Mayanot Points of Light Gala Banquet

Wednesday night, the 14th of Kislev (November 28th, 2012) at the Hilton Hotel, was a night to remember. The inaugural Mayanot Points of Light Banquet Gala hosted over 600 guests, donors, supporters and alumni in celebration of sixteen years of Mayanot’s achievements.

Guests at the event were greeted by Rabbi Shlomo Gestetner, Dean of Mayanot, and Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, Executive Director.  Gani Goodman opened the evening with greetings from an alumna. Rabbi Yona Metzger, Chief Rabbi of Israel, highlighted the unique educational role of Mayanot and Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky brought greetings from World Lubavitch Headquarters.

Steven C. Witkoff was featured as the Guest of Honor. In his response to receiving his award, Mr. Witkoff related: “It is human for people to lose their way, and the mission statement of Mayanot – as I understand it – is to be there for those young people”.

Awardees also included Yitzchak and Tamar Tessler, who were introduced by their son, Mayanot alumnus, Foli Tessler. Mr. and Mrs. Tessler were honored as Pillars of Jewish Continuity. In Yitzchak Tessler’s words, Mayanot triumphs in “bringing young people back to their roots- bringing them back home”.

Many alumni attended the dinner and were excited to welcome their peer Adam B. Weinstein as Alumnus of the Year and their beloved teacher Rabbi Boruch Kaplan as Educator of the Year.

During the evening’s keynote address, Dennis Prager, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, proclaimed regarding Jewish education, “What we have lacked is the answer to “why”.  We told them “how” but not “why”.  One of the things Mayanot does is answer “why”.”

The Mayanot dinner also celebrated the launch of the capital campaign for a new Mayanot Women’s Program campus. Yitzchak and Tamar Tessler pledged $250,000 for the new campus, Kevin Bermeister pledged $100,000 and David Schottenstein pledged $50,000. Their generous outpouring of support has invigorated Mayanot’s campaign to raise $4.5 million to expand their new campus.

Coordinating the spectacular evening were Moshe Silver, administrator, Ruchie Stillman, event planner, as well as Bassie Fine, Shira Zagnoev, Mushka Gurevitch, and Batsheva Lieberman.

Over the evening, Mayanot in all of its facets really shone and a true sense of success was felt by all those involved.

To learn more about Mayanot, visit

To view more pictures of the dinner, click here:

Mayanot Gala Banquet Album