Naomi R. Feinkind
Naomi grew up in a multigenerational home in Brooklyn, NY, with her parents Esther and Harry Runyon (z”l) and maternal grandparents Bessie and Jacob Keroes (z”l). As an only child, she was fortunate to have her extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins live only blocks away in her Brownsville and later East Flatbush neighborhoods. She attended kindergarten at PS 84 and soon transferred to Bais Rivkah Yeshiva for grades 1-3 and returned to Public Schools for grades 4-12.
Naomi attended SUNY New Paltz where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education. She met Michael in her freshman year. They were married the summer before entering her senior year and will be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary on June 12th. She earned her Master's Degree in Special Education from Lehman College.
Before starting her career in education, Naomi worked for a Madison Avenue Law Firm. She then began substitute teaching for Yonkers Public Schools (YPS) and soon secured a position in the Special Education Department, first as a secondary school classroom teacher, then as a Department Chair responsible for 350 students and 16 faculty members, and subsequently as a Districtwide CSE Chairperson responsible for placing students with special needs in appropriate settings. Presently, as a “retired teacher”, she continues working for YPS, mentoring new teachers and preparing Variance documents for approval by the NYS Education Department.
In 1977, Joshua was born, soon followed by Beth and then Todd. When Josh was four, it was time to go shul shopping and Naomi met with GHC’s Rabbi, Lyle Fishman, who invited the family to attend Simchas Torah services. She and Michael knew they were in the right place when, at first to their horror, they lost Josh in a sea of people, only to find him a few moments later, astride the shoulders of Rabbi Fishman, dancing with the Sefer Torahs. They joined GHC and the rest is history.
Naomi has been involved in many aspects of GHC, beginning with her more than three decades of participation with the Midnight Run. She joined Alex Neuburger (z”l) as co-chair of GHC’s Social Action Committee, where she initiated the Turkey Drop that has served as an example of GHC’s generosity for the past sixteen years. She developed a Holocaust memorial program for Yom Hashoah. She served on the Board of Trustees and as Vice President of Membership twice, with each of the two terms separated by a decade. She was the KOACH/Campus Connection liaison for more than ten years and has served on the Nominating, Cantorial Search, Membership, PJ Library, Security, Constitution Revision and Fundraising committees, as well as the Planning for the Future Task Force. She served as Executive Vice President prior to assuming the Presidency.
On June 2, 2018, after completing Rabbi Stein’s Adult B’nei Mitzvah Class, she became a Bat Mitzvah and was honored to chant a Haftorah for the very first time.
While never imagining herself as a synagogue president, it has been Naomi’s privilege to serve this congregation even when tasked to do so during a worldwide pandemic. She is forever grateful for the support and generosity of time and spirit of her husband, children, and grandchildren. She is appreciative of the support of Cantor Leuchter, Cantor May and Amy Kessler, as well as our GHC Officers, Board Members, Committee Chairs, Office and Custodial Staffs and of the incredible partnership she has forged with Rabbi Jay Stein. Most importantly, she is indebted to the Congregation for their confidence in her ability to lead during times of adversity, as well as in times of prosperity.
The Journal Dinner Committee