Born: Monsey, NY
Family: Married with 6 children
Attended Machon Shlomo: 1987-89
Professional History: 2004 – present, founder and Principal of Luchansky Law, private law firm in Towson, Maryland concentrating in Maryland Workplace Law, representing employers and employees in connection with employment law issues and litigation; 1995-2004, Associate, then Partner, Kollman & Saucier, P.A., Baltimore, Maryland employment law and litigation attorney; 1990 – 1995, Associate, Neuberger, Quinn, Gielen, Rubin & Gibber, Baltimore, Maryland, practicing civil litigation; 1985 – 1987, Associate, Venable, Baetjer & Howard, Baltimore, Maryland, tax department associate
Secular Education: University of Maryland, College Park, B.A. in English cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1982; University of Maryland at Baltimore Law School, with honors, Assistant Editor, Law Review, 1985
Communal Jewish Activities: Founder, Beginners and Beyond outreach organization, providing learning and social opportunities for young Jewish professionals to explore their heritage; 2004, founder, Maimonides Jewish Leaders Fellowship program at University of Maryland, College Park; 2002 – 2004, President, Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion Congregation; 2011, led small study group in learning the content of Shaarim B’Tefillah, a work on prayer by Rabbi Shimshon Pincus
Hobbies: Weight lifting, running
Why I chose to attend Machon Shlomo: After meeting an observant Jew for the first time in my life in law school, I spent the next several years becoming more interested in “being Jewish” and what that means. After I graduated law school, a friend suggested that I take off a year of practice to go to learn more. Although terrified of interrupting my career track, I agreed. To decide where to go, I “interviewed” an alumnus from each of different learning institutions. The information I learned about Machon Shlomo made it most appealing to me of the options – it was small with a high teacher/student ratio, the learning program was structured and had a set curriculum, and the student body tended to be comprised of students with high academic success. Even with the high expectations that I had entering Machon Shlomo, my experience there far exceeded anything I could have imagined. The substantive Jewish education, the warm and personal religious environment, and the emphasis on integrating one’s Jewish education into a healthy spiritual and emotional framework all have served as a template for personal success and fulfillment in the 25 years of my life since attending Machon Shlomo.
Bala Cynwyd, PA (near Philadelphia)
Born: Perth Amboy, NJ
Family: Married with six children
Attended Machon Shlomo: 1987-1988
Professional History: In a nutshell, I originally turned down the ONLY job available that I could find anywhere (Einstein Hospital in Philadelphia) because it would have required carrying a beeper on Shabbos. Months later, nearing the end of my fellowship in nuclear medicine, with no job prospects, Einstein called me back and offered a job for more money, less call, and strictly Shomer shabbos. Obviously, I took it.
Secular Education: BA, University of Pennsylvania 1983-1986; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine 1988-1992
Communal Jewish Activities: Board of Directors, Vice-President, Young Israel of the Main Line; Executive Board of Directors, Vice-President, Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia; Advisory Board, Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Disease Screening Program; Led the Albert Einstein Medical Center Jewish Medical Ethics study group; Board of Directors, University City Eruv Corporation; Board of Directors, Secretary, Philadelphia Community Kollel
Interesting Facts: I have been teaching a Jewish medical ethics class for over 20 years (www.jewishmedicalethics.com)
Why I chose to attend Machon Shlomo: I had wanted to learn how to learn since I was 13 years old when I became observant. I never had the chance to do so in an organized fashion until I went to Israel for the summer after my sophomore year of college when I went to the Ohr Someach Jewish Learning Exchange which was six weeks of studying and trips. I went back to college and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania after junior year so I could go to back to Israel to study. I bought a plane ticket to Israel the next year with a list of possible yeshivas and within 24 hours of getting off the plane I was in Machon Shlomo.
How my experience at Machon Shlomo has enhanced my life: I realized that to get to where I wanted to be, a member of an observant community, I needed to learn. Additionally, I realized that any woman that I would want to marry would not want to marry someone who had no learning background.
Dr. Michael Bunzel
Medical Physician with specialty in Psychiatry
Bnei Brak, Israel
Born: Anaheim, CA
Family: Married with 5 children
Attended Machon Shlomo: 1989-91
Professional History: Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Maayeney-Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, and is Director of the first public psychiatric clinic created by the Ministry of Health to serve specifically the religious population of Israel
Secular Education: B.A. from Stanford University 1987; M.D. from Tel Aviv University 1994; Residency in Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, 2002
Communal Jewish Activities: Psychiatric advisor for “Nitza” organization for Women’s Health After Birth, in Jerusalem; Weekly meeting of Talmudic Lecture/Discussion for Doctors and Rabbis, dealing with the latest issues regarding Medical and Ethical Issues, headed by leading medical ethics authorities; Daily commitment to Learning Talmud with leading young Rabbi from Bnei Brak
Hobbies: Enjoys golf at Peter Dye designed Caesaria Golf Club in Caesaria, Israel
Clinical Researcher, Allergic Diseases
Silver Spring, MD
Born: Brooklyn, NY
Family: Married with five children
Attended Machon Shlomo: 1984-1986
Professional History: BS Biomedical Engineering; Research Johns Hopkins Medical School; Pediatric Residency MetroHealth Medical Center ’95-’98; Allergy Immunology Fellowship National Institutes of Health, ‘98-2000; Research Fellow NIH’00-’02; Staff Clinician NIH ’02- present
Secular Education: Tulane University, 1984; Sackler School of Medicine 1995
Communal Jewish Activities: NIH Minyon (founder); Kollel Dirshu Silver Spring (founder); Ashira Orchestra (guitarist)
Interesting Facts: My two roommates at Machon Shlomo and myself all played the French Horn in High School
Hobbies: My two roommates at Machon Shlomo and myself all played the French Horn in High School
Why I chose to attend Machon Shlomo: There were great guys, and as I learned later, super rabbis. It was (and still is) a small and serious place.
How my experience at Machon Shlomo has enhanced my life: The Torah guides me toward a life that is truthful and fulfilling. Everyday that I am alive I aim that these concepts become more and more actualized.
Born: Philadelphia, PA
Family: Married with 3 girls and 1 boy
Attended Machon Shlomo: 2001-2003
Professional History: Random House; Lehman Brothers; Nomura; Jefferies
Secular Education: Princeton University 1996-2000
Why I chose to attend Machon Shlomo: I was looking to connect to Jewish wisdom, and almost all the people who helped guide me on my initial journey (in South Africa and then in New York) were Machon Shlomo alumni. When I met and got to know the rabbis at Machon Shlomo, I thought they would be the ideal mentors and decided to take the opportunity to learn from them.
How my experience at Machon Shlomo has enhanced my life: The yeshiva experience was transformative—the years I spent learning in Israel gave me a much greater appreciation for the value of life, and as a consequence enhanced my desire to grow, to build something lasting for the future, and to give to other people as much as possible.
Silver Spring, MD
Born: Indianapolis, IN
Family: Married with five children
Attended Machon Shlomo: 2007-2008
Secular Education: Indiana University (1995-99); Washington University of St. Louis School of Medicine (2000-04); Johns Hopkins Hospital Pediatric Residency (2004-07); Nationwide Children’s Hospital/Ohio State University Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship (2008-2011)
Communal Jewish Activities: Board of directors for Yeshiva of Greater Washington; volunteer for MEOR at George Washington University and U. of Maryland for occasional teaching and Shabbatons; involved in local various community-building projects
Interesting Facts: I might have been the only Machon Shlomo student to come to the yeshiva with 3 children (ages 3 and under)!
Why I chose to attend Machon Shlomo: I first encountered the Machon Shlomo staff at a summer program in the U.S. where certain classes and conversations really resonated with me. I spent 1999-2000 in Israel on another program that I had committed to, and during that time I was able to develop a close relationship with some of the rabbis at Machon Shlomo. The next 7-8 years were very busy for me; medical school, marriage, children, pediatric residency, more children, along with my own continued religious and personal development. I was finally able to go back to Israel and spend a year at Machon Shlomo from 2007-2008. I would never have chosen another place.
How my experience at Machon Shlomo has enhanced my life: During college, I considered myself having a relatively strong Jewish identity. However, I never really had the knowledge of Judaism that I could transmit to the next generation. It has always been very important to me to be able to teach my children the importance of being Jewish, but without the knowledge, I doubt I would be successful. Being at Machon Shlomo gave me an incredibly strong foundation of knowledge and connection to Judaism that allows me to continue to grow and connect further, and ultimately gives me the ability to teach and inspire my children to be committed and knowledgeable Jews. Additionally, a focus of Machon Shlomo is to allow each student to recognize and develop their own personal strengths. This allows us to not only use those strengths to enhance our own lives, but also to enhance the lives of others around us. We are given an idealistic vision for success in our personal and professional lives, and the tools necessary to help make our communities better and stronger. My Machon Shlomo experience and time under the tutelage of its rabbis have empowered me to use my strengths to help those around me, to build and create stronger Jewish communities. When all of us work together, using our own strengths, for the common good, we will ultimately be successful. Being in the presence of such great rabbis—ones who have shown me and continue to show me the relevance, beauty and depth of Judaism—is priceless. The Rabbis are still available, many years later, by phone, by email, and even in person, to continue to help their students throughout their life experiences.
Software Engineer at Goldman Sachs
Born: Teaneck, NJ
Family: Newly Married
Attended Machon Shlomo: 2010-2011
Professional History: Worked at Google (New York), Northrop Grumman (Chicago) before joining Goldman Sachs (Jersey City)
Secular Education: Northwestern University 2006-2010
Hobbies: Biking, Sports, Chess
Why I chose to attend Machon Shlomo: I chose Machon Shlomo because of its focus on character development through education, after which it encourages reimmersion in the life goals we had aspired to before enrolling; and the intellectual breadth and depth of the Rabbis on staff due to their strong education and work experience.
How my experience at Machon Shlomo has enhanced my life: It taught me that the study of Judaism causes the ultimate alignment of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual character, and resulted in the infusion of honesty and meaning into all dimensions of my daily life.
Dean of National Juris University
Born: Queens, NY
Family: Married with three boys
Attended Machon Shlomo: 2007-2009
Professional History: Law clerk at Tulchinsky Stern Marciano Cohen Levitski & Co., Intern for Senator Joe Lieberman, Intern at the US Department of Justice
Secular Education: BAs, Philosophy and Political Science, American University (Washington DC), graduated 2006 magna cum laude, phi beta kappa; Juris Doctor with honors, The George Washington University Law School (Washington DC), May 2012
Communal Jewish Activities: Former president of AU Students for Israel, Student Member of the AU Hillel Board, Board Member of Congregation Beis Medrash Minchas Yitzchok (Silver Spring, MD), MEOR DC Shabbat Programing Director
Interesting Facts: Before coming to Machon Shlomo I graduated college a semester early and moved to Bondi Beach Australia. I bartended, traveled through the outback and through Thailand (celebrated Passover in Bangkok with a thousand Israelis) and Indonesia, and learned how to surf at Surf Camp Australia.
Hobbies: Traveling, changing dirty diapers
Why I chose to attend Machon Shlomo: I was always interested in learning more and taking control of my Judaism. I wanted to find a place of serious learning where the goal was not to graduate a class of only Rabbis. I wanted to learn to be a learned, self-sustaining Jew, but not a Rabbi.
How my experience at Machon Shlomo has enhanced my life: Studying under wise and relatable people at Machon Shlomo gave me the opportunity to take control of my own Judaism and express my uniqueness through the teachings of the Torah. I was a fun, happy person before I went to Machon Shlomo, but my experiences and studies there allowed me to “upgrade my life” and become the Jew I wanted to be. My time in Israel afforded me the opportunity to learn to be strong enough in my own Judaism to go out into the world – succeed in law school, perform in the workplace, and (hopefully) be a superstar husband and father. To this day my best friends are my former classmates at Machon Shlomo. I also continue to keep in contact with the Rabbis and share life’s good news with them. They continue to be accessible to answer my questions and offer their insights and assistance me when I need to make big life decisions. There is also an extended Machon Shlomo “family”. The alumni network provides social, professional, and educational support to its members. Alumni continue to get together for BBQs and Shabbatons. The Rabbis come to the US every year to see alumni and continue to share their wisdom and support. Whenever I take my family to a foreign city for Shabbat, I check to see if there are any Machon Shlomo alumni in the area, because I know that if there are, we will be welcomed into their homes with open arms as if we are old friends, even if we never met before.
Born: Davis, CA
Family: Married with baby girl
Attended Machon Shlomo: 2008-2009
Professional History: Director of Communications for Congressman Patrick McHenry; Intern for Eric Cantor, U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader.
Secular Education: University of Washington, Seattle (2000-2004); Georgia State Law School (2011-present)
Hobbies: I cook as a hobby, and make a lot of Asian food, including Thai, Indian and Chinese.
Why I chose to attend Machon Shlomo: First, Machon Shlomo has a reputation of attracting the smartest young men of any of its competitors and of being a very intellectually rigorous institution. Second, I liked the small size of the yeshiva, and the intimate learning environment – it’s an “Amherst” more than a “Harvard”. Third, and probably most importantly, Machon Shlomo, uniquely among its peers, places a strong emphasis on systematic character development. The rabbis there have clearly worked hard to refine their own characters, and they actively teach students how to do the same. On top of all that, I had had great experiences with rabbis who were closely associated with Machon Shlomo, and I figured if the folks I’d met were great people and approved of it, I couldn’t go too far wrong.
How my experience at Machon Shlomo has enhanced my life: I was already a committed Jew to some extent, and would have stayed that way. But I’m an idealistic person, and without my time learning, I could easily have drifted. The curriculum constantly emphasizes normalcy and not heading off into the stratosphere. There is a heartfelt belief that we should live our lives providing for our families, improving our communities, and strengthening Judaism’s reputation in the world, while connecting and deepening those actions with knowledge of Torah.
Silver Spring, MD
Born: Vichy, France
Family: Married with twin girls and a boy
Attended Machon Shlomo: 2000-2002
Secular Education: Duke University Undergraduate (1994-1998), Emory University School of Medicine (1998-2000 & 2002-2004, Emory University Anesthesiology Residency – Emory University Hospitals (2004-2008), Harvard Medical School – Brigham & Women’s Hospital Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellowship (2008-2009)
Communal Jewish Activities: Board Member and Secretary, Yeshiva of Greater Washington
Interesting Facts: Detained by French army while traveling through Paris to go to Machon Shlomo. They wanted me to serve in the French army for committing the heinous crime of being born there. I told them I had greater plans for my future.
Why I chose to attend Machon Shlomo: I was searching for an intensive and focused learning experience with normal like-minded peers on a professional track. I wanted the experience in order to propel my knowledge of all things Jewish – from text-based skills, to laws and customs, to a real meaningful relationship with my Creator. I knew that I wanted to learn from Rabbis who understood the challenges of being observant in a secular world – who could enable us with tools to seek out truth in a world colored by secular ideology. My experience in America with level-headed alumni of Machon Shlomo told me that my search had ended here.
How my experience at Machon Shlomo has enhanced my life: Machon Shlomo gave me an independence in Jewish source learning that might not have been attainable outside of that immersion given the Hebrew language barrier. It is through this learning that Machon Shlomo honed my critical thinking skills and provided a climate to focus on self-improvement – tempered by an awareness that true growth is always a work-in-progress. Also of import, my relationship with my spouse during the formative years of our marriage was beautifully forged around Torah ideals. Ultimately, I think that Machon Shlomo prepared me to face the challenges of raising a Torah observant family in a predominantly non-Jewish society, while serving as a proud ambassador to Judaism both in the synagogue and in the workplace. My experience with patients when they see that I am an observant Jew has always been refreshingly positive. Many Jews and non-Jews alike are reassured by the notion that their physician embraces the concept of self-limitation and acknowledges that there is a Higher Power running the world.
Silver Spring, MD
Born: Schenectady, NY
Family: Married with three children
Attended Machon Shlomo: 1987-1988
Professional History: Office of Soviet and East European Affairs, US Department of Defense (at the Pentagon), 1989-1992; Visiting Fellow in National Security Affairs, Harvard University, 1986-87
Secular Education: BS (1983) in International Relations, Georgetown University; MA (1986) and PhD (1988) in International Relations, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Doctoral thesis focused on 1956 Hungarian Revolution
Communal Jewish Activities: Active in our shul and day schools in Silver Spring; also Dirshu learning program.
Hobbies: Amateur Radio operator (FCC-registered call sign N3WIZ)
Why I chose to attend Machon Shlomo: After meeting the staff at a summer program, it became clear that going to Machon Shlomo would be the next logical step in my growth.
How my experience at Machon Shlomo has enhanced my life: Machon Shlomo has provided me the foundation for serious talmud learning and for the participation as a full-fledged member of an observant community. It also marks the beginning of great friendships that have lasted 25 years.
Investment Management, President, Tisch Family Interest
Born: Los Altos, CA
Family: Married with eight children, four grandchildren
Attended Machon Shlomo: 1986-1988
Professional History: Lead underwriter in the purchase of the Canary Wharf Development in London and in development of the new $1.6 billion Giants/Jets MetLife Stadium; Vice President at Goldman Sachs & Company; Director of numerous public companies including Catellus Development Corporation, Gunther International and Cellegy Pharmaceuticals, as well as a director of privately held companies, including KGB (telecommunications and information) and Ableco; served on the Advisory Boards of Blumberg Capital and Switch & Data Facilities Corporation.
Secular Education: BA, Yale 1974-78; MBA, Stanford Business School 1981-1982
Communal Jewish Activities: Co-founder and Chairman of the nonprofit MEOR Foundation (www.meor.org), whose mission is to make meaningful Jewish learning an integral part of the college experience for American Jewish students; Urban Land Institute; New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty; New York Coordinating Council Development Corporation; and New Seed Foundation
Interesting Facts: Holder of two Super Bowl rings
Why I chose to attend Machon Shlomo: I was impressed by the quality and devotion of the faculty.
How my experience at Machon Shlomo has enhanced my life: I am married with children and grandchildren, live in Jerusalem and aspire to balance physical and spiritual pursuits, all of which would not be reasonably obtainable at this point without the Machon Shlomo experience.