BY JOHN MCCURDY / MANAGING EDITOR //
Barnum & Bailey may have laid claim to the “Greatest Show on Earth” title, but what about “Greatest Fundraiser-Dinner-Honor”?
Torah Day School of Atlanta’s 2013 Main Event, “Cirque du Simcha” will celebrate honorees Josh and Jodi Wittenberg and Susan Krohn as well as the school; offer up fantastic items via a silent auction; treat guests to gourmet desserts by Serafina Custom Design Catering; and showcase illusionist Thomas Clark, all in one evening (Sun., Jan. 27).
Could the Ringling Bros. have pulled together so many exciting facets, benefited the cause of local Jewish education, paid tribute to such deserving community members and done it all with such ruach this?
“I’m excited about seeing all the amazing elements come together that night, and seeing all the hard work that my team has put in pay off,” Yelena Hertzberg, event chairperson and TDSA parent, said. “They’ve worked so hard for countless hours to see this come together.”
Hertzberg chaired last year’s Main Event – themed “Back to the Future” and a huge success in its own right – and came back for more this year. When she and the rest of the planning committee decided to eschew the traditional sit-down meal of honor, the idea of creating a circus atmosphere soon emerged.
From there, Hertzberg used her event-planning experiences in Charlotte, N.C. – where she and her family previously lived – to pull in Serafina and Clark. Then came the selection of honorees, which practically fell into place by itself.
“When we realized who we had selected to honor, we saw that it was a perfect, perfect fit for the theme,” Hertzberg said. “The Wittenbergs, they’re such a happy, joyous family…[and] Susan Krohn, she’s just an amazing, well-rounded person.”
Rabbi David Kapenstein, TDSA executive director, concurs and further explains the roles of honorees, beginning with Josh and Jodi.
“The Wittenbergs have been involved in the school for many years. Josh taught at the school several years ago, and Jodi has been on our board and also chairs our annual raffle. She’s involved in so many different aspects of our fundraising, and she’s very creative and one of our most reliable volunteers,” the rabbi said.
Krohn, who will receive the 2013 Distinguished Educator Award, has been with the school since its inception in 1985.
“Kids love her, stay in touch with her and invite her to their simchas: their son’s bris, their wedding, the different occasions in their lives,” Rabbi Kapenstein said. “She really does a fantastic job as a teacher in the school and is so respected by the staff as well.”
Still, as great as these three are, the TDSA students won’t get lost in the shuffle at the “Cirque,” either. The Boys Choir will open for Clark, who travels the East Coast performing for a variety of crowds. Each grade level will also be represented in the auction with themed gift baskets called “Class Treasures.”
Plus, the kids themselves will be treated to their own “mini-Main Event” – which will feature a carnival-like atmosphere, prizes, cotton candy and magicians – one week prior to the adults’ version.
In all, the week should be a blast for the Torah Day community, not to mention an excellent way to raise funds and continue to meet students’ programming, technology and resource needs.
Rabbi Kapenstein reminds us, though, that this is first and foremost a simcha.
“The event is going to be, from the minute you walk in, very celebration-oriented,” he said. “It’s going to be a very enjoyable evening: It will showcase the school and the honorees and make some money for the school at the same time.”
Visit tdsamainevent.com to purchase tickets, make auction donations or obtain more information. Alternatively, call Torah Day School at (404) 982-0800.