The annual Maimonides Dinner, now in its 34th year, will be held on Wednesday, May 31, at the Shabbos House, 320 Fuller Rd., Albany. The dinner benefits the Maimonides Hebrew Day School in Albany, which was founded in 1980.
This year’s dinner tribute will present three awards, representing the three phrases in the Micah 6:8 verse: Do Justice, Love Kindness, and Walk Humbly.
The annual “Maimonides Award” (known as the “Dr. Morton Berger Memorial Award” for the presentation’s first three decades) will be presented to Philip and Linda Chandler, a long-time Loudonville couple whose two daughters Michelle and Bonnie are Maimonides School alumnae. Philip and Linda have been active supporters of the school mission, serving respectively as president and co-chairperson of the institutional advancement committee. Organizers of the award program noted that this represents the first phrase of the Micah verse, “Do Justice.”
Philip Chandler grew up in Albany. While a student at Albany High School, he, along with a band of friends, promoted Jewish awareness throughout the city and environs. Continuing into his college years, these outreach activities culminated in the establishment of a permanent Chabad presence in the Capital Region. For two decades, Philip, most notably as “The Lamplighter,” was a purveyor of fine lighting and decorative home furnishings. Philip is a life member of the Shaker Road-Loudonville Fire Department. In 2002, Philip launched a new career as fire protection specialist for the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control. After 20 years of State service, he retired in January as deputy chief.
Linda Chandler grew up in northern Westchester County. Upon graduation from the University at Albany, Linda was licensed to teach but instead became a retail banker, rising to vice president for branch administration at Union National Bank. She worked as an advertising representative for The Jewish World and then went back to business development at M&T Bank, successor to Union National Bank. In 2008 Linda became director of development for the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region. Linda, currently semi-retired, continues with the loan fund as the director of investor services.
Philip and Linda continue their community involvement. They remain involved with the Maimonides School where Linda serves on the “Life and Legacy” committee. The couple actively supports the efforts of Rabbi Mordechai and Rebbetzin Chana Rubin, directors of the Colonie Chabad Jewish Center.
A “Chesed Award” (Chesed is Hebrew for kindness) will be presented to Rabbi Dr. Moshe and Rebbetzin Rochel Bomzer for their acts of kindness in the community. Organizers note that this fits the second phrase of the Micah verse, Love Kindness.
Rabbi Bomzer was born in Brooklyn where his father the late Rabbi Herbert Bomzer was a distinguished rabbi and communal leader. He studied at the Rabbinical Seminary of America in Queens and in Israel, graduated Queens College, received rabbinical ordination at RIETS – Yeshiva University, an MSW from Barry University and a doctor of ministry at the Post-Graduate Center for Mental Health in NYC.
First serving as a rabbi in Toronto at Shaarei Tziyon-Young Israel, he and Rebbetzin Bomzer moved to Albany in 1984 and he served as rabbi of Congregation Beth Abraham-Jacob (CBAJ) until 2012. He continues serving the community as Rav HaMachshir of the Vaad HaKashruth and rav of the Albany eruv and the chevra kadisha. He also serves as chaplain of the St Peters Hospital.
Rabbi Bomzer serves or has served on a number of area boards, including: Albany Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Services, the Jewish Federation of Northeastern NY and the Albany Interfaith Council for the Homeless. He also serves or served on many local committees, including the ethics committee at Daughters of Sarah senior campus and at Albany Medical Center, the chaplaincy committee of the Federation, advisory committee for NCSY – Upstate Region, and others.
Rebbetzin Rochel Bomzer was born in Houston Texas. She attended Yeshiva of the South in Memphis and Stern College, Queens College and Nova University. Since arrival in Albany she has served as rebbetzin of CBAJ, NCSY advisor and on the boards of the CBAJ Sisterhood and the Bnos Israel Mikvah. She is a longtime kosher supervisor for the Vaad HaKashruth and is a familiar face promoting kosher in the community. She is the coordinator of the local chevra kadisha. She has taught over 100 brides taharat hamishpacha before their weddings. She is mother of six and grandmother of 28. The Bomzers’ children attended Maimonides School and the awardees served on various school committees.
The “Dedication to Education” award will be presented to Devorah Leah Kaufmann, the school’s resource room director, who helps many students of all grade levels with both academic and social-emotional needs. Much of what Kaufmann does at school is behind the scenes. According to organizers, she represents the Micah verse, “Walk Humbly.”
Devorah Leah Kaufmann earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education at the College of Staten Island. She spent a decade as an ABA therapist for children with special needs at schools including: Challenge EI, Eden II, NYCLI, and StriveRite all in New York City. After moving to Albany, she and her family became involved with the Maimonides School. At Maimonides she began as a tutor, then Title I teacher, and now is the resource room director. In addition she assists with many special programs, projects and grants for the school. During the beginning of COVID 19, Kaufmann worked tirelessly to help keep the school open aiding in activities from temperature checks to grant writing. Even post-COVID severity, she is the friendly welcoming face students are greeted by each morning at school. The resource room has been expanded this year to help students recoup and rebuild from COVID learning loss.
Information about the dinner, or contributing to its journal, may be obtained by contacting Raizy Rubin, dinner coordinator, at 518-772-7299.