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Mortgage burning sparks SSDS celebration
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Mortgage burning sparks SSDS celebration

Susan Markowitz, left, SSDS art teacher and designer of the plaque seen here, joins, from left, Maxine Macnow, Peter Opatut, and Elan Levy of the SSDS board, as they present the Shomrei Schechter Wall of Honor.     
Susan Markowitz, left, SSDS art teacher and designer of the plaque seen here, joins, from left, Maxine Macnow, Peter Opatut, and Elan Levy of the SSDS board, as they present the Shomrei Schechter Wall of Honor.     

The Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Monmouth County in Marlboro celebrated the burning of its mortgage Dec. 1 with speeches and the dedication of a wall honoring those who helped retire its debt.

“We all give to Israel and to a variety of national causes, but we cannot forget the need for gifts here at home,” Peter Opatut, father of two Schechter students, reminded the more than 50 attendees. Opatut is chair of the Shomrei Fund, which raised $80,000 toward the debt removal. 

He introduced a five-minute video starring Schechter students in which they repeatedly stressed the theme, “The future of Jewish education is in your hands.”

Delivering the d’var Torah, Rabbi Stanley L. Asekoff, religious leader emeritus of B’nai Shalom in West Orange, praised the Marlboro-area community for creating “a wonderful school, based not only on Torah but on caring, enthusiasm, and love.” Asekoff and his wife Cecille are the grandparents of a second grader at the Marlboro Schechter.

David Sugarman said he “grew up in Marlboro and drove past this building many times without paying any attention to it. It wasn’t until I had a child of my own, who is now enrolled here, that I realized the love that can be found inside.” Sugarman is the son of Allan and Joyce Sugarman, longtime lay leaders of the nearby Marlboro Jewish Center.

‘When you step into this school, you realize that these are our kids who will continue our legacy,” he said.

Following the symbolic mortgage burning performed by SSDS president Maxine Macnow and four past presidents — Ted Kantor, Bonnie Leff, Henry Locke, and Wendy Cooperman — attendees poured into the entry hall to unveil the Shomrei Schechter Wall of Honor, a tablet inscribed with the names of all the donors.

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