Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen, Village Manager John Lockerby, Police Chief Anthony Scarpelli, Corporation Counsel Michael Lorge, and Vicky Varga toured Fasman Yeshiva High School and Hebrew Theological College

Proud to join Hebrew Theological College as Director of External Affairs

September 1, 2017 – Hebrew Theological College is pleased to announce that Shalom Klein has been appointed in a newly created role of Director of External Affairs. In this position, Klein will work with the Beis Midrash & College for Men, Blitstein Institute for Women, Fasman Yeshiva High School and Yeshivas  Hakayitz on leading marketing strategy, public relations efforts and expanding HTC’s presence online and in the community.
Over the past few years, Rabbi Joshua Zisook has overseen the marketing at HTC and we thank him for all of his efforts.  Going forward, Rabbi Zisook will assume a more active role in alumni relations, while continuing his roles in the admissions departments of the college and high school.
“I am enthusiastic about bringing innovative initiatives to HTC which has a nearly 100-year-history,” Klein said. “The programs, faculty and administration of this incredible institution provide so much to our Chicagoland Jewish community. I embrace the opportunity to help bring this message to new audiences, in addition to the thousands of alumni and committed supporters.”
Rabbi Shmuel L. Schuman, CEO of HTC said about Klein, “We are very excited to add Mr. Shalom Klein to our team here at HTC.  As Director of External Affairs, Shalom will play a critical role in showcasing the many institution-wide HTC programs and accomplishments of our students. We are confident that with Shalom’s enthusiasm and strong history of community service, HTC will be visible and more relevant to our stakeholders in Chicago and beyond.”
Prior to accepting this role, Klein has been working with Fasman Yeshiva High School as the College and Career Guidance Counselor and he will continue to work with families and students in offering strategies for education and professional success. Klein also has been the leadoff instructor for the new entrepreneurship classes offered by HTC’s College for Men.
Shalom hosts a weekly radio show, Get Down To Business with Shalom Klein on AM 560 in Chicago. He has serves served as Executive Director of the Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park, Chairman of the Village of Skokie Economic Development Commission and many small business and employment task forces in Illinois and at the White House. Shalom earned his M.A. from Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership and is currently completing his doctorate in educational leadership.
Shalom Klein can be reached via email at
About Hebrew Theological College
Hebrew Theological College, founded in 1921, is committed to producing Torah-imbued college graduates who will serve the Jewish community and humanity through their professional and personal vocations. Hebrew Theological College provides coursework leading to undergraduate degrees in Judaic Studies, Accounting, Business, Education, English, Health Sciences, Psychology and Speech and Language Pathology. In addition to the two college divisions – the Men’s Beis Midrash/College program and the Blitstein Teachers Institute for Women – Hebrew Theological College also includes the Fasman Yeshiva High School preparatory division for young men. Hebrew Theological College is a member of the Touro College and University System, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and a partner in serving our community, supported by the Jewish Federation/Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. For more information on Hebrew Theological College, please go to

Skokie Review: Skokie Yeshiva students lend hand to Harvey victims in Houston

Seniors from Skokie’s Fasman Yeshiva High School visited Houston Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 to Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 to help with cleanup efforts from hurricane Harvey. Others in the area joined with them to help with cleanup efforts. (Fasman Yeshiva High School/Chicago)

Under normal circumstances, high school seniors at Fasman Yeshiva High School in Skokie would have be found in classrooms last week getting into the groove of a new academic year.

Instead, nearly two dozen seniors and others associated with the Skokie school stepped away from the classroom for a couple of “unforgettable days,” as one student called them, to join the relief efforts in Houston.

The group left Wednesday, Sept. 6 and returned two days later, flying out of O’Hare Airport. They said they were glad they went even if they were a little bleary-eyed from all their work.

Rabbi Shmuel Schuman, CEO of Hebrew Theological College of which the high school is one division, said the school includes eight students from Houston as well as alumni from there.

“With those connections and the magnitude of the destruction, there was a sense of not wanting to be observers,” he said. “We wanted to be players.”

By the time Hurricane Harvey struck southeast Texas, including Houston, Aug. 25, it had been officially downgraded to a tropical storm. Still, it left in its wake record rainfalls that led to massive flooding, causing people to flee from there homes. Some who didn’t leave, initially, later had to be rescued.

Even if the Skokie visitors knew about storm Harvey’s devastation beforehand, being in Houston provided a whole new level of understanding, they said.

“When I saw what happened — when I actually saw the destruction with my own eyes — I was actually shocked,” said Jonathan Kosowsky, a senior from Dallas. “My immediate reaction was ‘what can I do to help these people and get their lives on track?'”

The students at Skokie Yeshiva, the name Fasman Yeshiva High School is commonly called, said the sight of damaged houses with destroyed belongings out front — house after house, street after street — will never be forgotten.

In one house Koswosky worked at, he said a woman lost many of her belongings including an irreplaceable set of pictures.

“It was a whole collection of photo albums just destroyed,” he said. “I don’t have it in my heart to say how sad that was because they were photos with her grandmother when she was a child and with her siblings.”

Eli Adelerstein, 17, another Skokie Yeshiva senior from Dallas, said the owner of one house he worked at was still in denial.

“We came in with our demolition tools because the house was filled with mold, but he was still trying to salvage the house,” Adelerstein said.

The Skokie crew wasn’t sure whether to break it to him that things couldn’t be saved or just try to make him feel better, he said.

“People were emotionally stressed out as you could imagine,” Adelerstein said. “Some of what we had to do is not just help people with physical labor but emotionally — just being there for them.”

Senior Yedidyah Rosenwasser, 16, said some of the sights were surreal.

“Basically every single house had six inches of water,” he said. “Basically, every house had to have some grout taken out. Everybody’s carpet was taken out. A lot of the wooden panels were removed from people’s houses.”

Tzadok Cohen, 17, recounted how one woman lost a furniture set she said cost $10,000. As the crew took pictures for insurance, she kept repeating her house was really nice “but we lost everything.”

Volunteers came together from all over to lend a hand regardless of race or religious background, according to the group.

Rabbi Joshua Zisook, Chicago Theological College director of admissions, said 10 of them were removing about 300 Jewish holy books that were moldy and filled with flood water.

“We had to bring them to the sacred burial site, which was located at the parking lot of a synagogue about five blocks away,” he said. “We had about 25 bags and they were so heavy, we didn’t know how to carry them.”

A random stranger stopped his truck and helped transport the books, Zisook said.

Even in the middle of such strenuous physical labor, Skokie Yeshiva faculty took time to hold classes for the students there, they said.

When the group, which included 22 seniors, college chaperones and staff, arrived back at O’Hare Friday , they held their daily morning prayers — “davening” — in a corner of the airport while waiting for buses to arrive. They were then to head, not to home for rest, but to school for classes.

“We have to be appreciative of all the things we have because we were witness to people who have lost a lot of things,” Schuman told the teenagers before morning prayer at the airport. “They don’t have a lot of things that we take for granted like electricity and even a home. That’s got to be our takeaway.”

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Chicago Jewish News: Chicago Jews donate and pitch in to help Houston after Harvey

By Ellen Braunstein, Special to Chicago Jewish News

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic flooding, Jewish Chicagoans have offered in-kind donations and on-site assistance to help greater Houston and its Jewish community rebuild.

“The community has a long road ahead,” said Taryn Baranowski, Chief Marketing Officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. A concentrated community of Jews living in the Meyerland, Bellaire and Memorial areas have homes still under water. Three of five major synagogues and other Jewish institutions sustained serious damage, she said. Ten feet of water flooded a Jewish community center.

From Skokie, 27 Fasman Yeshiva High School seniors flew to Houston with chaperones to assist in the clean-up for 48 hours. The young men helped repair houses and a synagogue, ripped off drywall, pulled up wet carpet and packed up pantries. They unloaded and distributed food and other supplies.

In the Jewish community of Myerland, entire front lawns were littered with ruined furniture and other belongings, said Rabbi Shmuel Schuman, CEO of Hebrew Theological College, which coordinated the student trip with the Orthodox Union and the Houston Federation.

“There’s a lot of appreciation for how hard we are working,” Schuman said. “We’re doing just whatever they want us to do, just helping them get their lives together.”

The volunteer team worked out of Beren Academy, an Orthodox day school, where the cafeteria prepared 1,500 meals a day for volunteers and local residents. The students camped out in basements of Jewish homes undamaged by the floods.

“It’s very bad in some areas,” said Jonathan Kosowsky, a Fasman senior, who helped remove damaged furnishings and debris. “A lot of work needs to be done; sadly we can’t do it all.”

Velvel Loeb, another senior, was glad he could make a dent.  “We could stay here for the next two weeks and have our hands full.”

Senior Tzadok Cohen said he helped clean one Jewish home that took on six feet of water. The damaged holy books were collected and carted off to a Jewish cemetery for a proper burial.

Eight students from Houston attending Fasman were prevented from traveling to Skokie for the start of the academic year the final week of August, said Shalom Klein, director of external affairs for Hebrew Theological College.

The college has made housing arrangements on their Skokie campus for Jewish Texas residents needing temporary accommodations.

Collecting and trucking supplies

In Chicago, Jewish community volunteers collected and loaded two semi-trailer trucks with supplies for hurricane relief.

The effort was coordinated by Michael Lorge and Congregation Temple Beth in Skokie. Over two days, 170 volunteers packaged supplies as long lines of cars dropped them off at a collection point, said Lorge. His appeal went viral on social media.

The items donated included toiletries, new baby and children’s clothes, new toys, toilet paper and paper towels, cleaning supplies and bottled water.

“Everyone watching the images out of Houston had to feel great compassion and great pain,” said Lorge, who persuaded truck drivers to donate their time and fuel for the 16-hour trip to a supply clearinghouse in Houston. “Everyone wants to reach out and help folks in this situation in terms of tangible needs and emotional support.”

A table was set up for volunteers to pen messages of goodwill and support on the 1,000 boxes of labeled supplies. More than 800 cases of water were donated. The donations were not specific to the Jewish community in Houston.

The Jewish Federation of Houston is still seeking funds to aid the community, said Baranowski, whose organization has collected more than $8 million. To make the community whole again, she estimates $30 million will be needed. To stay updated on appeals for help, visit the federation’s Facebook page at

“We are so thankful for the outpouring of support from across the country and the world,” Baranowski said. “We’re a very resilient community and know we all have to work together to get through this.”

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