It’s the middle of winter, but mark your calendars for May 6th–the night of this year’s WJC Spring Gala. We are busy planning and will be paying tribute to Abby and Gabriel Tolchinsky and Caren and Rich Gerszberg. Not only is the Gala a huge fun party, but also, an important fundraiser for so many of the temple’s fantastic programs. (Now’s a great time to pick up your tickets and reserve your journal ad for the event!)
In this post, we present a bit of background on Abby and Gaby. Next month, we will present Caren & Rich to you.
The Tolchinskys joined WJC when they moved to Larchmont, over twenty years ago. Since then it has served as their spiritual home—an anchor in their family life. Abby jumped in immediately. After dropping their young daughters at pre-school, she spent her free time attending Rabbi Segelman’s weekly Torah classes. She took great joy on Shabbat mornings bringing the children to participate in Tot Shabbat. Abby became involved in the Sisterhood, delivering a Sisterhood Shabbat d’var Torah, chairing Sisterhood Shabbat and volunteering with many other efforts, eventually serving as Co-President of the Sisterhood along with Caren Gerszberg. Additionally, as annual participants in the High Holiday Study Service, Abby served on the planning committee.
While raised in Argentina and Israel in a secular Jewish home, Gaby’s deep knowledge and love of Torah, developed and flourished at WJC. He’s a constant presence at morning minyan, often leading the service. Over the years, he has delivered many moving and thought-provoking talks at the High Holiday Study Service. Along with Robin Nichinsky, Gaby spearheaded the Strategic Planning Committee, a major undertaking from 2012- 2013 Together, the twosome created a model for steering the synagogue forward in these challenging times. Gaby served as an Officer from 2010 to 2015, and as the Treasurer from 2013 to 2015.
Abby is a founding partner of Family Mediation LLP providing legal and mediation services. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School teaching Mediation Theory and Skills and a mediation columnist for the New York Law Journal. She graduated from Barnard College and NYU School of Law.
Gaby is CEO of Bladex, a multi-national Latin American trade finance bank. He attended college at Tel Aviv University then went on to Columbia University where he earned Masters’ Degrees in Applied Mathematics and Statistics.
Today, their three grown children are active in their own Jewish communities. Daniela, a graduate of the University of Chicago, is Director of J Street U and lives in Tel Aviv. Sara, a senior at NYU, studies theater and often sings at various services and programs at WJC. Jonathan, a high school senior at Solomon Schechter, will attend Washington University in St. Louis in the fall and plans to study engineering and design.
Abby and Gaby are delighted to share this honor with the Gerszbergs, the first friends they made when joining WJC. Their combined six children have grown up here together, the boys enjoying play dates since they could crawl. Their bar and bat mitzvahs were celebrated on the WJC bimah and in Jerusalem. Abby and Gaby hope the community, friends and family will all come together to celebrate our remarkable synagogue.