Meet our Honorees

Guests of Honor

Bart Baum and Dr. Emma Laskin have been cornerstones of the North Shore Hebrew Academy for more than twenty years. As one of the Founding Families of our high school, the Baum family has supported the vision of building a yeshiva founded in academic excellence and Torah values. They have not only contributed resources, but have also provided the community leadership needed to realize this vision.

Bart and Emma are well known in the Great Neck community and beyond for their dedication to chesed and support of the State of Israel, always quietly rolling up their sleeves for any individual or organization that calls upon them. Their deep commitment to the success of NSHA and its mission is evident in the countless hours they dedicate to our school. Emma is a former member of our Board of Directors, and Bart has served on our Board of Directors for nearly two decades, first as a Finance Officer and now as Executive Vice President.

In addition to their involvement at North Shore Hebrew Academy, Bart and Emma are leaders at the Great Neck Synagogue. Bart is Executive Vice President of the board and the Chairman of the youth department. Emma has served on the GNS board and has lent her knowledge as a child and adolescent psychiatrist towards the success of the youth department.

The life of Torah that Bart and Emma have created is evident in their children. Esther ‘20 is a former member of the Israel Defense Forces and is currently a student at the University of Maryland. Sophie ‘21, an accomplished equestrian, founded Students Supporting Israel at the College of Charleston where she is studying. Jakob ‘25 is a mentor for Great Neck Synagogue youth leaders and is a key player on the NSHA varsity hockey and baseball teams.

It is an honor to recognize Emma and Bart at this year’s Annual Dinner Celebration, which is centered around NSHA’s love for Israel and pride in Jewish advocacy, as they have played an essential role in supporting the programs and mission of Torat Yisrael at NSHA.

NSHA Alumni Advocating for Israel on College Campuses and Beyond

While our IDF soldiers battle on the front lines in Gaza and the north, our alumni in the United States have found themselves in the midst of existential battles for Jews on college campuses and on social media which have become hotspots of anti-semitism.  It is no surprise that among the firestorms of anti-semitism, our NSHA alumni have emerged as vocal leaders of the Pro-Israel movement nationally:  

This Fall we opened the New York Times to see a powerful Op-ed co-authored by Talia Dror ‘21 about the anti-semitism, including death threats, experienced by the Jewish community at Cornell University. This led to Talia’s powerful testimony in Congress and a subsequent media tour to advocate for safer campuses for Jewish students. As an officer of Cornellians for Israel, Talia’s efforts have put anti-semitism on campus in critical focus resulting in action on the governmental level. NSHA is proud that Talia has drawn upon her experiences as a student leader and debater at NSHA to further the Pro-Israel movement in highly visible and impactful ways.

Initially a social media personality with a focus on the NBA, Emily Austin ‘19 felt compelled to use her platform, where she reaches over two million followers, to combat the anti-Israel rhetoric that has flooded social media. She now dedicates her social media account to educating the public about Israel, the holocaust and giving a platform to survivors of the October 7th attack and the families of hostages. She is a frequent guest on news outlets where she fiercely debates against anti-Israel rhetoric. Most recently Emily returned to NSHA to provide words of strength and encouragement to our NSHA students about the power of their voices and talents in a world that has grown increasingly hostile to Israel supporters.

As students at New York University, Adam Goldman ‘17 and Kayla Hutt ‘21 have been at the forefront of the pro-Israel movement on campus.  After a pro-Israel article authored by Kayla for the main NYU student publication went unpublished, Kayla and Adam, former classmates at NSHA, teamed up to establish their own publication called the NYU Review which is dedicated to promoting free speech on campus.  It has been an important media outlet in supporting the pro-Israel movement on NYU’s campus which has seen intense anti-Israel demonstrations from students, faculty and the NYU community.  Kayla and Adam rely on their bonds established at NSHA, along with their leadership and communication skills, to ensure that students in support of Israel are heard and seen on campus and beyond.

NSHA Alumni who are Currently or who Have Previously Served in the IDF Represented by Esther Baum '20

Whether in prayer, action or thought, our goal at NSHA is to instill the mission value of Torat Yisrael, a dedication and love for the land of Israel and the Jewish nation, into our 1100+ students. There is no prouder feeling than seeing one of our graduates enlist in the Israel Defense Forces and take action to protect the State of Israel and Jewry worldwide. Among our alumni we have a medical officer, team commanders, search and rescue specialists and more.

On October 7th, the magnitude of the mission of the IDF came sharply into focus and our students across all four of our campuses dedicate time each day to pray for the success and safety of our alumni serving in the IDF and all of the chayalim. These last several months our administration has had the opportunity to visit some of our alumni chayalim on their army bases. They are a source of immense pride for our entire NSHA community. At this year’s dinner we honor our alumni currently serving and those who have served in the past.  

Esther Baum ‘20 who served in the IDF search and rescue unit will represent our alumni IDF soldiers.