Alumni Spotlights :: Solomon Schechter Day School

Alumni Spotlights

Schechter alumni go on to do great things. They include entrepreneurs, educators, doctors, designers, and more. Here we share some profiles of past students; they have made an impact on their community by taking what they learned at Schechter and applying it to life. We are so proud!

If you graduated from Schechter, please send us an email about what you’re up to! 

Max Beede - Class of 2006 

Although Max Beede graduated from Schechter almost two decades ago, these days you can catch him at Schechter most Friday mornings, wearing a beaming smile in the Beit Tefillah as he participates in our weekly ReLiSh program. 

Max serves as Director of Emerging Leadership at the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, a role that helps him connect young people ages 25-45 to the local Jewish community and welcome new Jewish families to the area. He is also a member of Schechter’s Board of Trustees, providing valuable insights gained from both his professional background and his perspective as a Schechter graduate. As a Board member, Max has observed the innovative ways in which learning at Schechter has adapted through an evolving landscape of education.

Max credits Schechter for keeping Judaism in his life, especially after he continued on to public high school. When he hears people his age wanting to connect again to Judaism, he feels lucky to be comfortable and at home with the Jewish background and knowledge he gained at Schechter. One thing Max loved about his Schechter education was the interdisciplinary approach in which teachers tackled subjects:

“My favorite Schechter memory was reading The Giver in middle school Language Arts. This was more than just a book that fascinated much of our class and spurred much discussion (both in and out of the classroom). Teachers at Schechter were able to cleverly frame it in multiple perspectives and help us critically think about the book in the context of allof our learning. It helped teach us the important skill of forming connections within and between disciplines. We read the book in the contexts of mathematics, rabbinics, visual arts, sciences, the Torah, music, foreign languages, history and more. This was only one example of the ways Schechter was able to leverage its smaller classes and teach across disciplines.”

In his spare time, Max serves as an advisor to the local USY (United Synagogue Youth) chapter, along with his wife, Merissa. There, they are getting to know the current Schechter students and recent graduates, who greet him with hugs and high-fives when they see him at ReLiSh.

What draws Max to ReLiSh? He says, “It is pure joy to see the Schechter community come together in laughter, dance, and song. ReLiSh sets the tone for the weekend by welcoming in Shabbat in an exciting and meaningful way. From the EC to the middle school, we love seeing Schechter students at ReLiSh confidently expressing their Judaism in an encouraging and supportive space.”

Isabella Epstein - Class of 2012

Isabella Epstein is a problem-solver. As a twenty-something woman living in New York City, she wanted to make new friends and enlarge her social circles. But despite being an outgoing and friendly person living in a city with countless museums, restaurants, gyms, synagogues, and more, she found that she — and her friends — felt surrounded by strangers, facing a loneliness epidemic. So she decided to do something about it.

A graduate of Middlebury College, Isabella left her job in investment banking and has embarked upon a whirlwind mission to help young adults connect with people based on age, location, and/or activity. She is creating a startup company called Kndrd (pronounced “Kindred”), aimed at helping people find activities that interest them, connect with people who share similar interests, and coordinate plans to meet in person. Her efforts have been gaining traction: she was featured in an article in Business Insider, was recently invited to present at the South by Southwest Conference about her Emerging Startup, and spoke at the Social Discovery Insights Conference about the need for a refreshed approach to social networking, and her strategy for building “IRL” (in real life) communities. She looks forward to helping people establish friendships over a Pickleball game or at a themed happy hour.

Isabella notes that Schechter had a profound impact on her: she felt surrounded by a close-knit community of friends and teachers. She remembers when one of her parents became ill and the Schechter community provided meals for her family. And it’s not just the other students or families that make Schechter special for her. “For the past 20 years, my Schechter teachers have been supporting me and rooting for me.” She still stays in touch with some of her teachers, who check in with her and act as a sounding board for her ideas. 

How did Schechter shape Isabella’s drive as an entrepreneur? She remembers that Rabbi Chatinover used to collect cans and bottles to raise money to support the 8th grade trip to Israel. From that, she learned that anyone can jump in and make a difference in the world.

“In all the years since I’ve graduated,” she said, “I haven’t found a community like Schechter.”

Anna Stanger-Golden - Class of 2000

Anna Stanger-Golden is a special education science teacher at the Boston Green Academy, a school for students who are overage, under credited and on the dropout pipeline. She is engaged in an initiative to incorporate environmental justice into the school's curriculum and into the hearts and minds of the student body. Currently, her environmental class spends Tuesdays growing food to help students understand the benefits of growing their own food, having plants in indoor spaces, and motivations for eating organic.

"Too often poor communities are targeted for dumping spaces and are neglected when cities make ecological improvements to neighborhoods," says Stanger-Golden. "Often, it's the poorest communities who have the worst air quality, the worst healthcare, and the least access to healthy food. My class of seniors is working to fundraise and build a miniature park in one of their neighborhoods that brings some of this to light." The "parklet" will replace two parking spaces with greenery and potentially interactive education around alternative energy and/or eating a plant based diet.

Stanger-Golden sees a connection between her experience at Schechter and what she is doing today. "It was great to study Talmud with Rabbi Chatinover," she says. "He does a great job helping Middle School students study the texts of our tradition and use then to delve into a conversation about what's right and what's wrong. His class helped shape my strong inclination towards social and environmental justice"

Anna is married to Ben Golden, a lawyer who works for the appeals court in Boston. They live in Jamaica Plain in Boston. She attends yoga classes, run 5K race on occasion, and has become quite the cook. To learn more about her project, visit .

Debi Himelfarb - Class of 1989

After graduating from Schechter in 1989, Debi Himelfarb attended Hall High School and Rutgers College in New Brunswick, NJ. She spent her junior year at Hebrew University in Jerusalem prior to receiving a B.A. in English and Political Science.

In 1997, Debi moved to Washington, DC and began her career in client care. She joined Blackboard, the global leader in e-learning and education software during its early stages in 2003. Eight years later, after the birth of their second child, Debi left her position as Director of Client Support to be a full time mom.

In April 2012, ShalomLearning recruited Debi to be the Vice President of Operations. A startup based in Bethesda, MD, ShalomLearning's mission is to make Jewish education more engaging and accessible for everyone. By blending the best of the traditional classroom instruction with scheduled online discussions, and age-appropriate self paced learning activities, ShalomLearning partners with synagogues and other Jewish organizations to meet the needs of the overscheduled, tech savvy 21st century families.

Debi and her husband Evan live in Rockville, MD with their two sons Dylan and Alec.


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