AJW Staff Report
The Talmud Torah of Minneapolis will honor Drs. Joyce and Bob Warshawsky for their Outstanding Lifetime Commitment to Jewish Education at its Annual Benefit on Sunday May 16 at Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka.
Talmud Torah will also honor Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Peter Himmelman, from Hey class of 1973, as Distinguished Alumnus. The 1973 graduating Hey Class of Talmud Torah Elementary will reunite that evening.
At 6 p.m., there will be a meet and greet with the honorees at a VIP reception. At 7:30 p.m., jazz and blues entertainment will be provided by Yolanda Bruce and Gary Gratz, and Himmelman will offer a Talmud Torah Tribute.
Dr. Joyce Warshawsky, a pediatric rheumatologist, and Dr. Bob Warshawsky, an ophthalmologist, say Jewish education is “preventative medicine” for the Jewish community’s challenge of continued assimilation.
“We became involved because we believed our children needed a solid education in order to make the right Jewish choices in life,” Joyce said. “We needed to equip them with Jewish values, and did our best to support the schools that made their education possible by working with the Federation Education Panel and being on the Talmud Torah Board.”
Joyce was a member of the Jewish Education Panel of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation for many years and served as co-chair on the Federation Board of Directors.
Bob has worked tirelessly for the Jewish Federation and Talmud Torah. Serving as the president of the Talmud Torah Board from 1992-94, he was a spokesman and champion of Jewish education. He is still an active member of the Talmud Torah Board of Directors.
Joyce grew up in Detroit and attended an Orthodox day school.
“I really loved learning Hebrew and Jewish culture and wanted my children to enjoy the same understanding and familiarity with Jewish learning,” she said.
Bob attended the United Hebrew Schools in Detroit.
“I didn’t know the value of a Jewish education until I was a parent,” he said. “One thing I knew was that I wanted my children to get a better education and stronger foundation in Jewish identity than I got.”
Susie Chalom, executive director of the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis, has been a friend of the Warshawsky for more than 35 years.
“They are role models for Jewish community leaders,” she said. “They give of their time and resources to support organizations they believe in and they do it with generosity and graciousness.”
Himmelman also sees the importance of a Jewish education from the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis.
“When I see the degree to which I am committed to Judaism and Israel, I think about the role Talmud Torah played,” he said.
Himmelman, who has written hundreds of songs, including theme songs for hit TV shows like Judging Amy, acknowledges his professional success as a blessing, but the true blessing is his family. He says he has gained from his parent’s desire to send him to Talmud Torah, where he also remembers the staff fondly.
“Rabbi Ettedgui was on my side. He was cool. He understood me. He was a sincere person who had passion for what he was doing,” Himmelman said.
He sought to replicate those experiences for his own children by giving them a Jewish education.
“Talmud Torah helped solidify my Jewish identity,” he said. “The creative ideas that come out of me are deeply influenced by Judaism. When I made a return to a greater Jewish involvement, I felt grateful I had the experience that I had at Talmud Torah.”
In conjunction with the benefit, an online auction is running through May 5 at: www.biddingforgood.com/ttmpls. Raffle tickets are also available.
The entire community is welcome. For tickets and information call Talmud Torah at 952-381-3300 or visit: www.talmudtorahmpls.org.