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Angela and Jacob Buchdahl each grew up as one of the only Jewish students in their public high schools. Nevertheless, their families were both part of small but strong Jewish congregations in their respective communities.

Angela’s father, a Reform Jew, met her mother, a Korean Buddhist, while serving in South Korea with the U.S. Army. Angela was born in Seoul, and her family moved to Tacoma, Washington, when she was five years old. Although not the typical Jewish family, Angela and her family were welcomed into their local synagogue, which her paternal grandparents had helped found a century earlier. Angela was inspired to become a Rabbi when she visited Israel for the first time at age 16. Angela received her undergraduate degree in Religious Studies from Yale and then studied at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and New York and was the first Asian-American to be invested as a Cantor and ordained as a Rabbi. After over a decade at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, in 2006 Angela became the Senior Cantor at Central Synagogue in Manhattan, one of the largest Jewish congregations in North America. In 2014, Angela was chosen as Central’s Senior Rabbi, a role she continues to serve in today. She is the first woman to serve as Senior Rabbi in the synagogue’s 180-year history. Angela is a regular at Heschel as a tefillah leader and speaker on Reform Judaism.

Jacob’s Jewish education began at an orthodox day school in Providence, Rhode Island, until his family moved in 1980 to rural Vermont, where he was the only Jewish student in his third-grade class. His family joined the nearest synagogue -- thirty miles away, in Burlington -- where Jacob went for Hebrew school twice a week until his Bar Mitzvah. Jacob went to college and law school at Yale, and after five years as a federal prosecutor in New York, helped open the New York office of the litigation boutique Susman Godfrey, where he has practiced law since 2007. Jacob joined Heschel’s Board of Trustees in 2010 and the Executive Committee in 2017.

Angela and Jacob met on the very first day of their freshman year at college, but did not start dating until right after spring break of their senior year. They spent the summer of 1995 together in Israel while Angela was at Hebrew Union College and were married in 1997 in Tacoma, Washington. The Buchdahls have three children: Gabriel (now a freshman at Yale), Eli (Grade 11), and Rose (Grade 8). When Angela and Jacob moved to Manhattan from Scarsdale in 2006, they were drawn to Heschel because it embraces the diversity of Jewish practice, allowing students from Orthodox, Reform and Conservative backgrounds to pray and learn together. Angela and Jacob described their time at Heschel as filled with magical Jewish moments, from Publishing Parties and Siddur Ceremonies in the early years to talmudic teachings brought home from the high school. They have watched with joy as their children have developed their own independent Jewish identities, and their entire family’s lives have been enriched by countless Shabbat meals around the table with dear friends from the Heschel community. They feel extraordinarily blessed to have found their way to the Abraham Joshua Heschel School.


Emily and Nathan Gindi share a strong commitment to Jewish values, merging two unique sets of Jewish identity and cultural traditions. Nathan was raised and educated in the Syrian Community in Brooklyn, New York and then Deal, New Jersey and attended Hillel Yeshiva through high school.  Nathan’s religious upbringing was steeped in the rich and deeply venerated traditions of the Syrian Community. Among those traditions are a dedication to traditional Jewish faith, as well as the central role of a closely-knit family. Emily was raised in Port Washington, New York, in a family also deeply committed to Jewish values. Throughout her childhood, Emily’s family was actively involved in their local Reform synagogue, and community, as Emily attended public school. Emily’s Jewish upbringing was strongly impacted by her family’s commitment to tzedakah, caring for the local and worldwide Jewish community, social justice, and a connection to Jewish tradition through food.

Nathan graduated from New York University in 1995 and from George Washington Law School in 1999.  Nathan is the founder of Empire Parks Communities, an owner and operator of manufactured housing communities throughout New York State.

Emily graduated from Emory University in 2000.  She began her career with UJA-Federation of New York as a professional in the Young Leadership Division. Currently, Emily co-owns and works with her family at Acme Smoked Fish Corporation, a fourth-generation manufacturer of smoked fish products.

Emily and Nathan met in 2002, on a UJA sponsored trip to Budapest and Prague.  In raising a family, Jewish education and community were central to Emily and Nathan’s combined values.  While touring Jewish day schools, they were each drawn to the Abraham Joshua Heschel School’s focus on intellectual exploration, integrity, love of the Jewish people and tradition, and social justice.   “For me, sending our children to a Jewish day school was essential.  But I wanted a place where we could authentically be who we are. We found that at Heschel,” said Emily. They hope that their three children, Lynn (Grade 7), Sam (Grade 5) and Hannah (Grade 2) will continue to carry out these values even beyond their school years.

Emily and Nathan have been Heschel parents for 10 years.  At Heschel, Nathan has been a class parent many times. Emily is the Parents’ Association Co-President.  She has been involved with the Auction for several years and sits on the Fall Campaign Committee.



Joia and Joshua Kazam
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Angela and Jacob Buchdahl
Emily and Nathan Gindi
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Elisabeth and Scott Domansky
Nicole Duval and Elai Katz
Elizabeth and Jonathan Lewinsohn
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