Young Leadership Award                                                      

For the first time ever, Mishkan Torah’s vaunted Young Leadership Award will be conferred upon an entire family. On Saturday, December 13 at 9:30am, Mark, Karen, Simon, and Eva Loewenstein will be honored with Mishkan Torah’s Fourth Annual Young Leadership Award.  The Award recognizes those younger members of the Congregation who make outstanding efforts and unique and special contributions to the life of the Synagogue. The Award will be presented at a special Shabbat family service that will involve the participation of the Karp Family School, to be followed by a special Kiddush.

The Loewenstein Family epitomizes the high standards of the Young Leadership Award. Mark has been a veritable Mr. Wizard who has ushered Mishkan Torah into the computer age. Mark took over Mishkan Torah’s fledgling website and revamped it to make the website Mishkan Torah’s electronic front door to the world. Not ready to rest on his laurels, Mark later decided that another major revision was needed to further improve the appearance and informational content of the website. This time Simon ably assisted his father in the overhaul and enhancement of the website as his Bar Mtizvah project. 

Mark also has worked to establish and email groups for the Board, Kiddush Helpers, and various committees in order to facilitate communication among members of Mishkan Torah. Mark continues to be in charge of the website, which he updates to list events occurring at the Synagogue. He has also established on-line reservations for events at the Synagogue, including’ of course, the Young Leadership Award presentations. And Mark is Mishkan Torah’s connection to the Greenbelt Community with his periodic online blogs for the Greenbelt Patch. 

About a year ago, Mark added coordinating the Kiddush Helpers for the Saturday Onegs to the duties he performs at the Synagogue. Mark also has joined the High Holiday Honors Committee, which selects the persons for the various readings and honors at the High Holiday Services. Mark developed a computerized system for tracking and administering the myriad High Holiday Honors. Eva helped Mark set this up. Father and daughter developed a spreadsheet listing the various honors, which is filled in with the names and email addresses of the honorees. In addition, all Honors Committee correspondence is now filtered through a dedicated email account. While still requiring a significant time commitment, serving on the Honors Committee is now at least a little easier as a result of the improved logistics. 

Mark has been an avid participant in Rabbi Jonathan Cohen’s Tuesday Night Study Group since 2003 when he first wandered into Mishkan Torah. He is also a frequent Torah reader at Shabbat morning services. Mark has been reading Torah for approximately four years and began chanting Torah after he took Yael Fischman’s Torah Trope class a couple of years ago. Mark is looking forward to his Haftorah reading debut at the Young Leadership presentation on December 13.

Karen's childhood was spent in China and she was entirely unacquainted with Judaism when she came to the states. Mark himself only began practicing Judaism more actively after Simon and Eva arrived on the scene. Karen has been completely supportive of Mark, Simon, and Eva as they have spent a significant number of hours attending services, going to Hebrew School,and attending special events at Mishkan Torah, and she has attended some of the events herself when her busy schedulde has permitted.  Not only has Mark shared his cultural backgroung with the family,but Karen of course has exposed the family to Chinese cultural traditions.  They even spent a year in China, where they did a lot of traveling and especially enjoyed the varied and mouthwatering Chinese food. 

Simon attends Springbrook High in the 10th Grade, while Eva is the 8th Grade at White Oak Middle School. Both Simon and Eva have attended the Karp Family School, and have been active participants in Mishkan Torah’s Youth Group. Simon had his Bar Mitzvah at Mishkan Torah in 2012, and Eva her Bat Mitzvah in early 2014.Simon likes to play the guitar, especially the blues, while Eva plays the viola in the school orchestra and has been on the soccer team. The Loewenstein family has travelled extensively, including the year in Karen’s native China eight years ago, and subsequent trips to Peru and the Canadian Rockies.  

Be there to congratulate this extraordinary Mishkan Torah family on December 13, their special day. Although there will be no charge for the event, we are asking for reservations for planning purposes. You may make reservations and donations in honor of the Loewensteins by using this online form, by filling out the form in the October Trumpet, or by contacting the office.  Should you be kind enough to make donations, you may pay online if you wish.  

The day will be a special one for our honorees. Be there to share it with them.