This month’s Cool YLDers are Howie Hecht and Sarah Chorney! Howie and Sarah are not only YLDers, but they’re often respectively the photographer and the nurse at our events! Here are a few fun facts to help you get to know them better!
How long have you all been a part of YLD and how did you get involved?
Howie: I moved to Boston for college and immediately found a Jewish home away from home at AEPi. A few years after graduation I was feeling very disconnected from any Jewish life in Boston, and a friend suggested I look into the CJP YLD Summer Mission to Israel as a great way to get more involved in the Boston-area Jewish community. I went on the 2000 Summer Mission to Israel (“M2K” as we called it!), made some lifelong friends, and have been a die-hard YLDer ever since! -I’ve volunteered to photograph many YLD events over the years. I met my girlfriend,Sarah, three years ago she asked me to take a photo of her and her friends at the Geshercity Clusterfest.
(See Sarah’s answer for a different perspective on how they met)!
Sarah: I have been involved with YLD since 2008. I got involved with YLD by attending Geshercity’s Clusterfest, where I learned about YLD and other Jewish community organizations. I also met Howie at Clusterfest! He was taking photos at the event, and asked to take a photo of me and my friends. He then asked for my phone number. We have been dating for more than three years now.
What was your first YLD event? What was your favorite YLD event?
Howie: My first YLD event was an information session for the 2000 Summer Mission to Israel, where I instantly decided to go on the trip. The warm welcome by the YLD staff and the great group of existing and prospective YLDers made it an easy decision!
I don’t have one favorite YLD event... I have TWO! I call them the two best “feel good” events of the year: The Senior Prom, and Yom Sport. Both events have one important thing in common - bringing joy to the lives of others. Whether it’s for senior citizens or for adults with disabilities, there’s just something about these events that has had me coming back year after year... for the past 12+ years!
I’d like to encourage everyone to learn more about Yom Sport and also invite everyone to the Yom Sport Silent Auction Fundraiser on May 21 at The Rattlesnake, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. A $5+ suggested donation at the event will enter you to win Red Sox tickets! More details are on our Facebook event invitation. (https://www.facebook.com/events/443736485701353/ )
Sarah: My first YLD event was CJParty. It was a semi-formal party held at The Castle. I went to the party with a few girlfriends that I met at the Geshercity event (see above), met lots of awesome people, and had a lot of fun!
My favorite YLD event is Yom Sport, hands down. Yom Sport is a day of sports, camaraderie, and fun for adults with disabilities. It’s also a great way to get out and volunteer in the community, meet new people, and spend the day with friends. This will be my 3rd year on the standing committee, and as Yom Sport’s nurse. Please feel free to ask me any questions about the event- I hope to see everyone there this August! There’s also more information at www.yomsport.org.
How would you like to leave your footprint on YLD?
Howie: Over the years I’ve often played a mostly unofficial role within YLD as “the photographer.” I’d like to think that in a sense I’ve acted as the YLD historian of my time, capturing moments in the lives of thousands of YLDers. To me, the photos are a record of the amazing work that YLDers do both here in Boston and abroad.
Sarah: The most important message I can pass along is that I feel people should help others for the sake of helping. For example, the way everyone came together as one in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. I feel we all have a responsibility to each other, and should perform tikkun olam in any way that we can so that together we can move forward as a stronger community. #BostonStrong
What is your favorite Jewish childhood memory?
Howie: My favorite Jewish childhood memories are from celebrating Passover at my grandparents’ house with my whole family, and of course my sister and I trying to find the afikomen!
Sarah: My favorite childhood memories are of lighting the menorah with my Dad, and listening to him tell stories of celebrating Hanukkah when he was a child. I always loved story time and have always been curious about what my family’s Jewish life was like before I was born.
Tell us three fun Jewish facts about yourself.
1. I grew up in what I call a “mostly kosher” home. My family had 5 sets of dishes: meat, milk, Passover meat, Passover milk, and a trafe (non-kosher) set for when we ordered Chinese food, pepperoni pizza, etc.!
2. The first time I ever went skiing was with my temple’s youth group, and I had a blast!
3. I still keep in touch with Asher, the well-known tour guide from my Summer Mission to Israel. (Thanks, Facebook!)
1. I didn’t go to a Jewish camp during the summer, instead I went to girl scout camp.
2. I haven’t been on the YLD Israel Mission yet, but am hoping to go next year!
3. My last name means black in Russian.
If you could have dinner with one Jewish person (living or dead), who would it be and why?
Howie: My paternal grandfather, who I unfortunately never had the opportunity to know as he passed away when my father was just 18. It would be great to get to know him and to learn more about where my family came from and what my dad was like growing up, from his own father’s perspective.
Sarah: Lillian Wald (1867-1940): a Jewish nurse (this wasn’t common), social reformer, and humanitarian. She pioneered public health nursing, and dedicated her life to providing healthcare, education and social services to anyone who needed it. As a school nurse serving my community, I would be honored to meet the woman who helped to give me my career, and a job that I love!