Abraham and Karen Shapiro began attending Chabad of the Five Towns when it occupied a rented office space and struggled each Shabbos to get a minyan. Now, due to the vision, passion, kindness, and warmth of Rabbi Zalman and Rebbitzen Chanie Wolowik, Chabad of the Five Towns enriches the Jewish lives of the hundreds of members who show up for services each Shabbos, and thousands more in the Five Towns at large. Mazal Tov to Chabad of the Five Towns - to the rabbi and rebbetzin - on this remarkable milestone of twenty five years. Abraham and Karen Shapiro feel blessed to be part of this incredible journey and are thrilled to be this year’s dinner honorees. 

The Wolowiks have cared tremendously for the growth and prosperity of the shul as a whole, but also for the individual growth of each and every family. The Shapiro family has grown together with the Chabad of the Five Towns. 

The Shapiros were one of the first ten members of Chabad of the Five Towns. Abraham and Karen recall the shul’s first Simchas Torah, and the Rabbi dancing together with their two daughters, toddlers at the time, Jessica and Amanda. Twenty five years later, the Shapiro's celebrated bat mitzvahs, weddings, births, and baby namings together with Chabad of the Five Towns. Their children and grandchildren - Jessica, Zev, Amanda, Alex, Margalit, and Rivka Esther - all feel part of the Chabad of Five Towns family. 

Both Abraham and Karen grew up with a strong Jewish background. Abraham attended Yeshiva Etz Chaim and Rabbi Jacob Joseph High School.  He davened at Yavna Jewish Theological Seminary, where his father, Rabbi Soloman K. Shapiro was the rabbi. Karen attended Yeshiva Ateres Yisrael and davened at Young Israel of Canarsie, where her father Alvin L. Markowitz was a founding member. Even though neither of them grew up in Chabad, when they moved to Cedarhurst thirty years ago they both became “Chabadniks”.

Abraham received his Bachelor of Science degree Cum Laude from SUNY Albany and his MBA from CUNY Baruch College. He also holds a Nursing Home Administrator License and Life Health, Property, and Casualty Insurance Sales Licence, both from New York State. Abraham worked for twenty years as an equity options floor trader while a Member of the American Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange Options Floor. In the last fifteen years, Abraham has worked at New York City Health and Hospital for Coler Nursing Care and Rehabilitation Center. Karen works as a teacher at HAFTR Early Childhood department. 

Both their daughters attended HAFTR elementary and high school, seminary in Israel, and Queens College. Jessica and Zev Kahane, with their daughter Margalit, live in Teaneck. Jessica, while pursuing a masters in marketing, works for NCSY and Zev is a Rebbe at The Moriah School of Englewood. Amanda and Alex Israeli, with their daughter Kiki, live in Queens. Amanda is a Nurse at NYU and Alex is an occupational therapist.

The Shapiros are incredibly grateful to Chabad of the Five Towns, and Rabbi and Rebbitzen Wolowik, for being with them every step of the way and for all that they do for the Jewish community. They wish the entire community another twenty five years of growth and prosperity.


Jackie and Haim are both new to the United States. Haim was born in Russia and raised in Israel, and Jackie was born in Argentina and raised in Paraguay. They moved to the United States in 1999 and moved to the Five Towns six years ago. They are the proud owners of Service Master by GBS Restoration which helped hundreds of families in recovering their homes and businesses from mold, water, and fire damages.

The Svartz couple brought three wonderful kids to this world, Gal, 16; Benjamin, 15; and Sophia, 12. The entire family is very active in the Jewish community and they are always trying to grow the Chabad family. Gal and Benjamin are members of CTeen and Sophia is in Hebrew School. They love being a part of the Chabad youth activities.

The Svartzes are dedicated parents who always support their kids in any decisions they make, and fight to achieve success and happiness for each of them. Their motto is “Honoring parents is one of the hardest commandments in the Torah.” Although they are always challenged in raising their children in the right path, Rabbi Meir and Hadassah Geisinsky have helped them tremendously. They have given them guidance and made them feel like a part of their family. They hope to continue to be inspired and grow with this wonderful community.



Paula Friedman welcomes new and old faces at Chabad of the Five Towns and is a good friend to everyone. She is a loving wife to Avi, mother to Stephanie and Yechiel, and grandmother to new baby Sammy. While she firmly supported her children as they attended YCQ, Central, DRS, Netiv Aryeh in the Old City, and Binghamton, her Jewish education continues every day with shiurim in person and via chat, and regular attendance at shul.

We have all heard the refrain, “It Takes A Village To Raise A Child.” These days, villages are hard to come by and many mothers, elderly, and ill are mostly left to handle issues, big and small, on their own. Enter Paula Friedman. She is always there to help anyone she senses needs an extra boost. Rides to doctors’ appointments, meals, babysitting, errands. Her appointment calendar is jam packed filled with other people’s appointments!

On Shabbos at Chabad, she is one of the first to head to the kitchen as one of our beloved Kiddush Ladies. Paula still remembers Simchas Torah in the Bostoner Rebbe's apartment above the shul where she would help serve cholent and cholepshes (stuffed cabbage) as each person would come up after aliyah to make kiddush.

Paula was born in the Boston area in a Jewish traditional family. Shabbat was celebrated though not observed. Paula was in first grade in public school and hated it. When Paula’s Cuban born mother, Marta, a’h, saw an advertisement for free Sunday school for public school children, her father, Irving, a’h, took her to Sunday school and she remembers being so happy there. A few weeks into Sunday School, Rabbi Gurkow told her father he was starting a girls’ elementary school in Shaloh House. The rav asked if Paula would be interested in going. Paula remembers her six year old self feeling ecstatic at leaving public school. Her brother, Jonathan, a’h, went to preschool at Shaloh House as well but then the classes were only girls so he was sent to Lubavitch Yeshiva. Eventually Paula ended up in Yeshiva Tomchai Temimim-Lubavitch Yeshiva-New England Hebrew Academy. Rabbi Meir's wonderful grandfather, Rabbi Joshua T. Kastel, ran the school at that time.

As time went on, under the auspices of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt’l, they participated in every campaign as it started. They were privileged to be a part of mezuzah, tefillin, Mi Hu Yehudi, and then came candle lighting when she was a teenager. Paula still has a candleholder that was given out. She remembers the school always keeping the girls busy. They sang and visited nursing homes and sick children in hospitals. They packed hundreds of shalach manos. The girls had at least one Shabbos a year in Crown Heights. Paula remembers excitedly waiting in a crowded hallway to say “Good Shabbos” to the Rebbe and another time waiting for him to pass by on his way from 770 to home between Minchah and Ma’ariv to have a millisecond to wish him “Good Shabbos.” When the Rebbe began handing out dollars, he made sure to send to their school.)

Paula made the move to New York to attend Touro College. She met her husband Avi and they lived in Queens for a while before settling in to Cedarhurst. Paula and Avi met Rabbi Wolowik when they moved in because Chabad was what she was always familiar with. They tried other shuls too but were always warmly welcomed at Chabad—especially by her dear friend Leah Muller. Bill Muller asked Paula to help with a mailing while the shul was still in the storefront. She couldn't say no and attributed this to how she became a part of the shul. At some point, Paula was asked to arrange two weeks of meals for families that had new babies. This also led to shivah meals. She also helps picking up pushkas, dropping off flyers, helping at assorted events, subbing at Gan Chamesh, and servicing of the Shabbat hospital suite in St. Francis with Tova Brill and Elina Gavrilova.

Paula’s last encounter with the Rebbe was when she was visiting a friend erev Shemini Atzeres in Crown Heights with Stephanie. All of a sudden, word went out that the Rebbe was giving out dollars. She still remembers the big smile her 13 month old got from him.

While her husband can be a tough lawyer by day, Paula notes, throughout all of her endeavors, “Avi always encourages me to do what I can. He is the best partner in the world



Ahuva and Moshe Rubel are native FIve Towners, both born and raised in the community in which they are now raising their beautiful children, Rosie, a Gan Chamesh student, and Aaron. 

What is especially exciting for Chabad of the Five Towns is that Ahuva is the very first Gan Chamesh nursery school graduate - a member of the first class - to have a child in Gan Chamesh! Her paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Barry and Sandy Goldsmith, always felt very supported in their Yiddishkeit through Chabad of the Five Towns and were active members of the shul from early on. 

Throughout various points in Ahuva’s life, Chabad has played an influential role. She states that her brother, who has special needs, was greatly supported by Chabad as he integrated into yeshiva and that it is to Chabad’s credit that he is in yeshiva today. One of her brother’s Friendship Circle volunteers remains one of his closest  friends. Now a pediatric nurse at South Nassau Communities Hospital, Ahuva warmly recalls, while in high school, volunteering with Friendship CIrcle and going to the Wolowik home before Pesach to help prepare - peeling potatoes - and soaking in the excitement of Yom Tov. She is forever grateful for her early education at Chabad, which, she says, instilled within her a love of Torah. 

Moshe grew up in Lawrence and attended Darchei Torah and Yeshiva of Far Rockaway High School. He is a therapist and also works as a beloved rebbe at HANC Middle School and HAFTR High School, and as a social worker at Ohel Beis Ezra.  

True community leaders, we are thrilled to honor this beautiful family tonight and are blessed to have had the privilege, for decades, of being part of the extended Goldsmith-Rubel family.