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Meet Our 2019 Annual Dinner Honorees!

Don't forget to buy your ticket or submit a congratulatory ad for this year's Annual Dinner on June 23. Click here!

Ambassador (ret.) Norm Eisen and Dr. Lindsay Kaplan

Without Kesher Israel, the Eisen-Kaplan family would not exist. Lindsay first attended Kesher as a visitor in 1992 and loved the shul so much that she sought permanent employment in Washington so she could become a member. She and Norm met in 1996, thanks to Kesher, and have been the beneficiaries of communal love and support on occasions both happy and sad ever since. The former have included their marriage, and the birth and upbringing of their daughter, Tamar. 

Lindsay is Professor of English at Georgetown University. She has authored several books, most recently Figuring Racism in Medieval Christianity (Oxford UP 2019). She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. At Kesher, she has served several terms on the Board, helped organize the women’s tefillah service, the women’s Megillah and Simchat Torah readings, coordinated participation in the Chevra Kadisha, and served on several nominating committees. She is currently a Trustee of both Kesher and the National Capital Mikvah.

Norm is a Senior Fellow at Brookings, and the co-founder and former chair of the government watchdog group, CREW. He served as President Obama’s “Ethics Czar” (2009-11), and as U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic (2011-14). Norm is the author of The Last Palace: Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House (Crown). He has been named by Politico as one of the 50 thinkers shaping American politics, by the Forward as one of America’s 50 most influential Jews, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the American Jewish University for his service to the Jewish people.

Elanit and Andrew Jakabovics

Since moving to Washington in 2003 and 1999, both Elanit and Andrew Jakabovics have actively dedicated their lives to Kesher Israel, serving in a variety of roles. Elanit began her Kesher career nine months after she moved to Washington, when she naively said “yes” to then-president Gary Winters in 2004, when he asked her to serve on the Board.

Since that time, Elanit has served in many lay leadership roles at Kesher: Director of Adult Education, co-chair of the Centennial Celebration, Director-at-Large, Corresponding Secretary, Second Vice President, and First Vice President. In 2012, she was the first female - and youngest - President elected in Kesher’s history. She served for 6 years and helped usher in a bright new chapter for Kesher as Rabbi Shafner joined as the new Rabbi. Her crowning achievement of volunteerism, though, came this year when she was named Cholent Champion of the 2019 Kesher Israel Cholent Cookoff.

Andrew has been a regular Ba’al Koreh since his arrival at Kesher, and became a Gabbai shortly after that. He routinely plays the role of closer for Tikkun Leil Shavuot, delving into aspects of dina d’malkhuta dina--the relationship between halakhah and the secular state. He demonstrates his paprika-sprinkling abilities each shabbat morning while setting up for the hashkama kiddush.

When not engaged in shul activities, Elanit is Associate Director of Strategy and Business Management at Grant Thornton Public Sector, where she helps set strategy and improves operational efficiency and effectiveness for a $230 million practice.

Andrew is Vice President for Policy Development at Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable housing non-profit. He previously served as a senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Policy, Development, and Research at HUD, and was Associate Director for Housing and Economics at the Center for American Progress. Although he has avoided the shul board, he currently serves on the boards of several housing-related organizations.

Proud parents of Hannah, Max, and Jodi, Andrew and Elanit met in DC at Jesse Grauman’s Shabbat dinner table in 2004, and recently celebrated their 12th anniversary.

Bracha Reznik

Bracha Reznik has been an active member of Kesher Israel since moving to Georgetown almost 15 years ago. She has served the shul in numerous capacities, including as a Director on the past four Kesher Boards, first in the role as Director of Educational Programming, then as Director of Ritual Matters, and currently as Recording Secretary. In addition, she has volunteered as a member of the rabbinic search committee, head mashgicha, organizer of the Women’s Tefillah and Study Group, and for many years as an actor in the Purim Shpiel. She also served on the board of the National Capital Mikvah from 2011-2016.

Bracha moved to Washington, DC after earning her PhD in Economics from Stony Brook University (SUNY) to work as an economist for the Social Security Administration, where she still works. After graduating from Barnard College, and before starting her graduate work, she spent a year learning at Nishmat in Israel.

Bracha was born in Brooklyn, NY to Mindy and Irwin Reznik, and spent her childhood years in increasingly smaller cities in New York State: Albany, Poughkeepsie, and Patchogue (a village). She has three younger siblings, Daniel (married to Dina), Esther (married to Josh), and Michael (married to Gabi), and is proud to be the aunt to eight wonderful nieces, Rochel, Ellie, Malky, Rebecca, Meira, Aviva, Chana, and Racheli.   

When not at Kesher or at work, she enjoys playing softball and basketball, going to the theater, and attending Nationals games, especially when the Yankees are in town.

Sat, November 16 2019 18 Cheshvan 5780