Rachel & Jay Jubas

Guests of Honor

When Jay and Rachel decided to relocate to the tristate area in 1996, a key factor in selecting a community was the presence of an excellent Jewish Day School for their young children. Though they initially thought they would only live in Stamford for a couple of years, the warm and welcoming Stamford community ended up drawing them in, and at the center of that community was Bi-Cultural. Two decades later they remain grateful to Bi-Cultural for the foundation it provided for their children and for its pivotal role in strengthening our Jewish community.

As advocates for the importance of Jewish education, Rachel and Jay have been strong supporters of Bi-Cultural from the start. Jay has been a board member and an executive committee member for over ten years serving on the development, finance and multiple search committees. Jay and Rachel are also involved in many other institutions particularly their synagogue, Congregation Agudath Sholom, where Jay is a popular teacher and weekly Torah reader. Rachel has served on the CAS board, chaired the mikvah committee and bar/bat mitzvah committee and is a member of the ritual committee. They are also involved in AIPAC and in the Etzion Foundation. Professionally, Jay is a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Co, specializing in the telecommunications, media, and high tech industries. Rachel is a psychiatrist focusing on the treatment of anxiety disorders and OCD and on women’s reproductive psychiatry

After graduating from Bi-Cultural, Rachel and Jay’s children continued to be engaged in Jewish life, including taking on leadership roles in Jewish and Israel advocacy organizations on their respective college campuses. Ben (class of 2004), Talia (class of 2007), Daniel (class of 2011) and Maya (class of 2016) all attended SAR High School, where Maya is a junior. Following high school, Ben and Daniel both studied for two years at Yeshivat Har Etzion (Gush) and then attended Princeton University, where Daniel is a sophomore. Talia studied at Migdal Oz and graduated Cornell University School of Arts and Sciences in 2016. Ben currently works in private equity, and Talia is a first grade teacher at SAR Academy and will be starting medical school in the fall.

Jill & Mitchell Kaplan

Community Service Award

As a child, Jill saw her mother, Marsha, active in their synagogue sisterhood, volunteering and fundraising for Tay Sachs, and always baking the best things for school bake sales. She saw the impact volunteering made in her community, and she began volunteering at the Leventhal Sidman JCC in Newton at the age of 13, running the gift shop. In the years to follow, she was involved in numerous organizations including CJP, assisting in tapings for the Shoah visual history archive.

Jill has been a steady volunteer at Bi-Cultural since her daughter, Jaye, was in nursery school. Active in the Parent’s Association for 10 years, her involvement included: Parent’s Association co-president for two years, communications chair, director of social events, co-chairing of the BBQ, co-chairing the Celebration Dinner and co-chairing the auction. In addition, she has donated her skills to numerous design and printing projects for the school over the years.  

“Bi-Cultural provided a wonderful sense of community and we all developed great friendships here,” Jill says, “Our kids have received an excellent education in a nurturing environment, and we loved that there were opportunities to be involved as a parent.” 

Along with her volunteer work at BCHA, Jill is a co-chair of 3Square, a United Jewish Federation Women’s Philanthropy project. Stamford Public School students identified as “at risk” for going hungry on the weekend receive a bag of food thanks to this project and its steady volunteers. Jill has also donated her time and talent to the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Hospital, the Stamford Chapter of Hadassah, and taught arts and crafts classes for young children at the JCC. She currently serves on the board of UJF and is the co-chair of the Parent’s Association Speaker Series at Eagle Hill School in Greenwich.   

Mitchell founded Kaplan Public Service Foundation along with his brother, David. The Kaplan Public Service Foundation provides citizen leaders with opportunities to become more involved with members of the US Military and their missions. These citizens meet soldiers and learn about what the US armed services do to protect all US citizens. They then take that information and share it with family and friends in their communities. In addition to base visits, the foundation regularly ships robust care packages to deployed soldiers, letting them know they are not forgotten.  

Jill, a native of Metro Boston-Newton, is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology and was very active in her college Hillel. She worked as a graphic designer prior to becoming a full-time mom and community volunteer. Jill loves to bake - bread, cheesecake, cookies...name it. If she’s asked nicely, she may deliver something to your door.

Mitchell was raised in Stamford and attended Bi-Cultural (class of 1977). He is a graduate of Cornell and Brooklyn Law School and is a real estate attorney in private practice. In addition, Mitchell is a member of the Civil Air Patrol (Maj. USAF Aux.). His parents, Dena and Jay moved to Stamford not long after they wed. Dena’s parents, Sarah and Nathan, were one of the founding families of Agudath Sholom and Dena was a teacher at Bi-Cultural for many years.

Jill and Mitchell have lived in Stamford since 2001 and are members of Temple Beth El and the JCC. They have two children, Jaye, a BCHA sophomore and Ethan, a seventh grader who attended Bi-Cultural through 4th grade. They enjoy traveling and went to Israel this past November where they made Ethan’s Bar Mitzvah at Masada!  

Class of 2004

Alumni Award

Morah Elana Trombka

2019 Jane Shoztic Memorial Award

Morah Elana Trombka loves teaching middle schoolers.

“People always tell me middle school is such a hard age,” she says. “But I really love it. It’s such a special and fun age to work with every day. I try my best to make learning come alive. I get so energized when I teach!”

That strong connection with her young students, coupled with her passion for Jewish education and her knack for bringing her lessons to life, make BCHA middle school Judaics studies teacher Morah Elana the perfect person to receive the 2019 Jane Shoztic Memorial Award. The award is presented annually to a member of the BCHA staff in recognition of his or her dedicated service to the school community. 

That strong connection with her young students, coupled with her passion for Jewish education and her knack for bringing her lessons to life, make BCHA middle school Judaics studies teacher Morah Elana the perfect person to receive the 2019 Jane Shoztic Memorial Award. The award is presented annually to a member of the BCHA staff in recognition of his or her dedicated service to the school community.

Morah Elana’s love for Jewish studies was nurtured in her hometown of Silver Spring, Maryland. Following high school graduation, she headed to Israel, where she studied at Yeshivat Sha’alvim for Women for two years. Upon her return, she received a full scholarship to Stern College, as a part of the school’s Legacy Heritage Jewish Educator Project. At Stern, she majored in Jewish education, with a minor in psychology. She went on to receive a Masters degree in Bible from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. 

If there is one word to define Morah Elana it just might be the word “ruach” — an ebullient and infectious school spirit that she brings not only to her classroom, but also to the many programs and activities she voluntarily takes part in outside the classroom: programs and activities like Ayeka, Bechol Levavecha, Chidon HaTanach, Shabbatons, Color War, Standards and Benchmarks, and more.

For Morah Elana, at the top of that list is the Bi-Cultural Israel Experience, an extraordinary exploration of the Jewish state taken by BCHA’s 8th-grade class each year.

“I have chaperoned the trip for the past two years and look forward to going again this year,” she says. “I find it so meaningful to bring children to Israel. I see it as a true blessing.”

Not that teaching and Israel are the only recipients of Elana’s spirited attention. Describing herself as a “big sports fan,” she follows several of hometown teams, including the Redskins, Capitals, Orioles and Wizards.
“I got permission to wear the same jersey to school for over a week last year when the Capitals were in the Stanley Cup championship...which they won,” she laughs.

These days Elana is happy to call BCHA home.
“I came to give a model lesson at Bi-Cultural just as a means of practice, because I live in Manhattan and thought a job in Connecticut would be crazy,” she explains. “I didn't think I’d fall in love with the school that day, but I did, and haven't regretted it since.”