Etz Chaim Award 

Dr. Stephen and Cheryl Karesh 

The theme in the Kareshes’ lives should be “We are a Team”. In every aspect of their private and communal lives, they work together.  This was especially true when raising their children Howard, Rebecca, Avi, z”l, and Philip.

Originally from Charleston, SC, Steve achieved his BS, MS, and PhD Degrees in Chemistry. He also served as a Naval Officer for four years.  A job at Abbott Labs brought the Kareshes to Chicago almost 46 years ago. Steve worked at the University of Illinois Hospital and at Loyola University Medical Center where he continues to teach. He also owns and manages Consultants in Nuclear Medicine.

Steve’s community involvement includes five terms as president of two shuls and membership on shul boards for over 40 years.  He also served as co-chairman of the education committees at Hillel Torah and Fasman Yeshiva High School.  For several years, Steve taught general science and honors chemistry at FYHS. His support of HTC also includes packing and delivering Shalach Manos, proofreading Ad Journals, and serving as the photographer at various HTC events.

Cheryl, from Augusta, GA, holds a Bachelor’s degree in secondary education. She has served as co-president of Yeshiva Parents of HTC, Ziona Hadassah, Amit Women, and the KINS sisterhood. Before working at the Yeshiva, Cheryl served as program vice president of Yeshiva Women and was a Woman of Valor three times.

Cheryl has worked at the Yeshiva for almost 36 years. Initially hired as HTC alumni coordinator, she later became the executive secretary of Yeshiva Women. She feels that the women with whom she has worked at Yeshiva Women are some of the brightest and most capable she has ever known.  In addition, Cheryl serves as the event coordinator at HTC, assisting with all functions held by the Yeshiva.

For Steve and Cheryl, their most important achievement has been raising their four children. Their three sons, Howard, Avi z”l, and Phil, graduated from Fasman Yeshiva High School, as did their son-in-law, Jeremy Amster.  Each of them serves our community in various ways, with both Howard and Jeremy serving on the Board of the Yeshiva, and Phil active in community institutions both professionally and as a volunteer. Their daughter, Rebecca Amster, and daughters-in-law, Ilana, Danielle and Rachel, also exemplify the tradition of community service. They have all committed themselves to schools and/or organizations that benefit the community.

The Kareshes are proud that eight of their grandsons have been students at FYHS and/or campers and staff at Yeshivat HaKayitz. There are now three generations of the Karesh family that attended or served the Yeshiva.

The Kareshes pray that, with Hashem’s blessing, Hebrew Theological College will continue to go m’chayil el chayil as it educates future generations of the children of our community.

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