PHDS to honor pillars of community at annual program


The Providence Hebrew Day School has named Rabbi Shmuel and Mrs. Leeba Taitelbaum this year’s Amudim honorees. The Taitelbaums will receive their award on June 14, when PHDS holds its 76th annual awards program.

The couple has been associated with the Providence Hebrew Day School/New England Academy of Torah for over three decades.

Rabbi Taitelbaum arrived in Rhode Island as a student at the New England Rabbinical College. Mrs. Taitelbaum came from Louisville, Kentucky, to study at NEAT High School.

After their marriage, Rabbi Taitelbaum joined the faculty of PHDS/NEAT. He oversees the mikveh (ritual baths) and is a member of the Chevra Kadisha (Ritual Burial Society). He is an accomplished sofer (scribe) and mohel (circumciser), and is often consulted for his expertise in matters of practical halakhah (Jewish law).

Mrs. Taitelbaum, a childcare professional, has been an officer on the PHDS/NEAT board, and was an active member of the PTF and the Amudim committee for many years. In addition, as co-president of N’shei Chesed of RI, she arranges meals and offers support services for families in need and is heavily involved in running the local mikveh.

Rabbi and Mrs. Taitelbaum are being honored as amudim (pillars) of community service and chesed (altruism).

Rabbi Raphael Schochet will receive the Rabbinic Leadership Award, in recognition of his 25-year tenure as rosh kollel of the Providence Community Kollel. Rabbi Schochet arrived in Rhode Island with three young Kollel fellows, Rabbis Dovid Schwartz, Dovid Bielory and Jonathan Beck. The Kollel’s programs are a boon to Rhode Island, and the young rabbis continued to serve even after graduating from the Kollel.

Rabbi Schochet’s wife, Tichyeh, of blessed memory, was a beloved teacher and principal at NEAT High School. When Rabbi Schochet remarried, his wife, Kayla, a mental-health professional, joined the school staff to supervise the counseling program.

Rabbi Schochet is a masterful teacher. His daily Daf Yomi and weekly Torah-and-cholent classes have inspired beginners and Torah scholars alike. The Kollel offers ongoing learning opportunities throughout Rhode Island.

The Providence Hebrew Day School honors Rabbi and Mrs. Schochet and thanks the Providence Community Kollel and its lay leadership for their continued support of the school.

Moshe and Elisheva Raskin of Providence are being honored with the Alumnus Award.

Moshe Raskin is a proud graduate of PHDS. After graduating from PHDS with distinction, Moshe attended yeshivot in Atlanta, Israel and Baltimore. Elisheva, who hails from Ottawa, Canada, spent two years in Israel, before earning a Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Toronto.

The Raskins both grew up with strong role models of volunteerism and dedication to the Jewish community. Moshe’s parents have served the Providence community in various roles for over 40 years. In Ottawa, Eli’s mother was instrumental in starting the Jewish day school and volunteers for her shul and the Chevra Kadisha.

Following the example of their parents, Moshe and Eli combine work, caring for their young family and service to the community. Moshe played a very active role during the recent PHDS Building Campaign. Without fanfare, both he and his wife devote time to Congregation Sha’arei Tefilla, in Providence, where he is vice president. Their modesty and loving attitude are a credit to their upbringing and schooling.

The awards program promises to be a unique and inspiring event. To attend or to make a contribution in honor of the awardees, go to or email

RUCHAMA SZENDRO lives in Providence and is a member of the planning committee for Providence Hebrew Day School’s annual awards program.

PHDS, Amudim Awards