What’s Happening?

Silver Learnings: Laurel Dreskin

4 comments

These past 15 months, no matter how “hard” or “easy” any of us had it, we’ve learned a lot. Good stuff even. Our learning, you could say, has been one of the pandemic’s silver linings. To acknowledge some of those Silver Learnings, we’ve invited friends from different walks of life to share what they’ve learned from the pandemic. Our guess is you’ll hear some voices that sound like your own, and some that offer a window into a world you’ve not known but from which we can all now learn.

 


 

Laurel Dreskin is a kindergarten teacher working in Bangkok, Thailand. She moved across the world to follow her dreams to teach in Thailand. Laurel has a passion for teaching young children through hands-on learning and collaborative play. She’s Ellen and Billy’s niece.

*          *          *

Laurel Dreskin

I found it so difficult to write this because I thought that I’m not special nor important so why would someone want to read what I have to say, but I realized that maybe if I wrote about my experience that others could find a connection in their own life.

I began my journey to Thailand in July 2019 after just finishing my undergrad in Tallahassee, Florida. I would have never expected to be living on the complete opposite side of the world far away from my family and friends, the people who mean the world to me, but this is just where my journey begins.

I’ve been living in Thailand for two years going strong but that doesn’t mean I haven’t faced challenges along the way. To the eye, I might seem like a strong and independent young woman, but on the inside I have many weaknesses too. First off, moving to a place where you know absolutely nobody and, second, the language. I did not learn Thai before moving here. Call me crazy but now. looking back. I am glad I didn’t learn how to speak the language prior to moving here.

BillySilver Learnings: Laurel Dreskin
read more

June Campaign: Final three days … plenty of time to make that gift!

No comments

We’re rounding third and heading for home! Please help us fund the next six months of grants by donating during these last three days of our June campaign, Silver Learnings. Your gift is what empowers us to act in Jonah’s name and do the good in the world that he might himself have done. Thank you for partnering with us to turn love into action.

Silver Learnings has brought words to us all from folks who’ve lived alongside us throughout the pandemic. They may be students, professionals, entertainers, living here or abroad, but they all have written down what they believe to be some of the lessons they’ve learned from all of this. Life has become more precious having seen so much sadness and loss. Now it’s time to lift each other up and get the world back on its feet again. Silver Learnings is our contribution to that effort.

BillyJune Campaign: Final three days … plenty of time to make that gift!
read more

Silver Learnings: Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman

3 comments

These past 15 months, no matter how “hard” or “easy” any of us had it, we’ve learned a lot. Good stuff even. Our learning, you could say, has been one of the pandemic’s silver linings. To acknowledge some of those Silver Learnings, we’ve invited friends from different walks of life to share what they’ve learned from the pandemic. Our guess is you’ll hear some voices that sound like your own, and some that offer a window into a world you’ve not known but from which we can all now learn.

 


 

Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman

Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman has been the spiritual leader of Larchmont Temple in Larchmont, NY, for more than thirty years. Rabbi Sirkman fosters a face-to-face faith, cherishes the gift of Torah, affirms the importance of developing a relationship with the Jewish State. He has served as Chair of the Program Advisory Committee for URJ Eisner Camp, the Admissions Committee of HUC-JIR, and teaches 5th year rabbinic and cantorial students at HUC-JIR. Ordained by HUC-JIR in 1987, he received his B.A. in Religion and his M.A. in Theology with a Certificate in Modern Jewish Thought from Boston University. Rabbi Sirkman lost his wife Susan (z”l) to cancer, is the proud father of their four wonderful children, Aaron, Alexander, Gabriel (Chelsea) and Sophie, and adores his grandson, Sawyer. He’s also Billy Dreskin’s best friend!

*          *          *

As a Reform rabbi who’s spent over three decades in congregational life, I’ve often talked of renaming Reform — an insufficient descriptor for our denomination — to Punim-to-Punim [from the Yiddish, “face-to-face”] Judaism. Rabbi Larry Kushner once said, “We are a hopelessly communal people.” More precisely, I believe, we are a ridiculously relational people. Being together makes being Jewish happen. But what happens when we can’t be together?

BillySilver Learnings: Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman
read more

Silver Learnings: Juliet Wishner

No comments

These past 15 months, no matter how “hard” or “easy” any of us had it, we’ve learned a lot. Good stuff even. Our learning, you could say, has been one of the pandemic’s silver linings. To acknowledge some of those Silver Learnings, we’ve invited friends from different walks of life to share what they’ve learned from the pandemic. Our guess is you’ll hear some voices that sound like your own, and some that offer a window into a world you’ve not known but from which we can all now learn.


Juliet Wishner

Juliet Wishner grew up in Billy’s congregation and is dedicating her life to creating social change in America and Israel/Palestine. After graduating from Ardsley High School (Ardsley, NY) she studied international studies and sociology at the University of Michigan, completing her studies in 2020. She firmly believes that through creating connections and relationships, we can form a long-lasting shared society.

*          *          *

When I told people I was moving to Israel for nine-months in the midst of a global pandemic, they looked at me as if I was crazy — what on earth would convince me to do this? I am here as a part of a program called Yahel Social Change Fellowship. We work in two cities, Rishon Letzion and Lod, with marginalized communities that lack resources in many sectors.

BillySilver Learnings: Juliet Wishner
read more

Silver Learnings: Paul Feiner

No comments

These past 15 months, no matter how “hard” or “easy” any of us had it, we’ve learned a lot. Good stuff even. Our learning, you could say, has been one of the pandemic’s silver linings. To acknowledge some of those Silver Learnings, we’ve invited friends from different walks of life to share what they’ve learned from the pandemic. Our guess is you’ll hear some voices that sound like your own, and some that offer a window into a world you’ve not known but from which we can all now learn.

 


 

Paul Feiner

Paul Feiner has been the Town Supervisor in Greenburgh, New York, for 30 years. He’s married to attorney Sherrie Brown with whom he shares a wonderful daughter, Julia.

*          *          *

During the pandemic, as Town Supervisor my major concern has been to keep services in the town operational, and to make sure that employees knew that we were concerned about them. Any employee who had major medical issues was able to work from home. To keep employees safe during the initial months of Covid, we rotated days when employees would come in. We were worried that if one person got sick everyone in the department would have to be isolated, so we kept half at home at different times.

BillySilver Learnings: Paul Feiner
read more

Silver Learnings: Drs. Nancy and Chuck Fishman

2 comments

These past 15 months, no matter how “hard” or “easy” any of us had it, we’ve learned a lot. Good stuff even. Our learning, you could say, has been one of the pandemic’s silver linings. To acknowledge some of those Silver Learnings, we’ve invited friends from different walks of life to share what they’ve learned from the pandemic. Our guess is you’ll hear some voices that sound like your own, and some that offer a window into a world you’ve not known but from which we can all now learn.

 


 

Chuck and Nancy FishmanCharles Fishman, M.D. is a pulmonologist with the New York Presbyterian Medical Group Westchester, and an attending pulmonary medicine physician at NYP Lawrence Hospital. He is a member and past president of Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains, NY, a longtime friend of the Dreskin family, and a staunch supporter of Jewish camping. 

Nancy Mills Fishman, MD, FACP, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and a Medical Oncologist and the Director of Cancer Survivorship at New York Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital. She specializes in the treatment of gynecologic malignancies and breast cancer. Nancy lives in Hartsdale, NY, with her husband, Dr. Charles Fishman. They have two daughters, Alexa and Kimberly. Nancy has served as both Vice President of Education and Vice President of Ritual and Programming at Woodlands Community Temple, and has served as a Board Member of URJ Eisner/Crane Lake Camps.

*          *          *

BillySilver Learnings: Drs. Nancy and Chuck Fishman
read more

Silver Learnings: The Levins

No comments

These past 15 months, no matter how “hard” or “easy” any of us had it, we’ve learned a lot. Good stuff even. Our learning, you could say, has been one of the pandemic’s silver linings. To acknowledge some of those Silver Learnings, we’ve invited friends from different walks of life to share what they’ve learned from the pandemic. Our guess is you’ll hear some voices that sound like your own, and some that offer a window into a world you’ve not known but from which we can all now learn.

 


 

The LevinsFrom harmony in voice to harmony for humanity, The Levins strive to uplift and unite with feel-good and infectious music. Their songs have nabbed Top 10 positions on Folk and Roots DJ charts and yearly Top 10 song/album lists and their music is known to bridge genres and communities, offering The Levins unique opportunities to tour and perform. Highlights include Amsterdam Jewish Music Festival, The Parliament of World Religions in Toronto and co-producing an original full-scale musical theater/Euro-Circus production in San Francisco, based on their album, “My Friend Hafiz.”

*          *          *

BillySilver Learnings: The Levins
read more

SILVER LEARNINGS: Ten days remain … we’d love to hear from you!

No comments

As always, you come through for us. And we couldn’t be more grateful. There are just ten days remaining to our June campaign and we’re hoping there are still a bunch more donations out there. Might one of those be yours? If so, thanks in advance for becoming part of Silver Learnings. It will be because of you that we can turn love into action.

Throughout Silver Learnings, we’ve been hearing from some folks who are very special to us (like you!) sharing some of their experiences during the pandemic. So many lessons, even from life’s toughest moments. We hope you find the reading worthwhile.

BillySILVER LEARNINGS: Ten days remain … we’d love to hear from you!
read more

Silver Learnings: Jill Abusch

No comments

These past 15 months, no matter how “hard” or “easy” any of us had it, we’ve learned a lot. Good stuff even. Our learning, you could say, has been one of the pandemic’s silver linings. To acknowledge some of those Silver Learnings, we’ve invited friends from different walks of life to share what they’ve learned from the pandemic. Our guess is you’ll hear some voices that sound like your own, and some that offer a window into a world you’ve not known but from which we can all now learn.

 


Jill Abusch

Jill is co-founder, Artistic Director, Camp Director and resident second mommy to many students and alumni of The Play Group Theatre. Along with directing many of PGT’s stage productions, Jill teaches a variety of classes from Little Theatre to Advanced Acting Technique, and has gone into schools and camps to train teachers on the use of drama in the classroom.  She studied acting and directing at the Stella Adler Conservatory and the Classical Studio at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where she earned a BFA in Drama. She adores working alongside her husband and partner, Steven, and is especially proud of their best productions, by far, Aviva and Ilana.

*          *          *

In those early pandemic weeks, when things were still so chaotic and everything felt so dark, I found this online, and posted it on our fridge:

BillySilver Learnings: Jill Abusch
read more

Silver Learnings: Keron Siriri

No comments

These past 15 months, no matter how “hard” or “easy” any of us had it, we’ve learned a lot. Good stuff even. Our learning, you could say, has been one of the pandemic’s silver linings. To acknowledge some of those Silver Learnings, we’ve invited friends from different walks of life to share what they’ve learned from the pandemic. Our guess is you’ll hear some voices that sound like your own, and some that offer a window into a world you’ve not known but from which we can all now learn.

 


Keron Siriri

Keron Siriri lives in the Budaka District in Eastern Uganda where he is a member of the Abayudaya Jewish community (his village sits about 14 miles to the west of the commercial center of Mbale). Keron is 24 years old and a recent college graduate in electrical engineering. He is the second-born of six children.

*          *          *

During the pandemic, life has become very hard. Some days, I go without food. My brothers and sisters live in constant fear of either contracting Covid-19 or getting arrested for violating health guidelines. We are left to fate. I cry endlessly remembering how much my parents used to take care of us when we stayed together at home. Now I sit on my balcony and think of how I can survive this terrible situation. I wonder why I am so far from home in a place that feels like exile, even as fears of new Covid-19 cases are increasing.

BillySilver Learnings: Keron Siriri
read more