Toby Einsidler has served as Park East Synagogue’s administrator for more than five decades. Her popular Shabbat and Holiday programs for children have instilled in generations of our youngest members a love for Jewish traditions and pride in their Jewish heritage since 1975, embodying Park East’s commitment to Jewish identity and values “from generation to generation.”
Toby and her husband, Rabbi Harold Einsidler, Park East’s Ritual Director, are blessed with three children, Sarah, Rivkah and Izzy, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Toby, nee Kahn, at a young age moved with her family to Detroit, Michigan from her native Brooklyn. In her new surroundings, she attended Yeshiva Beth Yehuda as well as attended Highland Park College where she majored in art. Upon returning to New York, she continued her education at the City College of New York, and at Teachers Institute of Yeshiva University.
Prior to Park East, Toby worked as a secretary at Exxon International Oil Company for seven years, where she drafted contracts in connection with the sale of oil and the construction of ships and oil tankers, while also running a Shabbat service for children at Congregation Adereth El.
When the opportunity arose to lead Children Services at Park East, Toby, who always had an interest in teaching, developed a program of Shabbat prayers and games, eventually creating her own unique prayer book, which was copyrighted in 1998 and still in use today. Her program has evolved to include art projects for children that are connected to the parsha of the week. These carefully designed projects can be completed on Shabbat, with many of the materials being assembled beforehand, as well as food-based projects made from fruits and vegetables. The children also enjoy dancing, games, lunch, and reciting Shabbat blessings.
Toby’s favorite holidays to celebrate with the children include Shavuot, when they are honored with certificates that help them feel important and recognized for attending services, and Purim, when the children dress up in costumes and enjoy special Purim crafts. As the children grow, they assist in leading the service and older children join the Synagogue’s Junior Congregation after they reach first grade.
“Seeing the children happy, learning, following the Torah way, and enjoying coming to shul is the best reward,” Toby says. “I want to help them enjoy our Judaism and coming to Shul on Shabbat and Holidays. I hope I’m doing that.”
As Controller, Simcha Shapiro oversees the financial office for Park East Synagogue and the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School. He is responsible for all of the institution’s accounting, including memberships, billing, invoicing and payroll, as well as preparation of all financial statements, governmental and tax filings.
Prior to joining Park East in 2018, Simcha served as Controller of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs for twelve years; he has also held various accounting roles in the private sector. Simcha holds a B.S. in Accounting from the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University. He lives in Queens with his family.
Cassie VanLuvender serves as Park East’s Contact Tracer and Registration Services Manager.