lamplighters Annual gala dinner - Pinteleh

february 25, 2018 | 10 adar, 5778

Dear Friends & Fellow Lamplighters,

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  For an uplifting, energetic evening. For listening to the vulnerable stories of our Lamplighters. For the opportunity to remember-- yet, again-- how dynamic and authentic our community is. For recognizing how vital our work is-- here, and beyond. For believing in us. For supporting our cause. And most importantly, for putting our children first.  
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for standing with us and showing us so much generosity. You showed us how much you believe in us.

Please, scroll down and click to re-live the magic of Pinteleh.


Watch the Pinteleh Gala Highlights!

Be inspired by the Pinteleh Stories

Meir Crayk - Life is Precious

Meir and his wife Chanie are the proud parents of six amazing children, three of whom are proud students at Lamplighters Yeshivah. Together, they’ve been through a lot in their life and they’re journey has shown them how very precious life is. Meir and Chanie appreciate the power of positive thinking in having a real effect on outcomes for the better, and have refused to let loss slow them down.

They feel their children are blessed to be a part of the transformative and revolutionary educational model that is setting a new precedent in Jewish education where each of us have unique contributions to offer the world, each of us can help illuminate the darkness with our light.

Dovid Schack- Finding Your Inner Voice

Dovid Schack is soon to be the first alumnus of both Lamplighters Yeshivah and our affiliated prototype high school program in which its students are co-desigining their school experience with their educators. Dovid experienced the educational methods of numerous schools before attending Lamplighters for middle school, including his parents Montessori school in Chicago, and traditional schools. He will be speaking about his own journey from being a kid with no voice in the “System” to a student-mentor (and science teacher!)-- and how Lamplighters supported his process of owning his story. 

pinny gniwisch - I am not broken

Pinny is a biking enthusiast, professional omelet maker, successful marketing guru, well-loved college professor, warm rabbi and above all, father to six kids who sometimes behave. Pinny has traveled the globe sharing his love for Judaism as chaplain in the Boy Scouts, joining two national and one international jamborees. In 1999, together with his brothers, Pinny launched the first internet jewelry company out of LA,, and has since then been a sought after voice in the field of e-commerce marketing. 

For the past 23 years, Pinny and his wonderful wife Dinie have raised a beautiful family in snowy Montreal, Canada and his children have gone on to make their own impacts in the communities they’ve joined, including our very own Rabbi Leibel Gniwisch, beloved Rebbie in the Lamplighters Middle School.

Mendel Jacobson - Good is not good enough 

One could say Mendel is the “poster boy” for the traditional Chabad education system. He grew up with Yiddish and Hebrew at home and was a successful student in Ohlei Torah, always at the top of his class. After a year of shlichus in Florida, he completed his smicha in the world renowned program in Melbourne under Rabbi F. Levin. He then got married and studied at the Crown Heights Kollel. He was drawn to teach at Lamplighters because of the value it places on communication skills as a core component in a child’s education. Mendel realized this was the missing element in his education and is passionate about bringing these values to his students every day. 

Sossie lazarus - Sholom's Story

When Sossie’s son Sholom was diagnosed with autism at eighteen months old, she resolved to make the best possible life for him-- whatever it would take. Lamplighters’ individualized approach to education made it the ideal choice to give Sholom the opportunities every child deserves. Now, he is a fully-integrated student at the school. In addition to being passionate about the work Lamplighters does, Sossie is a rockstar mom of four and is on the board of The Friendship Circle in Crown Heights and Soul II Soul.

Yocheved Sidof - The Outcasts

Bridge-builder. Community-activist. Dreamer-and-doer. Ever since the eleven year old Yocheved Sidof discovered a dusty Psychology textbook in her grandparents home,  she has been enamored with the question “what makes people tick?” In 2010, after ten years as a photographer, filmmaker and educator in the non-profit sector, Yocheved was compelled to challenge normative models of education and create a school for her eldest child. She co-founded Lamplighters Yeshivah, where she serves as the Founding Executive-Director. Under her leadership, Lamplighters grew from a hopeful endeavour to a fast-growing movement in education reform. She is a sought-out writer, speaker and facilitator in diverse communities on many topics. Yocheved, wife and mother of four, was selected as a Wexner Field Fellow in 2017, awarded the Perkins Awards for the most exceptional body of work in Seth Godin’s altMBA and The Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36 of 2014 for her pioneering work. Her family is about to welcome a new addition: Yocheved is plenty scared, her kids are outright exuberant. 

see the magic moments

Thank you Eliau Piha for capturing these incredible pictures

read the tribute journal online

Lamplighters created a beautiful dedication journal to distribute at this year’s gala, Pinteleh. More than a typical ad journal, our magazine-style book is a collection of compelling content, art, and moving stories of our community.