“Growing up, I always knew I was different. My father was older than all my friends’ parents. As a kid, I never understood why, but then I really leaned into it as I got more mature; it’s part of who I am. I am probably one of the youngest children of a Holocaust survivor. From a very young age I knew my father survived the war, but it wasn’t until when I was 14, my sister interviewed my father for a school project and he really started to open up.”
Steve Frenkiel’s father was deprived of his own schooling and so he took his children’s education seriously. In particular, he had tremendous pride in their grades. In fact, when Steve was in college, his father was battling colon cancer, but “he refused to go into the surgery until he heard my first semester science grades.” Sadly, he had a stroke and he never fully recovered from the surgery, and passed away when Steve was 18. Saying kaddish and going to shul three times a day led Steve, his sister and his mother to make a life change and become Orthodox. Steve reflects, “I got to see the beauty of Shabbos by going to shul, and I wanted that.”
Inspired by his father’s commitment to education, Steve applied to several business schools for his MBA and decided that if he got accepted he would consider attending, except for Harvard. He told himself that if he was offered a spot he would absolutely go there. “It 100% changed my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t go to Harvard. Everyone there was impressive in one way or another. Not because they were smart, but because they were impactful.”
Steve has gone on to become a successful entrepreneur and runs his Company, Dynamic Connections. While his father was not there to see him graduate from Harvard, or marry his wife Lori, a doctor, Steve knows he would have been ecstatic. “I am who I am because of my father.”
As the co-chair of Development at Netivot, and an overseer of the Day of Giving for the past four years, he takes on a big role in giving back to his community. Steve and Lori have 3 children, all current Netivot students.