Meet our Honorees
- Beth and Gary Orbach
- Susannah Malen ‘91 and Noah Leibowitz
- Elana Helfgott
Beth and Gary Orbach have been devoted members of the NSHA family since they moved to Great Neck thirty years ago. There is hardly a NSHA leadership position they have not held. Beth was President of our High School PTA, Vice President of our Elementary School PTA, and chaired numerous committees. Gary has served on our Board of Directors for 14 years, chaired our Annual Dinner Celebrations, and both Beth and Gary have held positions on our Academic Boards. As a Founding Family of NSHAHS, their leadership shaped both our academics and hashkafa. The extended Orbach and Silverman families endowed the high school Israel Studies Program and dedicated one of the original Shivtei Torahs used by our high school minyanim. Their dedication to Torah and Yeshiva education has impacted each of our divisions. Gary and Beth are the proud parents of Josh and Rachel ‘09 Bouaziz, Dr. Naomi ‘11 and Michael Bouaziz, Jake ‘14, Gabriella ‘17 and Cody ‘15 Cohen, Kayla ‘19, Benji ‘21 and David (12th grade). Beth and Gary are proud grandparents to Lyla, Max and next year we welcome the second generation of Orbach students to NSHA as their granddaughter Emanuelle joins us in our Toddler class. It is a great privilege for us to honor Beth and Gary in Hakarat HaTov for their steadfast commitment to NSHA.
Susannah Malen ‘91 and Noah Leibowitz were among the first alumni families to return to Great Neck initiating a wave of second generation North Shore Hebrew Academy students. Susannah was the Community Development officer of our Board of Directors and is a member of several PTA committees, most notably as Chair of the beloved NSHA Annual Book Fair. Although she trained and worked as a lawyer, Susannah’s love of inspiring children led her to achieve her teaching credentials and, ultimately, her role at North Shore Hebrew Academy where she is currently our elementary and middle school librarian. During the Covid pandemic, she worked full time at North Shore Hebrew Academy substitute teaching in classrooms whenever needed. Noah has been a member of the board for many years serving as Legal Counsel, a role in which North Shore Hebrew Academy benefits from his distinguished expertise. Susannah’s family is a special example of multi-generational school leadership as her father Ronald served as President from 1991-1995 and her mother Michal was our school librarian and a beloved member of our faculty for 35 years. The Leibowitz children: Sarah-Kate (10th grade), Emanuel, Annica (6th grade) and Elijah (4th grade), are all active in our NSHA community as well, volunteering at the PTA Book Fair and continuing their family’s legacy of inspiring a love of reading. It is with great Hakarat Hatov that we bestow the Legacy Award honor upon Susannah Malen and Noah Leibowitz who set the benchmark for commitment to our school community.
For over twelve years Morah Elana Helfgott has led our Early Childhood program, a role in which she welcomes our youngest students and newest families to North Shore Hebrew Academy. Passionate about early childhood education and development, she transformed our earliest grades from a small group of students to the preeminent and highly sought after program it is today. Under Elana’s leadership, our Early Childhood program at NSHA develops our students into self-confident children who are deeply connected to their Jewish identities, their teachers and their community of peers. Elana partners with Early Childhood Assistant Director Adina Wertman and her team of nearly 40 Early Childhood educators to design programs that celebrate the joy of learning so that our children create indelible memories of happiness in their classrooms, setting the foundation for a lifetime of learning. She draws upon her deep professional background in Early Childhood Development including years spent teaching in the classroom, designing curriculum for the Board of Jewish Education and her prior experience as Early Childhood Director at Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation. Elana’s connection to NSHA runs deeper than her professional life. This year Elana’s extended family dedicated our newly renovated Cherry Lane multi-purpose room in honor of her brother, Gilad Kalter, z”l who was well known in the Great Neck community. This space is now in constant use for ceremonies, performance, chesed projects and plays. This is a fitting dedication to Gilad as he was well known for his simchat chayim, living a life of chesed and commitment to Jewish education and community. With gratitude we honor Elana with the Distinguished Educator Award for her dedication to furthering the mission of NSHA through her tireless work as our Early Childhood Director.