Simhat Torah Honorees

Temple Israel of Great Neck is very happy to introduce to you our 2023/5784 Simhat Torah Honorees:

Dr. Mahvash and Daniel Abitbol

Kallat v’Hatan Torah (bride and bridegroom of the Torah)

For more than 37 years, Mahvash and Daniel Abitbol have celebrated family lifecycle events at Temple Israel, including the b’nai mitzvah of their daughters, and regularly attending Shabbat and holiday services. Dr. Abitbol was part of the 2020 adult bat mitzvah class, which she said was very informative and congenial. She also regularly attends Sisterhood programs.

Mr. Abitbol, who is now retired, had been in the real estate management and computer business. Dr. Abitbol, who earned her medical degree in Tehran, did her residency in radiology and was on the faculty of the NYU Medical Center. She then went into private practice and was active in a number of professional societies, attending international meetings and lectures.

The Abitbols have three daughters. Their eldest, Monique, the director of design management at Tiffany’s, is married to Richard Siminou, the principal of Siminou Wealth Management. The couple has three children, Julia, Ava and Jack. Their daughter Roxanne, a dermatologist, is married to Richard Feldstein, who is a gastroenterologist. The Feldsteins have three sons, Jordan, Justin and Jacob. The youngest Abitbol daughter, Valerie, and her husband, Noah Bilenker, are both attorneys. Their children are Jillan and Eli. All of the Abitbol daughters attended the Temple Israel Religious School and Waxman High School.

Mara and Dr. Ezra Kassin

Kallat v’Hatan Beresheet (bride and bridegroom of Genesis)

Mara and Ezra Kassin have both been active in congregational life. Mrs. Kassin, whose parents belonged to the congregation, grew up at Temple Israel. Dr. Kassin served as president of the Men’s Club for four years, initiating a number of innovative programs during his time of leadership of the group, during COVID. He now serves as the program chair of the club. He has also served a term on the Temple Israel Board of Trustees and regularly attends Shabbat and holiday services. Mrs. Kassin, a founding member of Golda, has also been active in school activities.

The couple has three sons, Elliott, 14, and Aaron, 12, both students in the Waxman High School, and Jacob, 8, who attends the Kulanu Religious school. The Kassins are the niece and nephew of Simhat Torah honorees Linda and Brent Greenspan.

Mrs. Kassin, an award-winning actress, producer and writer, produced the Oscar winning short film “Curfew” and has recently forayed into narrative podcasts, including “American Heritage” and “The Foxes of Hydesville.” She also recently starred in an episode of “Law & Order.”

Dr. Kassin, an anesthesiologist, is the medical director of operating room services at Long Island Jewish Hospital. He is also the director of orthopedic and regional anesthesiology at the hospital.

Linda and Brent Greenspan

Kallah v’Hatan Maftir (chant the Haftarah  from the Book of Joshua)

Former Temple Israel Vice President Brent Greenspan and his wife, Linda, have long been deeply involved in the workings of the congregation. The couple joined Temple Israel 24 years ago when they moved to Great Neck, drawn to the congregation by Mrs. Greenspan’s brother who was already a member. Later, their niece and nephew, fellow Simhat Torah honorees Mara and Ezra Kassin, also joined Temple Israel.

During their years of membership in Temple Israel, Mr. Greenspan served as a member of the Board of Trustees, followed by two terms as vice president. He has chaired the Finance Committee, Ritual Committee, Technology Committee, Nominating Committee, Memorial Concert for Cantor Sobel Committee, and, along with Mrs. Greenspan, chaired two dinner dance committees. He also heads the committee selecting clergy for the High Holy Days, is a member of the Waxman Memorial Committee, and currently serves as the co-chair of the congregation’s Finance Committee.

In addition to co-chairing the gala committees, the Greenspans also participated in the Temple Israel retreat in Glen Cove.

Mr. Greenspan, a trustee in the Village of Kensington, is a retired Citibank executive, where he focused on project management, internal controls and risk management. During his 43 year professional career he specialized in information technology in various industries, including entertainment, consumer products and financial services. He now heads his own professional services firm. Mrs. Greenspan, a CPA, has held multiple administrative and support positions in cosmetic and medical dermatology for more than 25 years. She currently works as a medical receptionist at a dermatology practice and is the office manager at a medical spa. The couple met when they both worked at Paramount Pictures.

The couple’s son, Brandon, and his wife, Leah, live in San Antonio. Brandon works as a data scientist for a major retailer. He participated in a Temple Israel Players production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Leah is a human resources business partner with a global healthcare communications firm. The Greenspan’s daughter, Amanda, is a third-year medical student. She spent a year in Israel at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design as part of her college fine arts program. The Greenspan’s children both attended the Temple Israel Religious School and became b’nei mitzvah with the congregation.