Keepers of the Flame Honorees 2017

So Florida MOY-YOY rsvp and tribute journal instructions – Click Here

Your Men’s Club’s Man of the Year & Youth of the Year

The Florida Region Keeper of the Flame Man of the Year Award is the highest recognition a Club can give to one of its members. It is usually given to individuals who have worked on behalf of the club or region for many years.  Leadership, Innovation and Community are considered.

The Florida Region also makes available the Youth of the Year Award with a Youth Medallion awarded by each club.  This award is given to a youth recommended by a club’s rabbis or school administrators.

Congrats to our 2017 Honorees! You deserve all the kavod!

Their awards will be presented at one of the 2017 Keeper of the Flame banquets.

  • South Florida Man & Youth of the Year at Temple Torat Emet, Boynton Beach, FL – Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 1:00PM.

   *South Florida honoring procedures  Click here

Temple Beth El, West Palm Beach – Jerry Lichstein

My wife, Iris, and I retired to Florida at the end of 2003. We have been blessed to have a good and interesting life. I have created a retirement that has provided me with a great deal of satisfaction and a feeling of relevance through the various activities in which I am engaged.

What has worked for me is to have a sense of balance in my life, by participating in a variety of physical, volunteer, spiritual, and educational activities. I exercise daily and I play golf several times a week. I have been a volunteer in the WPB police department detective bureau for the past thirteen years.  I have served as a mentor for three different children during that same time span.  I visit a holocaust survivor in his home on a weekly basis as part of the Jewish Family Service friendly visitor program, I deliver food for meals on wheels one day a week, and I volunteer at the Morse Geriatric Center where I work as a server at their holiday meals. At Temple Beth El, I am a member of the Board of Directors and volunteer in the office one day a week. I also attend the Temple’s daily morning services on a regular basis, leading the davening many of those days. My wife and I also find time to take classes at FAU’s Life Long Learning program in Jupiter.

Iris and I have also done quite a bit of traveling and hope to continue to do so in the future, including visiting our two daughters in Ohio and our four grandchildren. Life has been good to me and I enjoy giving something back to the community.


Temple Beth El, West Palm Beach – Martin Weisz – YOY

Martin Reuben Weisz was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2000. He attended the Hasten Hebrew Academy through Grade 4 when his family moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2008.

Martin was enrolled in the Arthur Meyer Jewish Academy until moving to The Benjamin Middle School in 2012. He is currently a senior at The Benjamin Upper School in Palm Beach Gardens. As the captain of the Benjamin Buccaneers varsity football team, Martin was recently awarded a full football scholarship at the University of Virginia. His position is Offensive Lineman.

He is currently rated as No. 20 by ESPN in their West Palm Top 63 senior football players ranking. Martin is also listed as a 3-Star prospect by 247Sports, an agency tasked with identifying top football talent for college teams. In March 2017, he was one of four (out of 200) players to receive the “Exceeded Expectations” Award at the Rivals 3-Stripe Football Camp.

Martin has worked as a Customer Service Team Member at Publix Supermarkets since 2015. He also spent the summer of 2017 working as an intern at Noble Properties Real Estate in West Palm Beach. In addition, Martin has been invited to play in the annual Blue vs. Grey All-American High School Football game to take place in January 2018.

Academically, Martin has twice earned a place on the high school’s Head of School List (High Honor Roll), the only member of the football team to have achieved this honor. He currently serves as president of the Student Body after having served as president of the Junior Class last year and president of the Sophomore Class the year before. For the third year, Martin is serving as the president of his school’s Jewish Student Union where he has organized many Jewish-oriented events and programs. Martin was a member of his school’s Debate Team and served as the vice-president of the Speech & Debate Club for two years. He is currently the Assistant Team Captain. He was elected Secretary of his school’s Finance Club during his Freshman, Sophomore and Junior years. He is currently serving as its president. He also served as chairman of the Junior Prom Committee during his Junior Year.

Martin is a dedicated Zionist and active in the Jewish community. He has been to the AIPAC Policy Conference three times and has traveled to Israel three times since he was ten years old. On two of those visits he worked through the Jewish Federations’ Partnership Program as a volunteer in the Upper Galilee. Martin worked as a counselor with physically and mentally challenged youngsters and adults. He also volunteered at an archeological excavation in Tzfat.

Martin attended summer camp continuously for five years at Camp Ramah Darom, part of the Conservative Jewish Movement, in Clayton, Georgia. He also was a Sunday school student at Palm Beach Synagogue in Palm Beach after which he participated in the Maimonides Program for teenagers. In 2016, he was selected to participate in the inaugural program of the Peres Leadership Institute.

Martin is very involved in community service such as recently helping to clean up and distribute food to the needy after the recent hurricane. Martin is a member of Temple Beth El and Palm Beach Synagogue and lives in West Palm Beach with his parents, Alla and Peter Weisz and his younger brother, Andrew, 14.


Beth Torah, North Miami Beach – Helmut Wellisch

I was born in Munich, Germany on June 19, 1931.  The family left Germany in December 1938, one month after the infamous Kristallnacht. My school was burned down to the ground together with its adjacent synagogue.

On March 1939 we arrived in Ecuador, a country in which we lived until March 2008 when we emigrated to the U.S.

In January 1966 I married Eva Steiner, who is twelve years younger than me.  We lived in Guayaquil, the biggest city in Ecuador, situated on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

I owned a Distribution Company, specialized in rope, twine and thread. Though it became the biggest business in that particular field, it only had 35 employees and twenty eight computers.  I was able to sell the company to two of my former suppliers.

Our oldest son Ricardo was born in 1967 and in 1970 David was born. Both went to Brown University. Ricardo continued his studies in George Washington University, David went to Harvard.

After graduating as an MD, Ricardo got an Internship at Mt. Auburn, a 300 bed teaching hospital located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  After he finished his Internship, he was named the chief of Interns, and a couple of years later he was invited into a group of Five Internal medicine Doctors.

The Boston Globe, the most accredited Newspaper in Boston, named him the best internal medicine Doctor in town for two years in a row.

David, our youngest son, went to Harvard and Graduated with an MBA. After working in a few companies, he landed in job with AOL where he started a Spanish language program for the first time ever. He left AOL in 2008 and started his own company. He sells marketing information to companies interested in penetrating the Hispanic market in the U.S. He now employs more than 50 people and is doing well. He once told me that he has such a great amount of data about the Latin population in the U.S. that he would be able to tell me how often they brush their teeth with a snap of his fingers.  Both our sons are married and each have children, two girls and one boy.

I started my retired life in the U.S. Although I was terrified from even thinking about it, I train with a personal trainer at the JCC gym twice a week; I take tennis classes twice a week; I attend synagogue twice a week and I also take adult education and computer classes. I am also planning on taking Adult Education classes at FIU.

Thank you very much to our Men’s Club for the honor of naming me “man of the Year” and I will do my very best not to disappoint you.


Beth Torah, North Miami Beach – Jared Keil – YOY

Born and raised in South Florida, Jared has been a part of synagogue life since he was a baby in the infant room at Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus. In fact, when he was able to walk at around two years of age, Jared was responsible for collecting tzedakah in the morning minyan, where he was notorious for not wanting change and waiting for dollars. He attended the Suzy Fischer Early Childhood Academy and Hochberg Prep, all the while establishing himself as a “shul rat”.

Jared is also a competitive Tae Kwon Do fighter. He began Tae Kwon Do at 5 years old and Jared is now a third degree black belt, has medaled nationally and internationally, and has won gold medals at countless tournaments, including the Junior Olympics. He has been invited to try out for the AAU National Team by virtue of being rated one of the top four fighters in his weight class in the country.

Jared has served as an officer for his USY chapter for three years in a row. First as Israel Affairs VP, then as Religious Education VP and Executive VP and currently he is the chapter co-President. He has attended USY Pilgrimage where he was able to put his passion for Israel to work by volunteering in various places throughout the country. He has worked and volunteered at Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus in various roles, including camp counselor during the summers.

Jared will graduate this year from Dr. Michael Krop High School and plans to major in Engineering.


B’nai Torah Congregation, Boca Raton – Rabbi David Englander

Rabbi David Englander was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1999, where he also received a Master of Arts in Jewish Education and was awarded the Lillian M. Lowenfeld Prize in Practical Theology. While at the Seminary, he taught in the Youth House of Temple Israel in Great Neck New York, served as student rabbi of Congregation Etz Chayim in Huntsville Alabama, and was the rabbinic intern at Town and Village Synagogue in lower Manhattan. He was also senior USY advisor at Temple Beth El of New Rochelle, NY, and worked on the staff of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires for 10 summers as a counselor, division head, and advisor for staff training. Prior to entering the Seminary, Rabbi Englander studied for a year at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, Israel, and graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a B.A. in History. While at Michigan, he served as President of the Conservative Minyan and as vice-chair of IMPAC, the Israel-Michigan Political Action Committee. He taught b’nai mitzvah students through Beth Israel Synagogue, and was an elected representative to the Michigan Student Assembly, serving as chair of its External Relations Committee.

 At B’nai Torah, Rabbi Englander conducts Shabbat and holiday services, including the participatory Shabbat morning service known as Havurat Shabbat, and the popular High Holy Day Family Service. He directs and teaches in the Lillian, Philip, and Gerry Cooperman Academy for Adult Jewish Learning, and is a principal instructor and coordinator for the Basic Judaism and Conversion program. He is active in pastoral care activities and officiates at all lifecycle events. He also teaches in the high school and middle school programs, and is the rabbinic contact for the Sam Mandelker College Connection program, which keeps B’nai Torah’s college students connected to their home congregation.

Rabbi Englander was presented the Rabbi Simon Greenberg Rabbinic Leadership Award by The Jewish Theological Seminary in December 2004. He is a Past President of the Palm Beach County Board of Rabbis, served as chair of the task force on Jewish Education for the Planning and Allocations Committee of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, and is treasurer of the South Florida Cluster of the Rabbinical Assembly.  After many years of board participation, Rabbi Englander was appointed to the Honorary Board of Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach and is an active member of the Boca Raton Interfaith Clergy Association. He also sits on the Ethics Committee of Boca Raton Regional Hospital.

Rabbi Englander grew up in Spring Valley, NY. He attended the Prozdor Hebrew High School program of JTS for four years, and is a graduate of the Monsey Jewish Center Hebrew School. David and his wife Stephanie are the proud parents of Yaffa, Zev and Ayal.


B’nai Torah Congregation, Boca Raton – Yaffa Englander – YOY

Yaffa Englander is a junior at Donna Klein Jewish Academy with a strong love of egalitarian Judaism. She grew up in Boca Raton, Florida, with a lifetime connection to her synagogue, Bnai Torah Congregation, reading Torah for the first time at eight years old and constantly attending and leading services ever since.

A hard-working student, Yaffa takes four college-level classes and is involved in many honor societies and clubs at her school, including her school’s National Technical Honor Society chapter, in which she serves as the president, the Model United Nations Club, Art Honor Society, National Honor Society, Hebrew Honor Society, and others. Last year, she represented her school at Moot Beit Din, a national Jewish debate competition, winning with her team first place in the division for the first time in her school’s history. Yaffa is also a varsity tennis player, holding the third singles spot of her school’s accomplished team.

The president of her synagogue’s chapter of USY, Yaffa plans weekly programs, helps to run board meetings, recruits and welcomes new members, and attends conventions on the subregional and regional levels. She has been involved in the youth group since eighth grade, and during her sophomore year was the chapter’s executive vice president, religious education vice president, and Israel affairs vice president.

Yaffa is a member of Congressman Deutch’s Youth Cabinet, working along with other high schoolers to learn about policymaking, both foreign and domestic, and how to make a positive impact in her community.

As a madricha (assistant teacher) in her synagogue’s religious school, she teaches students from kindergarten through sixth grade about the weekly parasha and holidays, tefillah skills, and how to read Hebrew. She is additionally an alumnus of Camp Ramah Darom, where she spent her past 3 summers as a camper and counselor in training. There, she not only led services and read Torah, but she taught her fellow chanichim (campers) to do so as well.

Temple Torat Emet, Boynton Beach – Jeffrey Charnow

Jeffry Charnow was born in Brooklyn and raised in Merrick, Long Island, where he stayed until marrying and settling in Valley Stream, NY. He and his lovely wife Lori arrived in Florida in late 1995 along with their 1-year old daughter, Marni.  In 2000 they moved to Boynton Beach as a family of four after Lawrence was born.

Jeffry is a consultant for time and attendance applications. He was a Technical Consultant for Kronos Corporation and later worked for their corporate office in Boston.  During his time with Kronos, Jeffry spoke at conferences, won awards, and led technical seminars at customer conventions.  Currently, Jeffry owns his own private Time and Attendance Consulting business.

After moving to Boynton, Jeffry and Lori joined what was then Temple Torah.

Lori was involved in the Jewish community but Jeffry held back, as he traveled a lot for work. During those years, Jeffry followed his children’s lead, becoming active in the Temple’s corps of Shofar blowers, which he continues to enjoy to this day.

Jeffry was a “dues paying member of Men’s Club” since day one, but did not become actively involved until Lawrence’s Bar Mitzvah date fell on Men’s Club Shabbat.   A deal was stuck – the Men’s Club Shabbat date was moved, and Men’s Club got a new active board member.

As time went by, Jeffry was elected Treasurer of Men’s Club. While in that position, he used his technical expertise to computerize the Club’s books and records, somewhat modernizing their business practices. He also created an internal website to keep track of administrative functions for the club.  Next, Jeffry became the Executive Vice president and then served two years as President.  He is now enjoying his new title of Immediate Past President.

After raising their children here in our community, Jeffry and Lori live in their not quite empty nest with their 2 dogs and 2 cats. He enjoys the many fruit trees that they cultivate on their Florida property, and their get-away cabin in Hendersonville, NC is waiting, as he and Lori aspire to become snowbirds. Actually, Jeffry hopes to retire and live off of Lori’s Living Art by Leah line of Hand Painted Judaica artwork.

Jeffry has been very creative in his own right with his club event ideas. He worked hard, along with the team, to bring the Liquor Tastings, Shofar Factory, Date Night, Honey Program, Rosh Hashanah Card, and an enhanced World Wide Wrap to fruition.  He is very proud of his association with the club and the work they do and is grateful for this honor.


Temple Torat Emet, Boynton Beach – Lior Shochat- YOY

My Name is Lior Shochat and I am currently a student at Somerset Canyons Academy in Boynton Beach, Florida.  I am a Junior in High School and take several advanced courses – both AICE and AP.  I have been on the school A Honor Role several times and in 2016 I became a member of the National Honors Society.

For the last three years I was part of Somerset Canyon’s Color Guard Team and was Captain of the Junior Varsity Team in 2016.  Prior to this I played AYSO soccer in Boynton Beach.  In my spare time I enjoy reading science fiction fantasy books.  One of my favorite authors is James Paterson.  I like to listen to pop music.  I adore all sorts of animals and enjoy traveling, exploring new places.

I have been a part of Temple Torat Emet for twelve years. My connection started at age 5 when I attended the Wiston Family Torah Tots Preschool.  I have been attending synagogue at Temple Torat Emet since then and became a Bat Mitzvah 2013.  I currently attend the HIP program at Temple Torat Emet.

I am an active member of the USY youth group and have attended many functions.  I served as Historian for the USY leadership and was voted “most likely to get an A” at the USY paper plate awards. I volunteered at the Winston Family Torah Tots summer camps for two years.  I have been involved in fundraising and Tikun Olam through activities like car washes, beach cleanups, bake sales, carnivals, food drives and most recently was involved in putting up hurricane shutters at Temple Torat Emet for Hurricane Irma.

Thank you to the Temple Torat Emet Men’s Club for honoring me with this award. Special thanks to Stacey Ripin for all that she has done for me and to the Temple Board, as well as to my parents for helping me participate and for supporting me.


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