April 13, 2024
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April 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

An Update From the Goldsmiths

Editor’s note: For those unaware or outside the greater Teaneck/Bergenfield community, we want to provide a short intro to this letter, which our staff was absolutely thrilled to receive from Bergenfield’s Elana and Michael Goldsmith. Their lives were thrown into disarray as the otherwise-healthy, 34-year-old Michael came down with the virus, was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator, and lay in an induced coma at Hackensack University Medical Center for three frightening weeks. We wrote about their situation and advocacy efforts in articles and were grateful to share a video on Facebook of his homecoming this past Sunday. We will let Elana’s words now speak for themselves, as they are directed at our unified community.

To our wonderful local and global Jewish community,

Michael and I thank Hashem from the bottom of our hearts that we have gotten to a point where Michael can continue to recover from COVID-19 at home and we feel an immense sense of hakarat hatov to each and every one of you for helping us along the way. While Michael is still realizing and gaining an understanding of what happened while he was sick for over a month, nothing I could ever tell him would accurately describe the sense of urgency everyone felt, the continuous tefillot and the countless ways you have helped our family during this crisis.

There are honestly too many people in our Jewish community to thank by name, who have been pillars of strength to myself and our family. Many of them I probably don’t even know, which is amazing in and of itself. The constant outpouring of support to us has been astounding and completely breathtaking. The Tehillim groups, the medicine search teams, Joey and Sophie’s friends who stood on our sidewalk to wave and yell hi, the incredible rabbis who helped me navigate through Pesach preparations and answered tough and unfathomable questions and our friends who brought us food, activities for the kids and encouraging words of support. Every single one of you brought us a little bit of light during this very dark time. You know who you are and we wouldn’t be where we are right now without you.

Last week I wrote a public letter to thank our amazing medical staff at Hackensack Meridian Health and the doctors and health care professionals from our community who have been a vital source of strength to me while Michael was on a ventilator for 22 days and the days that followed. There are so many wonderful health care professionals in our Bergen County community who have reached out and helped us along the way and their information and support was invaluable to me. I would like to specifically thank again Dr. Nava Bak, Dr. Joey Shatzkes and Dr. Doron Katz for their unbelievable care for Michael, for helping me navigate through confusing medical jargon, for their constant check-ins and for never losing faith that Michael would recover. They are heroes, rock stars, champions and everything in between. I am eternally grateful to each of them.

I wanted to express my hakarat hatov on behalf of Michael and myself to Yavneh Academy and to IDB Bank. I have been a parent and teacher at Yavneh for five years and their immediate response of support was a lifeline for myself and our family. The Yavneh faculty is a group of the most dedicated teachers and wonderful friends. They helped Joey and Sophie through Michael’s illness as much as myself and thank you will never be enough. I specifically want to thank Rabbi Jonathan Knapp, our head of school. I relearned the meaning of the word chesed (kindness) from him when, before Pesach, Joey expressed concern to me that Michael would be unable to attend a siyum this year on Erev Pesach on Joey’s behalf as a bechor. Rabbi Knapp FaceTimed with Joey, explained the unique situation everyone was in this year, and then took it upon himself to learn with Joey so that he not only could attend a Zoom siyum but actually participate in it.

Michael works at Israel Discount Bank in New York, and the guidance, frequent check-ins and words of encouragement that they bestowed upon my family have been so helpful to us. Thank you so much for Ziv Biron, CEO of IDB, for everything and also I wanted to specifically thank Ilan Kauftal, chairman of the board of directors at IDB, who lives in our Bergen County community. Ilan and I have never met in person but speaking multiple times a day for the past five weeks, his professional advice and the personal words of chizuk that he bestowed on me helped get me through each moment of each day. Thank you Ilan for your overwhelming kindness and for your constant care for our family.

Lastly, but most importantly, I truly believe that Michael’s outcome would have been very different without your tefillot. In all honesty, I knew and learned about the power of prayer but never actually understood its meaning until Michael got sick. Your tefillot and faith that Hashem would help us get through this ordeal are what helped Michael get better. There are still many people in our community, however, that still need out tefillot, positive good thoughts and to ask Hashem for a complete refuah on their behalf. Our local and global community has been hit hard by this virus and unfortunately so many people that we know have personally been affected. Let’s continue to be there for one another, daven for each other and help us get through this pandemic together.

Thank you so much.

Elana Goldsmith
Bergenfield
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