SPOTLIGHT Co-Chairs Ellyn and Stephen Polakoff: Taking It to the Limit

“We have always said that BT children are real ‘mensches.’ The young adults that graduate from BT are kind, compassionate and confident,” commented Spotlight 2019 co-chair Ellyn Polakoff.
Ellyn and her husband, Stephen, saw those qualities in their children and grandchildren: daughter Dara ‘05, a BT alumna who pursued a law career, and their son and daughter-in-law, Ben and Nancy, whose children Lilly ‘22, Sophie ‘22, and Asher ‘24 attend BT. “We have seen them become immersed in activities including sports, mock trial and many others.  But most importantly we love seeing them become caring young adults with a strong connection to Judaism.”

A Commitment to Beth Tfiloh
The Polakoffs joined the Beth Tfiloh community in 1990, when Dara first attended BT PreSchool, then reconnected when Dara enrolled at BT High School. That’s when they joined the synagogue, as well.

“BT has played a significant role in our lives by providing a safe and supportive environment for Dara as she entered a new chapter in her education,” noted Stephen. “We credit Beth Tfiloh Director of Education Dr. Zipora Schorr and the entire BT community for giving us the necessary tools to make the transition a successful one.”

So when Dr. Schorr asked Ellyn and Stephen to co-chair Spotlight 2019, along with Michelle and Steve Wions, they considered it an honor and a pleasure. “We feel very strongly that all children should be given the opportunity to have a Jewish day school education and there’s no better place than BT with all it has to offer,” remarked Ellyn.

Spotlight makes that possible for so many of our children.

“We are amazed how BT is growing,” said Stephen. “The MakerSpace, the new PreSchool space and the fabulous STEM Center are not to be missed.  We  are proud to be a part of this event as we raise money to assist the children who are so deserving.”

The Impact of a BT Education
For Dara, Beth Tfiloh has served as a lifelong community and a family. “BT has played an overwhelming role in my life. It has provided me with a constant advocate, a support system, and the strength, resilience, and confidence to overcome obstacles in life.” Beth Tfiloh gives , “every child a significant chance to make the most of all opportunities life presents,” Dara added.

“Beth Tfiloh has given us a feeling of connection to the Jewish community, both locally and also to the larger Jewish world,” said Ben. His children say that their BT education has taught them several important lifelong lessons: the value of being part of a school and Jewish community; the value of working with others for common goals; and the value of tradition.

Giving Back to BT
Ellyn believes that co-chairing Spotlight is  a meaningful way to increase her school and shul involvement. She currently co-chairs the school’s Grandparent Ambassador Group, serves on the school’s board, and volunteers for the Lower School hot lunch program. “I am fortunate to be able to interact with parents, grandparents, students, faculty and staff, all who are interested in the common goal of providing the best education for our children,” she shares.

Their children are proud of their parents’ Spotlight leadership role. “I am excited and honored that my parents are hosting such an important and exciting event,” said Dara. Added Ben, “We are proud of their leadership and commitment.”

But no one is more excited than Ellyn and Stephen. “Steve and I are looking forward to working with Michelle and Steve as we ‘Take it to the Limit’ on May, 23, making Spotlight 2019 a huge success!”
Beth Tfiloh Congregation
Roz & Marvin H. Weiner Family Campus | 3300 Old Court Road, Baltimore, MD 21208 | 410-486-1900 |
Celebrating the Joy of Judaism. Embracing all Jews.
One of the leading Modern Orthodox synagogues in America, with a diverse membership, and an extensive offering of religious services, classes and year-round Jewish programming for all ages.