Terry and Dennis Eisenberg of Brooklyn will be honored on receiving the Ezra Ben Zion Lightman Award at the NCSY Ben Zakkai Honor Society (BZHS) National Scholarship Reception on Sunday, January 10 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.
NCSY is the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union with the mission of connecting Jewish teens to their heritage through extracurricular activities, weekend retreats, and summer programs. BZHS was founded in 1965 to provide a means of recognizing the achievements of NCSY Alumni who have demonstrated personal Torah growth and the promise of future meaningful service to the Jewish people and the Orthodox community. The society raises critical funds to provide direct scholarships for NCSYers to continue their Jewish education after high school or to participate in various NCSY programs.
“The vitality and success of NCSY is largely a tribute to the devotion, dedication and passion that our inductees and honorees such as Terry and Dennis bring to every aspect of their personal and communal lives,” declared OU National Vice President Dr. David Luchins, the dinner’s co-chair with his wife Vivian, chair of the NCSY Summer Programs Committee.
Terry Leiderman and Dennis Eisenberg were born and raised in the Detroit area. Both their families settled in the suburb of Oak Park; Bessie and Meyer Eisenberg becoming prominent members of the Young Israel of Greenfield while Carolyn and Frank Leiderman became active supporters of the Young Israel of Oak Woods. Each became leaders in their shul and in the community. It became natural for Terry and Dennis to do the same.
As the Central East Region of NSCY was organized, at age 16 Dennis introduced NCSY to the Detroit community and became part of its early leadership. Dennis served as the local president while at the same time ascending to regional and national office. Ultimately, he became the youth director of his synagogue and at NCSY a popular advisor at Central East events.
Not far behind him, Terry Leiderman was joining Junior NCSY when she approached Dennis to switch to the Senior group. She was told she was too young. Years later as she rose in the ranks of NCSY leadership as a chapter president and became the Young Israel Director of Junior NCSY programming, she was no longer too young. Terry and Dennis were married in 1977.
Their early married years were highlighted by their continuing commitment to the youth of the Detroit area and their home was open every Shabbat to teens. Terry continued her education at Wayne State University and Dennis was appointed Executive Director of Akiva Hebrew Day School in Southfield, MI. During his tenure the enrollment grew significantly and the demand for a new school building was necessary. Dennis successfully negotiated the purchase of the Annie Lathrup Elementary School which became Akiva’s new home for many years.
In 1982 Dennis was invited to interview for the position of Executive Director at the prestigious Yeshivah of Flatbush in Brooklyn. He was confirmed by the Board and began his tenure in March of 1983. He continued to serve NCSY as Vice Chair of Ben Zakkai, a Member of the OU National Board, and a member of the National NCSY Youth Commission. In 2000 he was named Executive Vice President of the Yeshivah, assuming an even more comprehensive role in establishing its future agenda and strategic plan.
Terry completed her B.A. at Touro College-Lander College Flatbush Campus and her Master’s in Education at Adelphi University. For the past 19 years she has been a first grade teacher at the Yeshivah of Flatbush, attaining a reputation for excellence.
As members of the Young Israel of Flatbush the Eisenbergs became involved in the shul’s youth program, taking responsibility for many of the programs. Terry joined the Sisterhood and Dennis has served as an Officer and Board Member. Their involvement in the Jewish community has been boundless, giving support to many institutions. They have remained “in touch” with their NCSY roots through keeping many of the cherished relationships they made through NCSY. Terry and Dennis have been involved with every Ben Zakkai Dinner.
Dennis has spent the past three-plus decades building the partnerships and consensus that are so critical to nonprofit growth: unity of purpose, unity among leaders and a unified vision that drives organizations to reach their goals. He spent much of his executive career, 28 years, transforming the Yeshivah of Flatbush, recognized nationwide as a sustainable and educational growth role model.
Beyond that, he maintained a broader focus through his involvement in the national yeshiva day school scene and nonprofit Jewish world. Dennis is often called upon to consult, lecture and mentor the next generations of nonprofit leadership.
In August 2011, Dennis, after having accomplished an illustrious career, stepped down from Yeshivah of Flatbush to pursue establishing DME Partners, a consulting firm devoted to the nonprofit world whereby he can have a greater impact in the areas of leadership, management, finance and fundraising. Through DME Partners, Dennis offers his renowned expertise and spreads his unifying vision for the benefit of the greater nonprofit arena.
In addition, Dennis is a member of the senior staff of Torah Umesorah, The National Society for Hebrew Day Schools. He founded and is the director of their Leadership and Fundraising Academy, teaching and training young men to become executive and development directors and is the Director of the Office of School Sustainability, acting as a resource and consultant to Torah Umesorah’s network of over 700 schools.
Terry and Dennis have called Flatbush their home since 1983, where they raised their children, Renana, Aviva, Mayer and Daniel. All are now married. The four couples live in Teaneck, NJ with the Eisenberg’s five grandchildren.