next level and to become significant contributors to their respective colleges,” she described. “Furthermore, while my kids all have different learning styles and interests, Frisch encouraged all of them to become lifelong learners. I have greatly treasured watching all my kids flourish both inside and outside the classroom.”
While attending the Annual Dinner in 2008, when Ben was a sophomore, Patty was deeply impressed by the range and professionalism of Frisch activities and programs showcased at the dinner. “I knew then that I wanted to get more involved in the Frisch community,” she said.
And get involved she did. Patty has been an integral member of the Frisch Parents Association (FPA) ever since, working on countless FPA activities such as the annual freshmen brunch, Yom Ha’atzmaut barbecue, Frisch auction and other Frisch programs, like Open House, the Frisch dinner, the development committee and more. Currently, Patty is FPA Recording Vice-President.
“I am constantly energized by the devotion of the faculty and the contagious excitement of the student body,” she said. “Just being in the building and soaking in the next generation’s excitement about becoming educated, active Jews inspires me to help and support the school in any way that I can.”
While Patty is thrilled to be honored by Frisch with the Nedivat Lev award, she hopes this recognition will motivate other parents to become more involved in the Frisch community. “Whether you have an hour or much more to contribute, you can make a real difference in the lives of our students,” she declared. “It’s gratifying for students to know that their parents take time out of their schedules to help our school in any way they can. It really brings home to everyone how much this school means to the people it impacts.”
Patty and her husband, Sam, an attorney specializing in intellectual property, live in Teaneck and attend Congregation Arzei Darom. Ben is a New York University alumnus and working as a technology consultant in Manhattan. Sarah is a studying psychology at the Macaulay Honors Program at Baruch College while Steven, also a student in the Macaulay Honors Program at Baruch, is majoring in philosophy. Joseph is a sophomore at Frisch. This past summer, Ben married Talya Horne ’10, and Sarah married Aharon Hammer in November.
“Wherever I go, whether in the U.S. or Israel, I see the network that Frisch has built and the huge amount its alumni have contributed to their respective professions, communities and the world,” said Patty. “While our Frisch campus may be the epicenter, we have launched generations of spiritually-oriented and professionally successful graduates. The Frisch family is truly a source of pride and will continue to grow from strength to even greater strength.”
Alumni Recognition Award
Frisch is proud to pay tribute to David Ruditzky ’92 with the Alumni Recognition Award. As a graduate and supporter of Frisch, David not only remains connected to Frisch through his involvement, but is the epitome of a devoted husband and father, community lay leader and successful professional living the values and ideals that we are proud to embody at our yeshiva.
David grew up in Teaneck and attended the Moriah School in Englewood before arriving at Frisch. A natural athlete and big sports fan, David played on both the basketball and tennis teams, and academically, enjoyed math class the most (he remembers Mrs. Rhona Flaumenhaft, who retired last year after 25 years of teaching, very fondly).
After graduating Frisch, David attended Mevaseret Tzion in Israel and then Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business, where he majored in Accounting. As a CPA, David worked at Deloitte for three years before returning to school to obtain his MBA in Finance and Management from NYU Stern School of Business. He spent the next several years working at hedge funds, with positions at Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and then the role of CFO at Apollo Capital Management. Following that, he worked as the CFO and COO at Knighthead Capital and Nokota Management. Most recently, he launched his own consulting practice, Ruditzky Consulting.
David is married to Brenda, and they are parents to Jack, 11, and Joe, 9, both students at Yavneh Academy.
Having maintained his athleticism over the years and instilled with a healthy dose of adventure-seeking, David was recently preparing to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with several friends (Jonathan Gellis ’89, Bruce Badner ’89, and Micky Goldschmidt). “I knew it would motivate me to connect this epic climb to a cause,” explained David. “When I thought about where I might want to give, I thought about the places that have impacted me over the years, and Frisch immediately came to mind.
In his freshman year of high school, David’s beloved father, Avram Ruditzky, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at only 44 years old.
“It was a complicated time for me, and I remember a lot of teachers and friends at Frisch helping me through,” recalled David. “My class made a shiva call, and people in general were very sensitive to what I was experiencing. It felt like a real community was rallying around me.”
David tries to exemplify many of his father’s values: family, community and charity. Therefore, connecting his Kilimanjaro adventure with giving back to Frisch was a great way to unite these values.
David decided to found the Avram Ruditzky z”l Athletic Fund, which will assist those in need with sports-related expenses. “An athletic fund made a lot of sense,” said David. “I wanted to help a lot of people, and sports are such an important outlet for children that contributes so much to their personal growth and social development.”
David and his friends climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in May 2016 and raised more than $40,000 for the fund.
“What stands out about Frisch is community and teamwork, and the friendships that you create there,” said David. “Frisch was there for me when I was most vulnerable, and it’s wonderful to see it has retained that integral sense of community and compassion that I personally experienced as a student. I am so proud to lend my support to Frisch.”
We are grateful to David and his family for their support of Frisch, and proud to be associated with alumni like David who share so many of our key values.
The Rav Shlomo Kahn a”h Memorial Award
Thankfully for the hundreds of students who count Rabbi Michael Bashist as one of their favorite high school educators and mentors, Rabbi Bashist’s once-uncertain career path led him to Frisch’s doors.
“I had never planned to become a teacher, but did always love being in Torah and yeshiva settings,” explained Rabbi Bashist. “My first teaching experience was in college where I spent summers teaching Torah to college students who had only recently discovered Judaism and wanted to develop their Jewish knowledge. It was something I did only for fun, but the experience of sharing the beauty of Torah and Judaism really impacted me.”
Rabbi Bashist enrolled in Yeshiva University’s RIETS program to obtain semicha for the goal of furthering his knowledge. He served as a rabbinic intern at the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates and an assistant to the rabbi at the Young Israel of Monsey/Wesley Hills- but in 2002, was recruited to come teach at Frisch. “I viewed it as a ‘stint’ before entering the professional world, but, a couple of months into teaching here, I knew that chinuch was where I wanted to be,” said Rabbi Bashist. “I’ve been overjoyed to call Frisch my home for the past 14 years.”
“The joy and positive energy that flows through the Frisch experience is beyond what I could have imagined, and completely unlike my expectation for a high school experience,” said Rabbi Bashist.
He continued, “I feel like I’ve grown up here at Frisch. I started off as a single guy only a few years older than my students. Since I started here, I’ve B”H met and gotten married to my dear wife Debra, had children and we are blessed to raise a loving family. My students have been an integral part of sharing in life’s joys and special occasions.”
In order to maximize his ability to educate each student based on their particular learning styles and needs, Rabbi Bashist went on to receive a Master’s in Special Education from Adelphi University, with the goal He founded and directed Judaic Studies learning center,offering support and accommodations to students in Tanach and Talmud classes. He believes it is critical to empower students with differentiated skill sets and learning styles not only to succeed academically, but to become young men and women who love to learn and are able to do so independently.
Rabbi Bashist serves as a senior grade dean, creating programming like the annual visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum and hosting events, such as mishmar learning or a special kumzits, in his home. He also serves as a member of Frisch’s Department of Israel Guidance. “I partner with students who, especially in their senior year, are looking toward their futures beyond Frisch,” said Rabbi Bashist. “I try and keep that in mind and create meaningful programming for them with an eye to the future.”
In recent years, Rabbi Bashist has created a curriculum for and began teaching a senior elective on the study of chassidus. The class explores classical themes and texts in Torah from the unique and inspiring approach of Chassidic masters. Many students describe the class as a highlight of their day, which further inspires and instills within them a deeper understanding and appreciation of Torah life. Rabbi Bashist is able to build bridges and forge relationships with students that are infused with soul and spirituality which is his proudest apect of life at our yeshiva.
“I believe I’m part of an important and beautiful mesorah, and my work and passion is linking my students to that,” explained Rabbi Bashist. “At the same time, I am also a participant in the search and process of growth and exploration. It’s a journey that I am fortunate to lead in the classroom, but which my students and I also take together.”
Rabbi Bashist remains in close contact with many of his former students, celebrating and even officiating at their weddings, and serving as a regular source of guidance and inspiration as his students reach new milestones in their lives after high school. Rabbi Bashist does not think of himself as only a teacher for his students high school years, but as a lifelong rebbe. He is there for his students for advice, mentorship and guidance, an infusion of spirituality, or simply for a cup of coffee to catch up.
“One of the best things about working at Frisch is that the teachers and students work together to help form a beautiful community,” said Rabbi Bashist. “There’s a genuine kinship between teachers and students that is very rare and unique in a yeshiva high school. As an educator, I’m passionate about not only teaching students the material but instilling in my students strong skills to be independent learners. I want them to always challenge themselves to continue reaching new heights in Torah. Gemarah shiur is my medium to help achieve that goal.”
Rabbi Bashist lives with his family in Clifton, NJ. His wife, Dr. Debra Bashist, is a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Teaneck and also works as a neuropsychologist at the Kessler Rehab Institute in New Jersey . They are having a great time raising their children: Shayna, Kovi, Levi, and Mordechai.
“A big part of my immediate family’s life is Frisch,” said Rabbi Bashist. “Our home is always open for hosting students for Shabbat, yom tov, kumzitzes and mishmar. My students come back for weekday dinners during college break and to introduce us to and spend time with their fiances and eventually their own children as life goes on. I think it’s incredibly special that my own family melds and grows with my Frisch family. I feel beyond fortunate to work at Frisch and am very grateful to receive this recognition.”