Park East Profile: Rabbi Elchanan Poupko

We delight in presenting a rotating brief profile of a different member of the Park East community. 

Rabbi Elchanan Poupko
Judaic Studies teacher, Grades 6-8

What advice would you give to someone who is considering Park East for their child?

It will be their child’s second family, a place they are cared for and championed. 

If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?

My great-grandmother, great-grandfather, Moses and George Washington. 

My great-grandparents escaped Soviet Russia in 1931. They settled in the United States and always cared for others; they were great people. Moses is the giver of the law and led the Jewish people out of Egypt and into Israel. George Washington helped establish the US as a self-governing nation, which is no small feat. Many other countries have tried to do the same without success. 

What’s your favorite inspirational quote?

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” I bought this plaque during a visit to the Amish country. I have it up in room 204; my students know it by heart.

Park East celebrates Jewish identity and tradition “from generation to generation.” What’s the most important lesson you learned from your parents or grandparents?

My grandfather helped lead the fight to free Soviet Jewry. He was a good friend of Rabbi Schneier; in the 1960s and 1970s, both were outspoken supporters of the “Let My People Go” campaign. He inspired me to never be a bystander and always stand up for others.