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ONE ON ONE WITH GAYLE KROST





It is with great joy that I introduce you to Dr. Gayle Elbaum Krost.  Gayle is a vibrant and multi-dimensional woman.  An endodontist by trade, she is passionate about children and women, fiercely advocating for and creating key programs at Hillel Yeshiva, The Special Children’s Center, and Propel. Gayle holds executive board positions at these organizations. She is deeply invested in her family, her husband, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, her profession, and her community.

Growing Up

Gayle is the oldest child and is extremely proud of her parents, her brother, Dr. Jeffrey Elbaum, and her sister, Mrs. Rochelle Matalon.  Her father, Dr. Barry D. Elbaum, is a Holocaust survivor who emigrated from Poland. “My father is a self-made person; his command of the English language is incredible. He learned ping pong at Ellis Island and became a champion. My dad is a successful and passionate oral surgeon who retired after 47 years of practicing oral and maxillofacial surgery.  Throughout his career, he received countless awards. Most importantly, he is the best father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.”

Gayle’s mother, Libbie Elbaum, is a certified public accountant (CPA) with a graduate degree in taxation. She masterfully managed the finances of her husband’s practice for 35 years while raising her three children. “My mother worked from home and also went to my dad’s office when we were in school, but was always there when we got home,” Gail relates.   Her brother Jeffrey and her husband Brian Krost are also oral and maxillofacial surgeons. They practiced with Gayle’s father until his retirement six years ago. Her sister Rochelle earned a master’s degree in social work from NYU and is active in several hesed organizations in the community.

The three Elbaum children attended Hillel Yeshiva in Ocean Township.  Gayle recalled that her fondest memories are from Hillel on Logan Road, and that her closest friends are her Hillel friends – “My heart and soul is in Hillel.” 

Gayle and her siblings grew up in a household where education was highly valued.  Her parents were well-educated, and it was a given that the Elbaum children would go to college and graduate school. “My father’s passion is for education; he taught us that education is the only thing that can never be taken away from you. Once you have it, it’s yours.”  Her father also promoted higher education and careers for women. 

The Elbaums were inspiring role models, teaching Gayle about education, derech eretz, hesed and much more.  After high school, Gayle attended Rutgers University, where she majored in Biology.  She explains that a career in dentistry was the natural choice for her. “It was right for me - my father always was so passionate about the field, as if it was the only one.”

Dr. Elbaum advised Gayle, “Treat your patients right. Your priority is to help people and ensure they have a great patient experience.”  Gayle confided that her mother is a genius. “She took care of my dad’s business, designed his office, ordered equipment, did everything, and was always there for her children!”

Gayle’s nature and MO (modus operandi) are goal oriented, “I just get things done – I just do it and don’t think about it.”

Marriage and Career

Gayle had a strong desire to be a well-rounded individual like her mom, and she studied art history, economics, and accounting during the summers.

Do you remember Gayle’s MO about getting things done and being goal oriented? Well, those attributes went into high gear in her junior year of college. “I didn’t know I was ‘focused,’ I took one day at a time.”  With just ten college credits remaining, Gayle applied on what she calls a “crazy whim” to the NYU School of Dentistry and was accepted that July!  She crammed in two semesters of physics and labs that summer.

Gayle married her husband, Brain Krost, after her freshman year of dental school, in December, 1986. Brain, who grew up in a traditional Jewish home in Bellmore, Long Island, attended the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ (UMDNJ, now Rutgers).

The next nine years were a whirlwind for Gayle and Brian.

Gayle gave birth to Daniel during her junior year at NYU (July, 1988) and the three moved back to her parents’ home in Oakhurst.  Gayle took six weeks off and returned to NYU on time for her last year, commuting daily by train from NJ to NYC.  That summer, Brian began his residency program in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Nassau County Medical Center.  Gayle was also headed toward oral surgery.  From the age of 12, Gayle worked in her father’s office, and loved observing and assisting her dad perform surgery and his zeal for helping people.  However, during dental school, Gayle fell in love with endodontics (“endo”). Gayle was accepted to a two-year endo residency program at UMDNJ and commuted to Newark for the next two years. Their daughter, Jacqueline was born at the end of Gayle’s first year of her residency (July, 1990).  In the middle of Gayle’s second year as a resident, she was offered a job in NJ while still living in Long Island.

Gayle inherited her parents’ work ethic.  As an associate, she took calls for the partners, did not take a lunch break, and treated the staff and patients with warmth and compassion.  When Gayle was offered a partnership, the partners said Gayle had always acted as an owner, committed to patient care, and helping to grow the practice.

Gayle and Brian were blessed with their third child, Sammy, 20 months after she started practicing endo. Both sets of grandparents provided the most amazing support system for the young couple. They admit that they could not have done it without their help, love, and devotion.

The couple moved back to NJ upon Brian’s completion of his oral surgery residency in June, 1994.  Brian joined Dr. Elbaum’s practice and the couple built a house in Oakhurst that they still live in today. Gayle’sfourth child, Sarah Bella, was born in NJ and is 15 years old. She is currently a sophomore at Hillel Yeshiva High School.  “She is a sweet, kind-hearted young lady with a heart of gold. She is an awesome friend, and the best aunt to her nieces and nephew.”

Community and Hesed

Gayle was busy practicing endodontics and happily raising four children.  Her huge heart drove her to make time to support her alma mater, Hillel.  Daniel was in first grade when the couple settled in Oakhurst and Gayle was asked to be on the Hillel Board. Gayle has been on the Hillel Board for almost 25 years, and has served as Chairman of the Board of Education for the past 13 years. She currently remains a VP on the Executive Board.

Ten years ago, Gayle created the “Follow Your Dreams” program at Hillel for the 7th to 12th grade girls and their mothers (an annual event).  Gayle’s goal was to make certain that the girls would continue their education, and to show them that they can do it all!  “They can have a career, a family, a beautiful home, and dinner on the table for their children when they come home from school! They can be shaatra!”

Gayle, who is of Ashkenazi descent, confided that shaatra is one of the most beautiful things she learned from her Sephardic friends.  They are warm and hospitable, practicing the mitzva of hachnassat orchim, hospitality, and hakarat hatov, gratitude.

After two years, mothers of the boys asked for the same program for their sons and the dads, and Gayle agreed! Her brother Jeffrey was one of the first speakers at the boys’ program.

The Special Children’s Center

The next organization that tugged at Gayle’s heart was The Special Children’s Center (The Center). She found out about The Center when she met Yaakov Shwekey, approximately 13 years ago, when he sang at her son Sammy’s bar mitzvah.  Yaakov told Gayle all about The Center. He told her that his wife Jenine and Chaya Bender founded it when they recognized the need in the community. The Center is a vital community organization for children with special needs. The Special Children’s Center offers unique and exemplary services that provide round-the-clock, year-round respite services available any day, any hour, at any stage of a special child's life.

Gayle was so moved by The Center’s mission and proposed to Yaakov, Jennine, and Chaya, that a Yaakov Shwekey concert be held to bring awareness to this very special organization.  Yaakov took Gayle’s suggestion and together they organized a concert.  The concert has now been replaced with an annual community breakfast, held every summer and hosted by a community family in their home.  The Center cares for over 400 children in their beautiful buildings in Lakewood, NJ and in Brooklyn as well. Gayle calls The Center “the most beloved organization in the community.”

Propel

Believing that women should stand on their own two feet and have a sense of their own self-worth, it’s no surprise that Gayle was a major leader in forming Propel, a community organization dedicated to helping women discover a profession, enroll in certificate courses, and cover the costs of tuition to achieve marketable skills and generate higher income.

Gayle is so grateful for her family, and gracefully balances her time between them and the organizations dear to her heart.  She continually uses her passion, positive energy, compassion, talents, and drive to create purposeful community programs which inspire, support, and promote children and women.

Ellen Geller Kamaras, CPA/MBA, is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach.  Her coaching specialties include life, career, and dating coaching. Ellen can be contacted at ellen@lifecoachellen.com(www.lifecoachellen.com).