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Amy Leveen

Amy was born in Queens and her family moved to Elmira, NY when she was three. Almost immediately they joined the Orthodox shul, Congregation Shomray Hadath. While the shul later joined the Conservative movement, it always retained three rows in front on either side of the aisle as a mechitza. That was lesson one for Amy – synagogues must be big tents and recognize and accommodate differences among their members.

Her parents, Polly and Cy Leveen, were active in the shul and the greater community. They belonged to various clubs, and were engaged in community affairs, and her father was a star in community theater. As Social Action Chair of the American Association of University Women Polly registered voters at the weekly farmer’s market for 30 years. Her father was a regular minyan attendee because he understood the responsibility of ensuring there would always be a minyan for anyone saying kaddish. Cy was often the gabbai at Shomray Hadath. Her parents both ushered on the High Holidays and served on Shomray Hadath’s Board. All of these engagements were lessons two and three for Amy – she learned from their example how to be a member of any community – religious, social, or communal – and the importance of making a minyan.

Amy and her husband Bill bought a house in Kingsbridge in 1985 and two years ago moved to an apartment in Riverdale. Kingsbridge suited them – most of the time when they left the city it was to go north, an easy shot from Kingsbridge. The #1 train stop was close, there were good schools and plenty of synagogues. They found a home at CSAIR and joined in 1992 when their son Sam was five and started Hebrew School. Matt followed him three years later. Sam and Matt were Bar Mitzvahed by Rabbi Katz, and Sam and Rachel were married by him. Continuity like that is rare. Sam and Rachel live in Riverdale with their sons, six-year-old Cyrus and four-year-old Andrew. Cyrus attends the CSAIR Hebrew School. Matt lives in Brooklyn with Natalie.

Amy and Bill met when they were both stage managers working in the theater. Bill spent most of his professional career as a fundraiser specializing in institutional giving. He is retired but occasionally will take on a short consulting gig. After leaving the theater, Amy spent most of her professional career as a direct response fundraising consultant, with a recent seven-year staff role as Director of Annual Giving at Barnard College. She is mostly retired but, like Bill, still takes on occasional consulting assignments.

They feel it is a gift to have a strong community in which to have raised their family and that continues to be a place where they are all growing. They are blessed to have made so many strong and lasting friendships and to belong to a shul with such a dedicated and devoted staff.

Bill and Amy congratulate the other honorees. She is deeply honored and grateful to be recognized by the community that is so much a part of her life.

Greg Solomon

Greg and Kathy met during their medical residencies at Montefiore Medical Center in 1992. After growing up in the Washington, DC area and then living in northern California, Kathy moved to the Bronx for medical school at Albert Einstein. Greg’s Bronx roots go back a bit further. His grandfather, Louis, moved there from the Lower East Side in the 1920s, and his father, Mort, was born on Minford Place in the South Bronx. Visiting his grandparents as a child, Greg never imagined he too would call the Bronx home so many years later.

In New Jersey, Greg grew up in a traditional Conservative synagogue, spent summers at Ramah Berkshires and USY on Wheels, had Sunday classes at a high school Talmud Torah, and studied in Jerusalem at Yeshivat HaMivtar during college. Kathy grew up attending services at Washington Hebrew Congregation and for years felt drawn to Israel where she had cousins.

Greg and Kathy’s connections to Israel were becoming intertwined before they ever met. Separately, they volunteered there on various programs, did medical rotations at Soroka Medical Center, and saw patients at clinics in the Bedouin town of Rahat.

Overlooking Bainbridge Oval just blocks from where his grandparents, great aunt, and great uncle had lived, Greg and Kathy shared their first apartment steps from Montefiore. Imagine, it was a 2-bedroom for $526 per month! With Julia on the way they moved to Riverdale, and three years later Jacob was born.

With two young children and in search of a Jewish community, CSAIR was a natural fit where they could share their mutual connection to Israel and be comfortable with their different Jewish upbringings. The high holiday children’s service led by David Cohen and the storytelling by Kathy McQuown made the entire family feel welcome. Julia and Jacob later attended Kinneret Day School and had their Bnei Mitzvot at CSAIR. Since then Greg has served on the adult education committee, the synagogue board, and the revitalized Israel committee. Kathy has participated in many of Judy Matthews’ cooking classes, helped prepare interfaith seders, organized a children’s book drive, distributed leftover kiddush to food pantries, and worked with other CSAIR congregants and interfaith Riverdale organizations to help settle an Iraqi refugee.

Greg and Kathy have felt embraced by the joy and warmth of the CSAIR community. Over 25 years CSAIR has become their Jewish lodestone, both in Riverdale as well as in their broader Jewish lives. They feel incredibly fortunate to
be a part of CSAIR.

Hannah Rothman Welt & David Welt

Hannah returned and David moved to Riverdale to be a part of the CSAIR community in the summer of 2017. Three apartments and two kids later they could not be more thrilled with the decision. CSAIR has been there for them throughout all of their family’s milestones.  

Professionally, Hannah is a Senior Grants Officer at the NYC DOE and David is a CPA serving as an Auditor for the U.S. government.  

At CSAIR, Hannah has chaired the gala, YCFP, and education board and David provides financial analysis on an ongoing basis.  

Hannah and David are so grateful to be part of the CSAIR community and are humbled to receive this honor.

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784