Sign In Forgot Password

Eadie's Retirement Celebration & Brunch

Sunday, May 15, 2022 14 Iyyar 5782

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Join us for this special program in Beth El's sanctuary. If you are unable to attend, you are welcome to join us via Live Stream: https://venue.streamspot.com/eb28b85f

Following the program, join us for brunch in the Social Hall.


Beth El to Honor Eadie Tsabari after 30+ years of Educational Leadership
By Robby Erlich, Engagement Coordinator

After more than 30 years of unparalleled support to the Beth El community, Eadie Tsabari is retiring from her role as Director of Congregational Learning at Beth El Synagogue.

I had the privilege of sitting down with Eadie to hear about her experiences and the moments she will treasure.   

Warmth, guidance, and inspiration are just some of the words used to describe Eadie, who grew up in Omaha. She attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lived in Israel for nine years, where she met her husband, Eitan. The couple’s desire for their two children to have informal Jewish education experiences led Eadie to Beth El.  Her career there began in 1992 at the request of Stanley Mitchell, who was the synagogue’s education director. He persuaded her to teach the kindergarten class that year, telling her that she couldn’t say no.

Eadie says her own formal Jewish education was one of “You can’t do this” and “You can’t do that.”  Eadie worked to reverse such practices, first in the classroom and later as an administrator.  She credits Mrs. Hannah Schwalb, her first Hebrew school teacher, as a positive influence for her.      

Jewish education is in Eadie’s soul.  Her parents, Joe & Helen Fishel, were proud Zionists who provided her with a solid Jewish upbringing, both culturally and religiously.

For 13 years, during her time as a Hebrew School kindergarten teacher, Eadie ran her business, Omaha E Gifts, even as she worked with co-teacher Sheri Abramson four afternoons a week.  Sheri has fond memories of working alongside Eadie: “Our classroom was filled with conversations, music, dancing and even the occasional air band. Teaching and learning were always an adventure when Eadie was around.  Beth El has been so lucky to have Eadie be a part of our children’s religious education!”

Following her career at Omaha E Gifts, Eadie began working at Friedel Jewish Academy, teaching Judaic Studies full time for Grades 3, 4, 5 and 6.

In 2011, after seven years at Friedel, Eadie was asked to apply for the Education Director position at Beth El. The search committee quickly realized Eadie was the ideal candidate.

Throughout her career, Eadie worked tirelessly at serving the Jewish community, always with a big heart and a warm smile. Many programs created under her leadership have been centered on community-building. In additional to overseeing a formal educational program, Eadie organized countless shabbatonim, shul-ins and Jewish day camp experiences. Eadie wanted her students to experience being Jewish on many levels, and her vision and hope for her students was that being Jewish should be special, fun and integrated into who they are. 

A highlight of Eadie’s career has been hosting get-togethers with former students. She loves hearing about the impact she has made in their lives. That’s what has driven Eadie to continue her work for so many years.

Many of her former students have chosen to become madrichim (counselors) at Beth El’s Kamp KEF. Being able to work at Kamp KEF lets them relive the fun they had at Beth El while also giving back to Eadie and to the campers of Beth El.    

“Over the past 30-plus years, Eadie has made a substantial impact on the lives of countless Jewish youth,” says Beth El’s Rabbi Steven Abraham. “From her time as a Hebrew teacher at Friedel Jewish Academy to working as a teacher at the Beth El religious school and then finally as the Director of Congregational Learning at Beth El, Eadie has created an environment where Jewish learning has come alive,” the Rabbi says. “She cares about her students and is fiercely loyal to her teachers. Eadie has done something that most school directors can only dream of, which is to create a space where students want to come to school. She has put in countless hours over the years to better our community. 

“Speaking only for myself, when I arrived in Omaha, Eadie was an amazing resource, as she knew the ins and outs of our community,” he says. “She had been involved in formal Jewish education as well as informally. She knew our history as a synagogue, but also was always willing to adapt for a new flock of students. Eadie always made time for her teachers or others in the community who needed some guidance or direction.”

David Finkelstein, current Beth El Synagogue Talmud Torah (BESTT) chair, says Eadie has a passion for teaching children.
“She is able to engage them, get them to be active, and develop them into leaders. In her words, she made Jewish learning ‘sticky,’ ” he says. “After she retires from BESTT, her influence will still be felt and followed by several classes of her students.”

Past BESTT chair Linda Saltzman says Eadie's energy and enthusiasm for Jewish education is unparalleled.
“She has a passion for her students and their educational development,” Linda says. “She knows each student and understands the best way to help them succeed.”

Eadie's creativity and resourcefulness came out in full force during the pandemic. “Undeterred by the challenging conditions, she found innovative ways to keep students engaged when classes couldn't meet in person," Linda says.
Beyond leading formal education, Eadie excelled at running informal educational opportunities."Eadie doesn't just talk the talk.” Linda says. “She walks the walk.  She has personally chaperoned every 8th grade trip to Chicago, attended all Shabbaton away from Beth El and spent the night at the synagogue when BESTT hosted overnights. She is totally hands-on in every way."

The community is invited to celebrate Eadie’s retirement and her accomplishments at Beth El Synagogue on May 15, starting with Minyan at 9:30 a.m. A talent show, celebration program and brunch will follow Minyan. 

Hollie Fineman, a lifelong friend of Eadie, and Eadie’s retirement event coordinator, is very excited to plan this event.

“Over 50 years ago, my father became friends with Eadie’s Uncle Dave, who owned a kosher butcher shop in Des Moines, Iowa. No one would have guessed when I moved to Omaha in 1975 that I would continue a friendship with the Fishel family through Eadie Fishel Tsabari.  I am so honored to coordinate a very special event honoring Eadie as she retires from her position at Beth El.  Her love for learning and for children will continue to be such a big part of her life. I wish her so much nachas!”

For Eadie, she explained to me that being able to work in the Jewish community, was so much more than just a job.  “As I look back on the years that I have worked in the Jewish community, I feel blessed that I have been able to do something that means so much to me.  My parents always told me that I had an obligation to the Jewish people after what happened to our family and so many others during the Shoah.  Working with children, building a community who love their Judaism, and rejoicing in the beauty of our religion has been an honor and a joy to me.”

There’s no doubt that the impact Eadiehas made on our youth will live on for years to come. Donations in Eadie’s honor can be made to the Garden of Eadie Fund at Beth El.  The garden coincides beautifully with Eadie’s passions of gardening, being outdoors and educating our children & youth.  This garden will not only sustain our future youth in their stomachs, but in their hearts and minds as well.  Click here if you would like to make a donation to the Garden of Eadie. For questions, contact me at rerlich@bethel-omaha.org.

Share Print Save To My Calendar
Sat, May 21 2022 20 Iyyar 5782