May 19, 2024
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A Pre-Pesach Message and Update on The Bayit Association’s First Homes

The Bayit Association’s first home in Teaneck at 263 Grayson Place, nearing completion, as pictured this past Tuesday morning.

I write this in the middle of producing what is always one of our largest editions of the year, the Pesach edition, and just a few short days after Iran’s unprecedented direct attack on Israel. The question of what exactly Israel will do in response is now being discussed worldwide and in the pages of this paper, but for myself and our team, we have an edition to produce, and we hope we have produced the best possible Pesach edition we could. You, our readers, will be the judge.

Amidst all of the pre-Pesach edition frenzy and controlled editorial and layout chaos, I received an email that made me smile and feel proud. One of our copy editors sent us the following short note after she finished editing all of the Pesach articles assigned to her. She wrote:

I have finished all of the articles sent to me….and I look forward to sharing some of these words of wisdom (from The Jewish Link divrei Torah!) at the Seder table, iy”H. Wishing you all a chag kasher v’sameach!

I have always been proud of how many divrei Torah and Torah-related pieces we are able to publish every week and I am even prouder this week of how much good Torah and Pesach-related content there is for our readers to have going into Yom Tov. But I was really touched when our veteran copy editor, whose entire job is to read and edit literally dozens of articles weekly, emails to tell us that she, too, also appreciates what she is reading professionally and personally, and will cite ideas from our paper at the Seder. That’s a powerful endorsement.

Another email that hit my inbox this week came from the CEO of EL AL, Dina Ben Tal Ganancia, who I am sure also had a challenging week. The primary point in her missive was that despite all of the challenges with running the airline amidst the war in Gaza, missile and drone attacks from the north, and now, directly from Iran, EL AL continues to do their best to operate safely and without canceling any regularly scheduled flights. She closed her letter saying “EL AL continues to be committed to maintain the bridge to and from Israel…EL AL is here to bring you home, during emergency times and during the routine.”

Although my job as publisher of The Jewish Link does not compare to the EL AL CEO job, I definitely relate to what she writes, and I do feel that our paper has a deep achrayut, responsibility, to operate similarly to EL AL on some level, as a strong and unbreakable link that connects and unites the communities we serve, and to publish without fail and to the best of our abilities, and especially during challenging times like we find ourselves in today. I hope we have achieved that with this year’s Pesach edition.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish a chag kasher v’sameach to our entire readership! And I would like to give a special thanks to all of our editors and staff who made this week’s edition possible and continue to do so on a weekly and daily basis. And lastly, I am hopeful that the Jewish nation’s Pesach and our Seder nights will be ones in which we will be able to commemorate and celebrate Yetziat Mitzrayim with clear heads and without the specter of renewed large-scale warfare hanging over our heads.

Update on the Bayit Association’s First Homes in Teaneck: Meeting The $100K Challenge Grant

As we head into Pesach, I want to take the opportunity to provide our readers with an update on the Bayit Association (of which I am a co-founder), on our first group homes in Teaneck, and our fundraising and building efforts. Back in early January, I shared a lot of good news in this space and announced that our first home (see latest pic) had passed all of its halfway inspections from the state of New Jersey and that Ohel had been fully approved by the state to operate a residence for adults with IDD (intellectual/developmental disabilities) and autism.

I also announced then that the Bayit Assoc. had received a $100K challenge grant from two brothers in the community who I met with back in December who challenged me and our board to raise the $350K needed to finish up the construction on the first home. The grant they made stated that we had to raise $250K between early January and mid-February, and if we did so, they would make sure we raised the full amount of $350K with a $100K grant from them.

Along with my co-founders Adam Chill and Bassie Taubes, we worked pretty hard in those six to seven short weeks to set meetings, make phone calls, send heartfelt texts and emails, and basically do everything and anything we could think of to raise the money needed. And with Hashem’s help, and a lot of active and positive encouragement from our challenge grant funders, we did it! We really did it!

We hit and even exceeded our goal just a few days shy of the Feb. 15 deadline—whew!—but we made it. With every positive meeting and response, and as we got closer and closer to our goal, I had a chance to meet, speak, text and email with some very special, generous and philanthropic families and individuals … and I would like to say a big and heartfelt thank you to all of the many generous and special donors and families who supported us, both now and in the past few years. You know who you are.

And I would like to offer a deep, sincere thank you to our two challenge grant funders who checked in with me almost daily by WhatsApp, and only offered positive energy and contacts, and kept pushing me to make sure I didn’t lose sight of the end goal. Thank you to you both!

On the construction side, our first home is nearing completion, with the interior almost fully done, but we still need to install a fire suppression system and build two large exterior ramps which will enable wheelchairs to enter and exit from both the front and back. We are expecting the home to open in the early fall and we are so excited about it.

The plans for our second home in Teaneck on Sussex Road have now been submitted to the state and we are awaiting the state’s review and, hopefully, an approval. Once approved, we will then begin planning out the home’s development timeline and will absolutely need to raise more money for its construction costs … and in fact, we have already started to raise those funds. If you are able to help or would consider making a gift or donation, many thanks in advance!

Our donation info is in the box below and I have also included a QR code for you to scan which will take you to our donation site. Please email me at [email protected] if you have any questions on this; I am happy to answer them.

Stay tuned to The Jewish Link for more Bayit Association updates and news in the very near future!

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