Mr. Eitan and Mrs. Malki Katz
Inspirational Leadership award
Eitan Katz joined YGW’s Yeshiva Gedolah in 2002 and continued his studies in our Kollel after marrying Malki. Already an accomplished musician, his learning was both the basis and the inspiration to share his connection to Yiddishket with others as explained in this biographical excerpt from his website:
His heartfelt music may have propelled him to the upper echelons of the Jewish music business, but for Eitan Katz, music isn’t about fame, popularity or business. A gift from above that allows each of us to connect with the sparks of holiness that lie deep within ourselves, Eitan sees music as a powerful motivator that fills us with simcha, infuses our lives with spirituality and connects people of all types in an emotional experience like none other.
A member of an extremely musical family, Eitan discovered that he had not just a love of music, but the talent as well. Spending his childhood moving back and forth between Los Angeles and Israel, Eitan was exposed to a wide variety of music from his earliest days. During his high school years, Eitan found himself gravitating towards the music of R’ Shlomo Carlebach which resonated deep within him and prompted him to take up the guitar, an instrument that instantly felt like it belonged in his hands. By age 16 Eitan had written his first original song, the precursor to many heartfelt compositions that brought the words of davening and Tanach to life in unprecedented ways.
Eitan, has continued to learn in yeshiva throughout his musical career and he credits his learning for being the inspiration for his music. He travels throughout the United States, spending Shabbosos in different Jewish communities, leading the davening, sharing divrei Torah and ending Shabbos with a moving concert/kumzitz. Balancing his many musical endeavors is no small task and Eitan is hard at work on his next album, Pure Simcha, while his live band continues to delight wedding goers everywhere. Eitan’s musicians typically play together at most affairs and as a cohesive group they achieve an unbeatable synchronicity. Eitan prides himself on leading an orchestra that is merely the vehicle for the inherent simcha at every wedding, never the star of the show but rather the all important backdrop that sets the stage for an event that is all about holiness-infused happiness.
Being able to switch seamlessly from kumzitz mode to the simcha spirit comes naturally to Eitan who believes that when music comes from a place that is pure and true, expressing it in different ways is effortless. For Eitan, it’s all about the beauty of music, about taking something that comes from the heart and sharing it with others, so that it touches their hearts as well, a lesson that he learned from his father and one that he hopes to pass down to future generations.
Eitan currently learns at Yeshiva Shor Yoshuv. He and his wife Malki reside in Far Rockaway, New York with their five, ka’h, children.
From EitanKatz.com by Sandy Eller
Dr. Marc & Mrs. Debbie Katz
Community Leadership Award
Providing communal leadership to the Greater Washington Jewish community is an expression of Marc and Debbie’s commitment to supporting a healthy Jewish future.
Raised and educated in suburban Washington, DC, Marc received his professional degree in Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University in 1977. Since 1978, when Debbie and Marc moved to Silver Spring, Marc spent his professional career at Kindness Animal Hospital, first as an associate veterinarian and then as the practice owner. He is now semi-retired and chooses to immerse himself in Torah study, while staying active in community service and family life. A proud Ba’al Teshuva of over 40 years, Marc is a member of the Kemp Mill Daf Yomi Group. He is also an avid biker, and has completed many multi-day tzedakah bike-a-thons in Israel and the US. Marc has also recently taken a leadership role in helping to organize the Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington Mitzvah Bike Ride.
Debbie was raised in a religious home in small East Coast communities where there were few other observant Jews. From her parents, both Holocaust survivors, she learned that strong Jewish education and community participation were affirmations of Jewish life. After completing her education degree at The Ohio State University in 1976, Debbie taught chemistry, physics and mathematics at the high school level. In subsequent years, she served as the Director of Young Israel Shomrai Emunah (YISE) Nursery School, YISE Youth Director, and was co-Director of Sulam, retiring in 2013. A parenting educator since 2009, Debbie helps parents develop their parenting philosophy and skills. When not working for the community, Debbie fills her days with family, extended family, and friends as well as attending Torah classes.
Marc and Debbie’s belief in the centrality of Jewish community life is the thread that runs through all their volunteer efforts. They view their involvement as a cherished responsibility, driven by a fervent love for their community and its members. With deep appreciation for the shul as the foundation of a vibrant community, Marc brings his business and administrative acumen to his efforts as a perennial volunteer at Young Israel Shomrai Emunah. Marc has served innumerable roles there, from Board member to Banquet Chair to Treasurer, distinguishing himself by completing two terms as President, from 1991-1993 and from 2012-2014. His devotion to the shul, coupled with his no-nonsense approach, make him a “go-to” person for many special projects at YISE. Marc is also presently on the Board of Directors at the Yeshiva of Greater Washington.
Debbie has a deep understanding of the primary role of education in the Jewish community. She brings her academic expertise to her involvement in local Jewish education in all its forms. Debbie has served as Chair of the YISE Nursery School committee, Chair of the YISE Youth Committee as well as the Education Committee Chair at the Hebrew Academy. She has also been a Board member at YISE and YGW. Debbie has helped coordinate the Kemp Mill based Yom HaShoah v’Hagvurah commemoration since the early 1980s. She currently chairs the Disability Inclusion Committee at YISE and has leadership roles at Yad Yehuda and Sulam.
Marc and Debbie are proud supporters of the Yeshiva of Greater Washington. All four of their sons have been students at the Yeshiva with their youngest son, Benjy, having graduated in 2012. The boys received a wonderful grounding in Torah education and have formed lasting relationships with friends and Rabbeim. The Katzes believe that YGW provides stability, legitimacy, and authenticity to the Greater Washington Jewish community.
Marc and Debbie are the parents and in-laws of Josh and Sara, Rafi, Ezra and Nechama, and Benjy and Chaviva. They are proud grandparents to Zachary, Arik, Michoel Leib and Yosef Meir.
Adapted from the honoree biography provided in the 2014 banquet journal for the Greater Washington Community Kollel Banquet, with permission from Rabbi Menachem Winter.
Rabbi Yehoshua Berman
Torah Dissemination AwarD
Rabbi Yehoshua Berman (class of 2000) came to YGW in 10th grade, drawn by the unique educational opportunity that the Yeshiva provides. Powerfully motivated by Rabbi Tzvi Teitelbaum and Rabbi Dovid Hyatt, carefully guided and cultivated by Rabbi Gedaliah Anemer, Z”TL, and ultimately becoming deeply bound to Rabbi Ahron Lopiansky, Rabbi Berman found his spiritual home in the citadel of Torah that YGW provides. By 11th grade, Josh, as he was known then, became a prominent fixture in the Beis Medrash, learning with Yeshiva Gedolah bochurim, classmates, or on his own. It served as the propelling force as he continued his Torah studies, post-graduation, at Yeshivas Toras Moshe, and then later at Yeshivas Mir, in Yerushalayim. Rabbi Berman’s life-trajectory and accomplishments are due to the solid foundation that he gained in YGW.
In 2004, Rabbi Berman married Elliana, nee Marmor, originally of Toronto Canada, whose family had made Aliyah in 2001. An alumnus of Bais Yaakov High School of Toronto, Machon Bnos Yehuda (BYA) in Yerushalayim, and Michlelet Ofakim, Mrs. Berman, is a true ezer-k’negdo, akeres bayis, and full partner in her husband’s diverse spiritual and social endeavors. The proud parents of Chana, Shmuel Yitzchak, Basya, Tzivya Ahuva, and Yaakov Yehuda, Rabbi & Mrs. Berman live in the vibrant community of Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.
Currently serving as joint Rosh Kollel of a morning Daf Yomi Kollel in Ramat Bet Shemesh, contributing regularly to Hamodia and other Jewish media outlets, giving frequent public lectures, as well as publishing works that cover a wide range of topics, Rabbi Berman is effectively utilizing his talents to benefit others. In addition to his role as Torah scholar and teacher, Rabbi Berman is an ardent social activist. As founder and director of Lamdenu, an organization committed to fostering children’s personal safety and addressing other communal challenges through education and awareness in the orthodox Jewish Community, Rabbi Berman’s commitment to social welfare is a daily part of his life.