Suzanne and Stuart Beretz

beretz.jpgSuzanne and Stuart Beretz have been prominent members of the Westchester Community ever since they moved to Scarsdale in 1994. They were previously active members of the Jewish Center on the Upper Westside of Manhattan. They have dedicated themselves to the Westchester Day School, Ramaz, and the Young Israel of Scarsdale, as well as many other worthy organizations and causes to help better their local community and klal yisroel.

Suzanne and Stuart met at New York University in 1987. Suzanne went on to get her JD from Cardozo Law School and was sworn into the New York State Bar in 1994. Stuart worked at Bear Stearns from 1989 to 2008 and is currently a Managing Director at JP Morgan. They have been married for 24 years and are very proud parents of Dyana, Elliot, Jonathan and Benjamin. Dyana currently attends Binghamton University where she is an active member of Chabad, served on its Executive Board, and is currently the head of its Tier One Engagement program. Elliot just graduated from Ramaz Upper School and plans to attend Binghamton University upon his return from his year in Israel. Jonathan is currently attending Ramaz Upper School and Benjamin is at Westchester Day School. The entire Beretz Family is privileged to be associated with Chabad of Binghamton. They strongly believe in the importance of its goal to create a warm, welcoming environment that strengthens and enriches the Jewish identities of Jewish students while at Binghamton and continues in the years that follow.

Ruby and Joseph Gottlieb
Benjy ‘10 and Aaron ’12 Gottlieb

gotlieb.jpgRuby and Joseph Gottlieb, native New Yorkers, were married in 1983 and made their home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where they raised their sons, Benjamin (29) and Aaron (26), and where they all currently live. They are members of The Jewish Center and Congregation Shearith Israel, and are active in many aspects of the Upper West Side/Jewish community.

Joseph, a former Jewish Center gabbai and officer, currently serves on the shul’s Board of Trustees. Along with Benjamin, Joseph volunteers with CSS, The Community Security Service which, through a series of programs, secures at-risk facilities to the increasing threat to the American Jewish community. Joseph has also served as treasurer and in other positions on the board of his co-op for the last 15 years. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and Certified Portfolio Manager® (CPM®) professional with a large investment firm.

Ruby served on the Sisterhood and Youth Committee at the Jewish Center and currently volunteers for several NYC non-profits. For Dorot, a NYC organization supporting homebound elderly, Ruby is part of their weekly visiting program and offers technology tutoring to seniors looking to learn more about their devices. She is also part of the communications team for the JCC of Manhattan’s Engage project, which empowers Jews in their 50s and 60s+ to address the needs of the NYC Jewish community by volunteering for organizations addressing poverty, hunger, joblessness, the elderly and those with special needs. Ruby also donates her time to the UJA Management Assistance Program, a team of pro-bono professionals recruited to lend their expertise on projects which help support their beneficiary agencies’ business needs. After a 40-year career in marketing and advertising she continues to work part-time as a marketing consultant through her firm, The Media Advisory.

In their leisure time, Ruby and Joseph enjoy attending theatre and music performances, and love to travel. They manage to squeeze in a ski vacation every winter and some family time on Fire Island each summer with Benjy, Aaron, extended family and friends.

After graduating from Ramaz, Benjamin received a B.S. in anthropology from Binghamton in 2010. His Chabad highlights include serving as gabbai, developing a weekly football game that later became sponsored by Chabad and winning an intramural floor hockey championship with the Chabad team. In his junior year Benjy spent a semester abroad at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where he spent each Shabbos engaged with the Melbourne Jewish community. After graduation, Benjy’s career in mobile technology began at lifestyle website UrbanDaddy and continued at Major League Baseball Advanced Media, a full service solutions provider delivering world-class digital content. He is currently a Product Manager there working with various partners to develop their products and distribute their content across many devices and platforms. Outside of work he plays ice hockey regularly, is a casual runner, scuba diver and avid sports fan.

Aaron graduated from Binghamton in 2012 with a B.A. in media studies. At Binghamton Aaron served as a sports editor on Pipe Dream and a PR and media relations intern at the Binghamton Senators, the local minor league affiliate of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. Since graduation, Aaron has spent time in PR and social media in the sports and news media worlds, most notably at NBA/WNBA and social media agency Deep Focus, where he worked on the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee team. He is currently the audience development manager at Digiday, a leading digital publication and events company covering the digital media and marketing world. In this role he is responsible for growing the Digiday audience and their relationship with the company. When he’s not working, Aaron is an avid biker, plays ice hockey, softball and volleyball, is a Seinfeld aficionado and is constantly on the hunt for the next great hot sauce.

Andrea Thau and John Lieberman
Evan ’11 and Richard ’14 Lieberman

lieberman.jpgJohn Lieberman and Andrea Thau met in college at SUNY Albany and have been married for 31 years. Andrea was Vice President of the Hillel at Albany. They are members of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side in Manhattan where John served as a Trustee for 9 years. Their sons Evan and Richard grew up at KJ where all of their milestone events- bris, bar mitzvah, etc. were held. Evan and Richard attended Ramaz from nursery through 12th grade. After graduation from Ramaz, they each spent a year studying at Machon Lev, The Jerusalem College of Technology, before attending Binghamton University. Evan graduated from Binghamton’s Honor’s program with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a minor in Chemistry. He is currently attending the Sackler School of Medicine- New York State program at Tel Aviv University and is expected to graduate in May, 2016. Richard graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude with departmental honors in Studio Art and minors in management and cinema. He is working as a production designer in film and television.

Dr. Andrea P. Thau graduated with honors from the Bronx High School of Science, SUNY Albany and SUNY Optometry. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, a Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice and a Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry. She is an associate clinical professor at the SUNY State College of Optometry. Dr. Thau was elected President-Elect of the American Optometric Association in 2015. Prior to her election to the AOA Board, she served as the first woman president of the New York State Optometric Association, the New York Academy of Optometry, and the Optometric Society of the City of New York. She is the recipient of numerous awards including New York State Optometrist of the Year, SUNY Optometry Alumnus of the Year, 20/20 Magazine’s Best and Brightest Eyecare Professional and is a two time winner of Vision Monday’s 20 Most Influential Women in Optical. Dr. Thau is the owner of a 4 doctor group private primary care practice on Park Avenue in Manhattan with special emphasis on children's vision and vision therapy.

John R. Lieberman, CPA, PFS, is a managing director with Perelson Weiner, LLP a top 100 accounting firm based in New York City. He has dedicated his practice for over thirty years to assisting the owners of closely-held companies with their business and tax planning and risk management. He has extensive experience in a broad range of industries with acquisition and divestiture strategies including debt restructuring and reorganizations. His clientele range from private and public as well as proof of concept startup's to multinational entities. Founder of NYCMedtech, a biotech and life science forum, his involvement in the life science and bio tech industry is worldwide, lecturing in Europe and Israel at conferences and universities. Mr. Lieberman is frequently solicited by the media to speak on tax issues. His media appearances include: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Bloomberg Financials, CNN Money, Sports Business Journal, The Daily News, CBS and NBC to name a few. He is a Certified Public Accountant, NY/NJ, received the designation of PFS, from the AICPA, past Chair of the Entertainment and Sports Committee for the NYSSCPA.

Mrs. Anna Bass
The Voice of Courage Award

Anna (Weizs) Bass was born on June 8th, 1929 in Mateszalka, Hungary, a town close to Romania with a population of approximately two thousand Jews. Her life began as any other Hungarian girl at the time, filled with innocent frills and fun. The daughter of an important textile businessman; Anna was the youngest of two children.

In 1944 Anna’s life changed forever. It was the final day of Passover and as the Jewish population ate their last pieces of Matzah, the Germans were busy fencing in part of the city, soon be known as “The Ghetto”. The Mateszalkan Ghetto was the first to be created in the country [and the selected “Ghetto House” was Anna’s home since it was one of the largest in the city]. All of the Jews in neighboring cities were brought to Mateszalka and before she knew it, fourteen year old Anna’s residence became home to over three hundred people including her grandfather and her father’s entire family. They had cramped quarters, to say the least. Food was scarce as no food or drink was allowed in or out of the ghetto. A mere three months later, in June, hundred of Jews were thrown into cattle cars to be taken to an unknown destination. Those who survived quickly saw exactly where they had been dumped. Anna and her parents arrived to Auschwitz battered, weak, and confused. Their minds were filled with worry and dread for Anna’s brother Imre who had been in school in Budapest at the time and had been turned in to the Nazis. There was no way to communicate with him, all they knew was that he was supposed to be on his way home. Years later it became known that he, along with all of Anna’s aunts, uncles, and cousins, had perished.

After the mandatory stripping of clothes and dignity, numb to any sense of normalcy, Anna and her mother got in line to await their fate. Anna’s father, they later found out, had been taken to the gas chambers upon arrival. When Mengele signaled Anna to the left and her mother to the right, her mother screamed at him to let them stay together since Anna was so young. Miraculously, Mengele let them both stay on the right side, the only side of life.

This miracle was the first of many. Anna and her mother’s lives were saved time and time again. And Anna herself single-handedly saved the life of her cousin whom she she was determined to help, after finding out that she had suffered a miscarriage. She searched through 17,000 people until she found her and sneaked her back to her barrack. Not only did this cousin, Clara, survive the war, but she was the first of the family to make it to freedom in America and lived near Anna and her mother in New York City until her recent passing.

When asked for more about her time in Auschwitz, Anna exclaimed: One day in the camp would take twenty four hours to explain.

Anna’s cousin, her mother and her were transferred from Auschwitz to a 12 hour work camp, and finally, after barely surviving the “Death March”, to a factory, in St. Georgenthal, where they were finally liberated by the Russians.

Anna relates how she noticed a sign atop a store on the way to the factory with the words “We never give up”; she would gaze at the words regularly and this gave her hope.

May 8, 2016 will mark seventy one years since Anna was liberated together with her mother and friend. Weighing only forty four pounds at the time, Anna vividly remembers wrapping herself twice in a nylon apron with orange flowers and running around the area screaming “I’m free, I’m free!” on this historic day.

After the war, devastated by their experiences and the realization that all of their families had perished, Anna and her mother returned to their hometown in Hungary, hoping to find her brother there. Once back home, they learned that only sixty members—including she and her mother— of the eighteen thousand members of their ghetto survived the war.

Soon after, the Russians took over and the Communists wanted to arrest Anna’s mother because of her husband’s capitalist ideals. This caused Anna and her mother to sneak out to Budapest in the middle of the night with just a few precious photos and hardly any belongings. They stayed there until 1956 when they sneaked under some barbed wire to escape and eventually, to reach their freedom in America. At this time Anna met a nice young man, George, whom she was interested in pursuing but due to the unrest in the city, and no means of communication, there seemed to be no hope for them.

Once in America, Anna adapted to a new lifestyle in a country full of opportunity. Anna acquired a job at JC Penny headquarters, working in their central office, all the while hoping to once again meet George posting ads in the Jewish newspaper and asking around for him.

Sure enough, a friend who saw an ad in the paper shared Anna’s information with George and soon they were reunited. The rest is history, as they say.

Anna, her mother, and her husband, George, both of blessed memory, enjoyed many good years in NYC where Anna still resides. They also spent memorable winters in Palm Springs, California where they made many friends whom Anna still looks forward to spending the winter with today.

Anna was one of the survivors selected to share testimony of the Holocaust with Steven Spielberg in 1995, and later shared poignant remarks about her experiences post Holocaust with members of the Hidden Children Society branch in New York City.

Anna is a fiercely intelligent and accomplished woman, a dear friend, and a walking testimony to the fortitude of the human spirit. We are humbled and privileged to honor Mrs. Anna Bass with the Voice of Courage award at the Chabad of Binghamton’s 30th anniversary dinner.