July 19, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 19, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

A Special Motzei Shabbat With Project Ezrah

Project Ezrah’s 14th annual dinner, held last Motzei Shabbat at Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood, was a special evening. Unlike our many wonderful shul and school dinners, and unlike other dinners that highlight a particular population, Project Ezrah’s dinner emphasizes the need for us, as members of the community, to simply support and help our neighbors.

With 650 in attendance, there was a strong, almost overwhelming, “community” feel to the event, and whether one primarily greeted old friends or met new ones, it was an important date on all our calendars, as well it should be, each and every year. Simply put, it has become a must-attend for many of our community. The sense of shared purpose and togetherness of the attendees, highlights the fact that donations to Project Ezrah help those most physically close to us; they daven in the same synagogues, send their children to the same schools, often have similar jobs, habits, education levels and lifestyles. It is a difficult concept to grasp—that people might be in crisis here in our seemingly affluent community, but it is certainly true.

The fact that we, as a community, have also helped to build an organization that can step in is a great comfort to many. That most, if not all, of our community’s venerable rabbis make an effort to attend is also a testament to the organization’s importance.

This year’s Project Ezrah video, prepared by Teaneck’s Steven Fox of Fox Marketing & Video Productions, was unique in that it highlighted stories of families helped directly by Ezrah. Although the stories featured actors, they were disturbing, familiar and at times, hard to watch even, as we all have known people in such situations, and many of us have even been there ourselves at one time or another. Instead of seeing heart-warming stories played out on the screen, the feeling one had while watching was just the opposite. It was uncomfortable for many to see and hear these stories as we all recognize how difficult it is to come forward and acknowledge the need for help. The portrayals were real and universal at the same time, this could happen to anyone and anytime. We all know that there is a fine line between making ends meet and not having enough to get through the monthly bills.

The past and present staff and board of Project Ezrah have always done a wonderful job fostering the notion that the group is truly community-based and community-supported. We also know how special it is, and how unique to our area Project Ezrah truly is, in terms of people stepping up and acknowledging the need for people to help each other. We appreciate how Project Ezrah has become that vehicle for our community. We remember our friend Rabbi Yossie Stern z”l who made us all a full partner in his endeavors. He left us a powerful legacy. We are also proud to have the friendship of Ezrah’s current leadership team of Robert Hoenig, Susan Alpert, Jeff Mendelsohn and all the staff of Project Ezrah, who work so hard for our community.

A Mazel tov again to all the honorees, and to Rabbi Steven Weil on his rabbinic leadership award. One final plea and request: It’s not too late to make a contribution before year’s end.

We should all continue to fund this truly special organization, and we should double the attendance of Project Ezrah’s dinner next year. Visit http://www.ezrah.org for more information and to make your tax-deductible contribution.

By Moshe Kinderlehrer,

Co-Publisher/Founder, The Jewish Link of New Jersey

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles