Names, Not Numbers Leadership

Dr. Chaya Friedmann

Chaya Friedmann was born in Hungary and lived in multiple countries including Israel before moving to Brooklyn, NY at the age of 11. Chaya holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate from Gratz College in Jewish Education and Administration. She has worked in Jewish education and leadership for many years, including Head of School of Solomon Schechter Day School in Marlboro for 20 years and Director of Jewish Studies at RPRY for 5 years. 

Chaya has been involved in the Names, Not Numbers® program at RPRY since its inception at the school in 2014 and through the 2015-16 school year. During the summer of 2019, Chaya took over as Names, Not Numbers® Coordinator from Penny Kaplan, who continues to serve as a valuable resource and advisor. In 2021, Chaya introduced an expanded unit on the Holocaust for the 8th graders, to complement the classes taught by Morah Nitza Adler and Rabbi Nachman Lapa. The RPRY Holocaust curriculum has prepared the students well for the intensity of the Names, Not Numbers® program. 


Mrs. Penny Kaplan

As a child of survivors, Penny’s involvement with Names, Not Numbers® since 2015 has enabled her to actively respond to the Holocaust rallying cry of ‘Never Again.’

When the program was first introduced, Penny’s mom, Fay Szylit Baumfeld, along with seven other heroes of the Holocaust, recounted their first-hand experiences of surviving the horrors of the war to the astonished RPRY students. Penny recognized the growing urgency of such testimony in a world with an increasing need to be educated by Holocaust survivors able to relate their own accounts. This testimony has been integral to RPRY’s success with the program over the past decade. 

RPRY has been an invaluable part of the growth of Penny’s children and grandchildren over an uninterrupted string extending more than 35 years. The school elicits in her a sense of gratitude for the many rewarding years as a long-time faculty member. 

Fay, together with her husband Julius (Yoel) - also a Holocaust survivor, surely know their progeny are an enduring legacy and inspiration for the perpetuity of the Jewish nation!


Rabbi Nachman Lapa

Rabbi Lapa has been teaching Judaic Studies to Grades 5-8 at RPRY for the past 28 years. His degrees include a Bachelor of Talmudic Law from Tamudical Semnary/Denver and an Advanced Talmudic Certificate and Rabbinic Ordination from Beth Medrash Govoha. He is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of New Jersey. In addition to teaching and facilitating the Names, Not Numbers® program, he coordinates Torah Bowl, Chidon Hatanach, Pirchei Hasmadah and Mishnayot programs. Rabbi Lapa prepares the 8th grade boys for the Names, Not Numbers program by reviewing with them the events that led up to and transpired during the Holocaust. He guides the boys throughout the interview process and advises them as they create their own Names, Not Numbers movie. “One of the many benefits of the Names, Not Numbers program”, Rabbi Laps explains, “is that it connects our children to our pre-Holocaust Mesorah as they interview people who struggled and survived the Holocaust while they maintained their Jewish identity and heritage”.


Mrs. Nitza Adler

Nitza was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She attended Yeshiva of Flatbush Elementary and High School, Michlalah Jerusalem College for Women. She holds a BA and Hebrew Teaching Degree from Stern College for Women. She grew up with both her parents being educators. In 1989, Nitza moved to Edison and began teaching at RPRY in 1993. She became involved with Names, Not Numbers® when it was introduced to RPRY a decade ago. Rabbi Gross recognized Nitza’s dedication as a teacher of 8th grade girls, particularly in Limudei Kodesh and Historia, as well as her passion for Holocaust education. Married to Russell Adler, a longstanding RPRY board member, they are blessed with children who have graduated from RPRY and now grandchildren who are part of the RPRY community.

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