Englewood native Asher Strobel, a’h, was a tragically taken from us at the age of 21. Strobel, a student at the Binghamton University Business School, passed away on January 6, 2011 while on a skiing trip with friends in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Asher was funny, intelligent, charming and incredibly sociable. Asher’s passion and zest for life made him unique and affected everyone around him. He was always able to lighten the mood with a funny joke or even just through his presence.
Asher’s constant energy and enthusiasm extended to sports, especially basketball. Asher clearly enjoyed the competitive aspect of the sport, and was always working on his game. Basketball was a vehicle through which he developed and cultivated relationships with his friends and family. He was a remarkable human being with a heart of gold and team player to the core. A former teammate conveyed a story that showed the caliber of individual that Strobel was. “One game Asher was calling for the ball and I couldn’t get the pass in to him. I went to apologize to Asher during the next time out, and he told me he was calling for the ball in the high post so he could either hit Daniel cutting to the basket or James who was open in the corner. He called for the ball so he could make another pass! It was another amazing display of unselfishness.”
In order to honor and remember Asher, a group of close friends (Daniel Boiarsky, Jesse Shemen, Ari Sarna, James Merkin, Elichai Foger, Matthrew Greif, Jonathan Moed, Isaac Strulowitz, Benjy Strulowitz, and Talia Thurm) have organized an annual 3-on-3 outdoor basketball tournament on the courts where they grew up playing with him.
Asher’s family, descendants of Holocaust survivors, are known for their love Am Yisroel; in his tragically short life Asher embodied this same love for his fellow Jew. Asher’s parents, Dr. and Mrs. Ron Strobel were among the founding families of the East Hill Synagogue. Dr. Strobel was the shul’s first president. Rabbi Zev Reichman of the East Hills Synagogue, told the JLBC, “The entire community was devastated by Asher’s loss. He was a true mensch, a friend to his peers and their parents.”
All proceeds raised go to help fund the East Hill Asher Strobel Leadership Program. This program aims to both teach Jewish high-school students about the richness of their Jewish heritage and trains them to become the next leaders of the Jewish community, the type of leader that we know Asher would have become. The program consists of ten leadership sessions and culminates in a trip to Poland to reinforce the kesher between the past, present, and future. It is the hope that this program will allow Asher’s memory to shape and guide the Jewish future.
Year one of the Basketball Tournament saw 72 of Asher’s friends competing in the 3-on-3 tournament. On Sunday June 29th 180 people competed from all over Bergen County and NYC in the tournament (144 men and 36 women). Event organizer and close friend of Strobel’s, Daniel Boiarsky, told the JLBC, “As the tournament has grown over the years, so has the level of competition.”
The winners of the men’s division were team Josh Nulman, Jonny Nulman, and Joey Heller. The winners of the first-ever ladies division was Rebecca Furer, Tamar Furer, and Lisa Ogorek.