Our Honorees

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Linda & Leonard Russ

Guests of Honor

Long after the graduation of their children from Bi-Cultural, Linda and Leonard Russ have remained highly engaged in the school's leadership and continue to be strong supporters of BCDS, while also holding leadership positions in the larger Jewish community and in the professional world.

Currently serving as vice president of the Bi-Cultural Board of Directors, after many years on the board, Linda is also a past president of the Jewish Federation of Westport-Weston-Wilton-Norwalk, and recent past co-president of the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County.

The Russes are active longtime members of The Conservative Synagogue in Westport and where Linda has held various board roles and is currently a trustee. As a couple, they are also active in AIPAC, as members of the Capital Club and Congressional Club.

Len is a national leader in the long term care industry as a past chairman of the American Health Care Association, the nation's largest association of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. For many years, he has been an owner and administrator of five-star rated skilled nursing facilities in New York State. His facilities have been consistently rated among the best nursing homes in America by U.S. News & World Report. He currently chairs the American Health Care Association's Reimbursement Cabinet, continuing to represent the industry with members of the U.S. Congress and the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS). Len had an earlier career in journalism and he and Linda met when both were working at CBS News.

Len attended Akiba Academy in the Bronx (before its merger into SAR Academy) and is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science. He holds an undergraduate degree from Vassar College and a Masters Degree from Columbia University.  Linda is a veteran journalist, PR professional and author whose credits include: longtime writer/producer for ABC-TV's "Good Morning America," news writer at the CBS News Radio Network, Consumer Producer at WABC-TV "Eyewitness News," and Press Representative for ABC, Inc. For several years, she served on the Bi-Cultural staff as Director of Public Relations. She is author of the book "Teenspeak: A Bewildered Parent's Guide to Teenagers," published by Petersen's in 1994.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Linda holds an undergraduate degree from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and has a Masters degree from New York University.

Linda and Len are the proud parents of two BCDS alumni: Dana, (Class of 2004); and Douglas (Class of 2009). Dana, a graduate of Westport's Staples High School and The George Washington University, works currently for the New York Yankees as an account executive in season ticket sales. Douglas, a graduate of Westport's Staples High School and the University of Pennsylvania, is currently studying in Jerusalem at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in a gap year before applying to medical school.

"We always credit Bi-Cultural Day School with greatly enriching the lives of our children and enhancing the Jewish experience of our family," Linda notes. "Bi-Cultural so wonderfully shaped the character of our children, their Jewish knowledge and their continued strong connection to Jewish life and the State of Israel."

"We feel it is important for us to be a part of ensuring that this important Jewish institution goes from strength to strength," Len added. "Bi-Cultural has given us so much and we take great pride and pleasure in giving back."

Larry Rezak

Community Service Award

Over a span of 45 years since arriving in Stamford in 1972, Larry, along with his wife, Linda, has been involved in the building and sustaining of many of the local institutions and agencies within our community and region and in Israel. His credo is that it takes “dreamers, donors, doers” to assure that the “kahal tzibor” (sense of community) will flourish.

Words to live by, indeed. But Larry, the recipient of the BCDS 2018 Community Service Award, doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk…and then he walks some more.

Towards that end, Larry has contributed his resources and participated in soliciting the funds and volunteers to make this a reality. The time and energy he continues to devote to the community is limitless. Having served on many Boards and Committees, he has inspired dedicated partners in this quest and continues to work towards introducing quality Jewish education, culture and programming to the community. For Larry, it is about Jewish continuity and Jewish values.

In so doing, Larry inspires others to step up to the plate and do their part.

Linda and Larry care most about family values and take pride in their four children (Rachel, Josh, Jessica and Emily) who were raised and educated within Stamford (having attended BCDS from 1977 to 1997) and whom, along with their respective spouses and twelve grandchildren, continue to maintain the Jewish values they live by.

Craig L. Price

Young Leadership Award

“Rising Star” is the perfect way to describe Craig Price, recipient of this year’s BCDS Young Leadership Award. That was the designation he was awarded by the New York Metro Edition of Super Lawyers in its 2011-2014 listings — and that is how the Stamford community has regarded him ever since he planted roots here.

Of course, Craig’s choice of Stamford as his home was hardly arbitrary: he became acquainted with the town and concluded it was a great place to raise a family when he married Stamford native Randi Leferman Price, a BCDS alum (class of 1986). Today, the couple are the proud parents of two Bi-Cultural students: Ruthie, age 14, and Zachary, age 12.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where he attended the Yeshiva of Flatbush Elementary School and High School, Craig earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1996, and his Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School in 1999. He joined the real estate law firm of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman, LLP in 2004, becoming a partner in 2007.

After being designated a “Rising Star” by the NY Metro Edition of Super Lawyers, he was voted a “Super Lawyer” by that organization in 2015-2017.

A member of the New York State Bar Association and the New York County Lawyers' Association, currently he is also a faculty member for the Real Estate Board of New York’s New York Residential Specialist course which is regarded in the profession as essentially a Masters course for elite NYS Residential Real Estate Brokers.

Craig’s busy legal career has not kept him from giving of his time and energy as an active community volunteer.

A 2011 graduate of the Behrend Institute for Leadership, a program developed by the United Jewish Federation in partnership with local Jewish organizations and designed to prepare graduates for communal leadership roles, Craig has held a variety of volunteer leadership positions in the Stamford Jewish community.

Among his volunteer activities at the Stamford Jewish Community Center, where he is a former member of the Board of Directors, Craig has co-chaired the JCC’s annual Fore the Kids Golf Outing, and served on the O-la-mi Strategic Planning Committee and the annual Give a Child A JumpStart 5K Run/Walk. In addition, in 2016, he served as a Stamford delegation head for the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest; and, in 2014, he attended the Intercontinental Jewish Community Center Association Biennial Conference, as a Fellow of the JCC Association Esther Leah Ritz Emerging Leadership Program.

Craig is also a former member of the Advisory Board of Chabad Lubavitch of Stamford, and a past president and former member of the Advisory Board of the Chabad House of Stamford, the activity branch of Chabad Lubavitch of Stamford. In addition, since 2017 he has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish High School of Connecticut.

At BCDS, Craig has served for the past several years as “Director of Dads” for the Parent’s Association Board, helping to facilitate events that increase fathers’ involvement in the school.

Craig’s efforts to support Stamford extend well beyond the city’s Jewish community.

A member of the Executive Board of the Stamford Hospital Foundation’s “Hope in Motion Run/Walk,” Craig was honored for several years as that event’s “top individual fundraiser,” raising more than $50,000 in memory of his late mother-in-law, Nancy Leferman z”l. In addition, from 2003-2009, he served as a member of the Board of Directors for Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, the largest not-for-profit provider of after school programming in New York City. We rest our case. Craig Price is indeed one of Stamford’s “Rising Stars.”

Dr. Pamela Schaffer Singer

Alumni Award

When Pamela Schaffer Singer walked through the door on her first day of school at Bi-Cultural Day School, little did she realize that she was opening the door to what would become a family affair.

At first, it was only Pamela. Soon, though, BCDS welcomed her two younger siblings, Katie and Daniel. Then, Pamela’s mother, Toby Schaffer, got in on the act by joining the school’s PTA, eventually rising to become its president; and her father, Hyman, helped to raise funds for the school’s capital campaign.

Clearly, it was a good beginning and a successful experience for Pamela, who graduated from BCDS in 1994, and went on to attend Ramaz High School in New York and then Midreshet Lindenbaum Seminary in Jerusalem. She received her Bachelors degree from Barnard College, and earned her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, as well as a Masters in clinical research.

Today, Pamela is a pediatric nephrologist practicing at Cohen Children’s Medical Center (part of Long Island Jewish Medical Center), as well as medical director of its pediatric kidney transplant program, which she established.

A dedicated physician, Pamela gives back to the community through her involvement with Renewal, a chesed organization that assists in finding living kidney donors for people in need in the Jewish community.
That Pamela takes time out from a schedule jam-packed with both professional and family responsibilities to help those in need is hardly surprising. After all, Jewish community service is in her genes — especially the ones she inherited from her maternal grandparents, Julia and Joseph Macy z”l and her Bubby Schaffer z”l.
Generous philanthropists, the Macys were decades-long stalwart supporters of Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Fairfield and the Orthodox Union, both nationally — Joseph Macy was a fixture on the OU’s national board for many years — and in the New England region. Her Bubby was always active in the family’s shul and her father’s school, volunteering wherever she could be of assistance.
How did that sense of community affect Pamela?
“She was always very tuned in to and close to her family,” says her mother Toby Schaffer. “She was always keenly aware of who they were and what they were doing.”
And, like her grandparents, she was involved in NCSY, serving as regional president when she was a high school senior. “She felt she was carrying on the family tradition and that meant a lot to her,” says her mother.
Mrs. Schaffer attributes Pamela’s ability to navigate successfully through the many diverse worlds she comes into contact with through the course of her day, to her Bi-Cultural education. “Bi-Cultural equipped her with the ability to succeed in the world of medical science while maintaining her religious values and practices,” says her mother.
A resident of Cedarhurst, Long Island in New York, where her family attends Young Israel of Lawrence and Cedarhurst, Pamela and her husband, Sam, are parents of three young children: Yechiel, age 9, Sarah age 6, and Annie, age 3, all of whom attend local day schools.

Pia Walker

Jane Shoztic Memorial Award

Pia Walker was working in the office of a local company when a co-worker approached her with a job lead. His grandmother, the long-time office head of a Stamford school, was set to retire from her job and he thought Pia might be just the right person to fill her formidable shoes.

He was right.

Now, 28 years later, Pia is the recipient of the 2018 Jane Shoztik Memorial Award, presented annually to a member of the BCDS staff in recognition of his or her dedicated service to the school community. Fittingly, it was the much beloved Jane Shoztik z”l whose grandson Pia worked with and whom, in 1990, she succeeded as head of the Bi-Cultural office.

“I’ve worked at many companies in my career,” says Pia, “but none compare to BCDS. Everyone — staff, parents, students — is so warm and and friendly and really care about one another. It’s really a family. I’ve seen so many students pass through these doors and move on in life. When they come back to visit, as they often do, it feels so good to see them; to see how they’ve succeeded, how they’ve grown into such impressive young adults…and to know that they haven’t forgotten their roots. That’s what a family is all about and that’s how it feels to work here.”

Born in Port Chester, New York, Pia moved to Greenwich when she was five years old and attended Greenwich High School and the Berkeley Secretarial School. She still lives in Greenwich today, with her husband, John. The Walkers are the parents of two adult children, Lauren and her husband Terry, and Jason, and the grandparents of 5-year-old Castiel.

Though she loves spending time with her family, for Pia coming to work is never boring. She never really knows what the BCDS day might bring but has learned over the years to expect the unexpected and to step up to the plate wherever and whenever needed — whether that means filling in for an absent volunteer by organizing the school lunch, or helping to shepherd little ones out of the building during a fire drill, or replacing a lost kippah,…or simply providing a sympathetic ear to a distressed child.

“Pia can always be counted on to take the initiative and come up with effective solutions to all the unexpected issues that crop up during the course of a normal school day,” says Head of School Jackie Herman. “And she doesn’t make a big deal of it. She takes the initiative — and she does so quickly and quietly and competently, without any fanfare and without taking credit.”

While she may not take the credit but, she also doesn’t feel taken for granted.

“No matter what I do during the course of my day, no matter whom I help out, I consider it just another part of my job,” she says. “But it always amazes me to see how thankful parents and staff are for even the smallest thing that I may do for them or their children. They’re so appreciative, thoughtful and respectful.”

When all is said and done, says Pia, the best part of her job is interacting with students and staff. The feeling, it would seem, is mutual. When all is said and done, Pia loves her job because Pia loves the children.

And they love her.

That is why BCDS preschoolers march into Pia’s office every year on her birthday to sing to her and present her with lovingly hand-crafted birthday cards. And that is why a few years ago during graduation exercises, she was surprised to be invited to come on stage — where 8th-graders presented her with the class yearbook which had been dedicated to her.

“I loved those kids…and I love all the BCDS kids,” she says, adding with a laugh, “but they don’t have to all dedicate their yearbooks to me.”

BCDS Celebration Dinner - May 6, 2018 5:30 PM      questions?  dinner@bcds.org