SZ Connect: Helping Community Singles Split the Sea

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By: Alissa Shams And Randi Eisenstein

“All women are heroines,” Ellen Ades, our career coach, proudly exclaimed at the Propel Graduation that took place May 1st at The Center.

Who are our modern-day heroines? Propel graduates marched into the auditorium to share and celebrate individual and collective accomplishments. Each of our graduates completed a certificate course of her choice after being coached by Propel. Today, each graduate can be counted as an income producer in her family. Moreover, each graduate is a role model for her own children, as well as for other women aspiring to step into the workforce. 

Hosting the event on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day - Yom Hashoah - allowed us to memorialize six heroines of the Holocaust. Propel graduates Frieda Schweky, Elana Ades, Aimee Barnathan, Atara Schweky, Michelle Saad, and Rena Shaab lit candles to honor Anne Frank, Vitka Kempner, Hannah Senesh, Hadassah Bimko, Zivia Lubetkin, and Nancy Wake, respectively. A seventh candle was lit by Bonnie Shams in memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, the 60-year-old woman who was tragically shot and killed while attending Passover services at Chabad of Poway in California, to remind us of recent acts of anti-Semitism and to memorialize its latest victim. 

We heard inspiring speeches from two recent Propel graduates - Orit Haddad, graduate of the Allegra Franco School of Educational Leadership, who is beginning her new career as a Judaic Studies teacher this coming September, and Lily Ades who completed her certificate course in photography and has successfully launched her own business. Each graduate described a positive experience at Propel and the value of being mentored by career coach Ellen Ades. Each woman beautifully highlighted the balance achieved between aspiring to obtain a career and devoting attention to family.

Our video montage recapped our year at Propel and celebrated each graduate with a resounding “We are the Champions” soundtrack. 

Our keynote speaker, community occupational therapist Bonnie Shams, delivered a heartfelt address describing her family background. She took inspiration early in life from her working grandmother and mother, and began her career journey on the wings of these role models.  “Support Inspires Success” is the title of the award presented to Bonnie as honoree at the Propel graduation. This is so fitting, as Bonnie supports countless children in the community to be the best they can be. Similarly, Propel invests in coaching and guiding women to be the best they can be by finding suitable careers that generate income, but that also make sense and honor the traditional values of the community. Women are heroines, and they are balancing professional and family life successfully. 

A special message from the Israeli army appeared on the video screens from Phyllis, Bonnie’s daughter, congratulating her mom. Emotions ran high in the room that night!

The finale of the evening was a presentation of diplomas to our graduates by members of the Propel Board of Directors, including Co-President Jacqueline Harary, Co-Founder Rebecca Harary, Vice President Gayle Krost, Marketing Director Marlene Mamiye, Elliot Tamir, and Sponsors of our School of Wellness, Nellie and David Haddad.  A special thank you to Board member Ezra Ashkenazi for providing electronic gifts to each of our graduates.

Many women who attended the graduation were inspired to contact PROPEL. Count yourself in that group and call PROPEL today! 

Women are excited to enter the workforce, and PROPEL is here to support you every step of the way!


If you are interested in a career, please reach out to PROPEL and we can help you fulfill your professional goal.

PROPEL 646-494-0822 |


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