On May 3, Lag B’Omer, Yavneh Academy’s student body and faculty congregated on the school’s newly renovated and magnificent ballfield for a special celebratory parade and dedication ceremony honoring Rebecca and memorializing Herb,
z”l Gordon, Yavneh supporters and longtime Teaneck residents.
The ceremony, which culminated in the unveiling of a scoreboard named after the two, officially named the baseball field, The Rebecca & Herb Gordon Field of Dreams. With remarks from the school’s administration, family members and Rebecca, musical performances as well as tumbling and dance routines, the well attended event concluded with presentations to the Gordon family.
The ceremony began in the afternoon with a parade through the school’s parking lot. The highlight of the procession was a beaming Rebecca atop a convertible, accompanied by police cars ringing their sirens to cheers from students and onlookers. Head of School, Rabbi Jonathan Knapp shared some reflective words about Rebecca and her late husband Herb.
“Herb was one of the nicest people anyone could ever meet,” Rabbi Knapp shared. “For many decades he, along with Rebecca, had a profound impact on everything that happened at Yavneh Academy, even way back in our days at Paterson. All of us owe them a tremendous sense of gratitude.”
Herb was a lover of sports throughout his lifetime. Fiercely devoted to his favorite teams, he frequently went to see the games in person even though he was not a player himself. Herb is remembered by his friends and family as a kind soul, a generous giver of tzedakah and a man whose day was always brightened by Rebecca at his side.
“I’m sorry most of you never got the opportunity to meet Herb,” Rebecca shared with the crowd. “You definitely would have liked him. Although he was not known for his athletic ability, he surely earned his title as King of the Spectators. Luckily for him, our grandchildren gave him many opportunities to be at sporting events to cheer them on.”
Rebecca has been associated with Yavneh for over 42 years. As she explained in her speech, after her son Eric began at the school she started giving back through volunteer work, which eventually transitioned to her helping the administration.
“I did a little math and discovered that I have spent almost two thirds of my life at Yavneh,” Rebecca explained. “When my kids graduated, I just stayed, and stayed and stayed. I would come home full of stories about the interesting things going on in the school and the people I’d meet.”
Following the speeches, members of the Gordon family were on hand to accept special souvenir jackets. The ceremony concluded with Tal and Adam Cushmaro, Rebecca and Herb grandsons, throwing out the first pitch on the field.
The ceremony was very moving for Rebecca. Seeing so many people gathered together to honor Herb’s legacy, especially in celebration of one of his biggest passions, was something she believes he would very much have enjoyed.
“The tribute here today could not be more fitting,” Rebecca said. “Herb would have loved it.”
Additionally, plans were also revealed at the event for a jogging track to be added to the outside of the field as the fundraising is still continuing. To learn more about the campaign, visit Yavnehacademy.org.
By Adam Samuel