Liora Lew Endowment Fund for BEKI Established by Yaron Lew
Liora Lew, wife of BEKI’s President Yaron Lew, passed away in June 2020 from an aggressive cancer diagnosed just two months earlier. To honor her memory, he has established the Liora Lew Endowment for the Advancement of Youth Education and Youth Activities at Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel, managed and administered by the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven.
“I was trying to recall all the things she loved about BEKI,” Lew explained. “Liora loved the community, the comradery, the schmoozing, putting up the Purim decorations and helping drive elderly congregants to and from services. But without a doubt, Liora’s greatest passion at BEKI was youth education and youth activities.”
They raised three daughters—Daphne, Dana, and Maya—at BEKI, and his wife spent many years helping at BEKI Religious School [BRS]. “Liora was instrumental in establishing BEKI’s Benei Mitzva Program,” Lew said, “and she loved leading the Saturday morning Shabbat Havura for the preschool children.”
“She loved the Benei Mitzva Program too,” Ina Silverman, principal of BRS, added. “When I was teaching those kids, she gave me a great idea for that program. Liora had a model for a practical literacy curriculum on which kids could continue their own Jewish education, and I adopted it.”
“She had a vision for the program,” Silverman continued. “Liora wanted the kids to have the joy that knowing your heritage and practicing its traditions can give. She had a knack for those young teenagers. She had rapport with them, and with other age groups as well. She was a lovely, lovely person.”
Lynn Brotman worked with her on BEKI events such as Purim celebrations and social gatherings at the synagogue. “When I think of Liora,” Brotman said, I always think of a warm, smiling face that greeted everyone as we entered the shul, and an enthusiastic team player in event decorations and planning.”
“We had three sons parallel in age to her three daughters,” Dr. Jennifer Botwick said. “Her youngest daughter and my youngest son, Jacob, went to BEKI and Wilbur Cross together. I most appreciated her respectful acceptance and interactions she had with Jacob. He has Down Syndrome, and Liora never acted or spoke or did anything differently around Jake. Doing so was a terrific model for her girls, as well for others, especially other adults!”
“I witnessed a gracious and soulful woman, full of ruach and caring. A most definite Eishet Chayil,” Botwick added.
“Liora already has a leaf on the BEKI Tree of Life wall,” Lew said, “but I wanted something more. I want to ensure that what she liked so much will have additional funding to expand. There is no doubt in my mind that Liora would have enthusiastically supported this cause, and I’m sure BEKI will put these funds to good use. I’ve always appreciated how BEKI’s endowments help keep BEKI financially strong and help advance the many causes our members feel passionate about.”