Yeshivat Reishit

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Shammai Ellman

What do the MTA and Y.U. wrestling teams, PTC Wizard, and Reishit have in common? They have all played important parts in the life of Shammai Ellman. Hailing from Monsey, New York, Shammai was one of the distinguished talmidim in the second year of Reishit, nineteen years ago in the Old City. Coming from MTA, where during his years on the wrestling team he had developed important skills such as working as part of a team, pushing himself to his limits, and accepting advice from his superiors, he quickly adapted to yeshiva and succeeded immensely. During his two years in Reishit, Shammai learned and grew from his surroundings, while also contributing to the development of those around him.

After Reishit, Shammai went on to major in Management Information Systems at Yeshiva University. Throughout his senior year, he worked in the Market Data Technology department of Goldman Sachs and upon graduation left for PaineWebber (working on their Bond Exchange platform) because it offered him more time to learn and to date—his two priorities.

Shammai married Tamar (nee Rosenblum) from Philadelphia, who had studied at Stern College, returned to her hometown to attend Jefferson Medical College, and eventually trained in a Shomer Shabbat residency at Einstein Medical Center in Northeast Philadelphia. After a short stint in Israel that Shammai spent learning, the Ellmans returned to the US where Shammai worked for Citibank’s Retail E-Commerce department and later as the Director of Technology for Frumster. When the Ellmans were soon able to fulfill their dream of aliya, Shammai began working on a project for the JCCs of America, and subsequently developed his own business for school scheduling. Today, he runs PTC Wizard, a K-12 school scheduling platform, full time, working on a US schedule in Israel, which allows him to learn an entire morning seder daily.

Shammai and Tamar have five children: Dov (11), Meir (9), Leah (7), Rusi (4), and Miriam (3). They say that raising a family in Ramat Beit Shemesh provides them with opportunities to connect with Hashem and Israel in a way that they could not have done in America. Their life in Israel is structured with Jewish ideals that make raising an idealistic family much easier than it would have been in the US.

Another advantage to living in Ramat Beit Shemesh is that it is just minutes away from Reishit. The Ellmans remain connected with Reishit, taking part in various alumni family events. Shammai reflects that he is grateful to Reishit, as it “provided [him] with an environment to discover and cultivate [his] own unique strengths.” He says that with the encouragement of the Rabbeim, with whom he still remains in touch, he was “able to transition from a child to a thinking, productive and introspective Jew with tools to continue growing for life.” 

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