Rochelle Hirsch

Rochelle Hirsch

Rochelle Hirsch is the Founder and Chairman of The Creative Playschool at Fifth Avenue Synagogue. Under her leadership for the past 25 years, The Creative Playschool has grown from one tiny classroom to the vibrant and sought after preschool program it is today.

Always involved in education, Rochelle recognized the need for quality preschool after the birth of her third child. At that time there was only one Jewish program for two year olds on the Upper East Side.  With foresight, initiative and patience she established The Creative Playschool at Fifth Avenue Synagogue, which became the exceptional program it is today.  She serves as an active Board Member at FAS as well.

A breast cancer survivor, Rochelle is the author of “Lumps and Bumps”, a comforting breast cancer story written for young children.  Writing this book was her way of addressing the unfortunate impact breast cancer has on a family.  Following one young mother’s journey in rhyme, “Lumps and Bumps” helps a child understand this delicate subject in a way that also feels natural for parents.

Since Rochelle lost her brother to cancer at a young age, one of her main focuses has been helping families cope with terminal illness.  She has served on the Board of the Jewish Healing and Hospice Partnership.  This later became the Shira Ruskay Center, which helps families navigate the complex road of hospice and palliative care.  Continuing to make a difference, she was involved with the Zicklin Hospice Residence in Riverdale and on the Board of the HealthCare Chaplaincy.

Rochelle currently sits on the Board of The Jewish Education Project, a beneficiary of UJA Federation of New York.  This organization is focused on the possibility and power of a great Jewish education.  The JEP takes tremendous pride in its mission to spark and spread innovations that expand the reach and increase the impact of Jewish education.

Rochelle and her husband David are involved in many philanthropic causes.  They were the original founders of the Upper East Side Hatzolah and donated its very first ambulance.  Their current project is focused on bringing Ambucycles to New York City.  Israel now uses these fully medically equipped motorcycles to expedite the arrival of first responders to an emergency.  Should this program become a reality, Hatzolah’s medics would be able to navigate the busy streets of our city with relative ease and in record time.

The Hirsch family is also involved with Miftan Alon in Hatikvah, Israel.  This special school provides an opportunity for success for children who are from distressed homes and who have been expelled from other schools.  It is heartwarming to see the transformation of many of these young people in this unique and caring environment.

David is the President of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Rochelle has been referred to as his “Musical Mrs”.  As devoted patrons of the arts, Rochelle and David were pleased to help support the renovation of the Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv.  This past year, their love and devotion to the State of Israel led them to proudly fulfill their dream of becoming Israeli citizens.

Rochelle received her BA from Queens College and her MA from NYU in Speech Therapy and Audiology.  She has been married to David for 45 years and takes great pride in her wonderful children, Jason, Jeffrey and Stefanie.

Photo: Annie Watt/Society Event Photography