Etz Chaim awards will be presented to Mickey Kaufman and Will Schafer during the Solomon Schechter Day School of Raritan Valley Main Event.
Kaufman, an East Brunswick resident, led a team in 2004 taking an independent look at the state of the school, resulting in his appointment to the finance committee and then to the board of trustees. In 2006, he became president, serving for three years.
Kaufman and his wife, Sherryl, have been long-time supporters of the school’s Shomrei Torah Society, its primary source of tuition assistance. He also served as chair of the head-of-school search committee last year.
Active in the East Brunswick Jewish Center, Kaufman served for many years on its board and as president, and chaired its rabbi search committee. The synagogue last year awarded Kaufman its Lifetime Achievement Award.
He has worked for 32 years at Johnson & Johnson, and is a vice president and assistant general counsel of its law department and a member of the DePuy Global Management Board.
He has three children who attended Schechter.
Schafer of East Brunswick was appointed to the school’s finance committee in 2004 and two years later became fund-raising vice president. He remains on the board. He and his wife, Amy, created the Main Event, which has brought such celebrities as Henry Winkler, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and NY Mayor Ed Koch to the school. Among Schafer’s other contributions to the school are revamping many operational components, saving more than $50,000 annually, overseeing rebuilding the flood-damaged lower school library in 2006, working with the Gruss Foundation to install the state-of-the-art science and computer lab, and helping the school obtain its federal Blue Ribbon status and receive a Homeland Security grant for its security alarm system.
Schafer served as the school liaison to the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County and is in his sixth year as EBJC vice president. He is also a member of the Highland Park Conservative Temple-Congregation Anshe Emeth and Har Sinai Temple in Pennington, where his grandfather and great-grandfather served as president when it was located in Trenton. He has three children who all attended Schechter.
Schafer owns three Ashley Furniture HomeStores.
Also receiving Sherut L’Schechter awards will be Charles Breverman, Howard Rothschild, and Marc Sessler. Teachers receiving Chai awards are Linda LaVine Brown, Sara Holzner, and Michal Shmuel.