There are many things that I am proud of as a publisher of The Jewish Link. I am deeply proud of how strong and vibrant our readership and growing communities are and the fact that we have the ability to feature, report on, promote and highlight their efforts on a weekly basis in our paper. And I have always been in awe of the work of our many community and volunteer groups and institutions (schools, shuls, social service orgs, advocacy orgs, volunteer orgs, you name it).
That is also why I am doubly proud of this week’s annual End of Year Giving section (pages 107-121), which we launched in the last few years and has only grown since. The section contains articles, briefs and ads showcasing and highlighting the organizations and nonprofits with which so many of us are familiar and which do their best on a daily basis to serve us and our community. And, of course, the timing of this section is critical as many do like to make gifts and contributions before year-end, so I hope you will have a chance to browse through it.
In line with the focus on nonprofits and tzedaka/giving this week, I would like to use this space as an opportunity to give you all a quick update on The Bayit Association, an organization that is very close to my heart and something about which I have written previously in this space. Just to remind our readers, The Bayit Association, of which I am a co-founder, was founded more than two years ago to build kosher, shomer Shabbat group homes in the Northern New Jersey area for adults with special needs/autism/intellectual disabilities (IDD). Although for a variety of reasons, moving the project forward has certainly taken us much longer than we originally anticipated, we have learned much and still accomplished a great deal.
So where are we today? Since going public in early 2022, we now own two homes in Teaneck, with extensive construction efforts on the first home now well past the halfway point (see pictures above). God willing, this first home will be fully finished and open to residents by the late summer/fall of 2024 and will be operated and managed by OHEL, a well known and highly respected organizatino with extensive experience in this field. Plans for the second home in Teaneck are also moving forward.
On the fundraising side, we have undertaken a capital campaign to raise the money needed to both complete the first home and renovate the second home. We had planned to do a major and public campaign effort after Sukkot but unfortunately the Simchat Torah/Oct. 7 attack and the ongoing war in Gaza has definitely impacted our efforts, as it has with many other good organizations and tzedakot. (See page 118 in the Giving section for what my Bayit co-founder Bassie Taubes wrote on this topic.).
The bottom line is that we do absolutely need to continue raising money and I am asking and inviting my friends and readers who I haven’t already solicited to consider making The Bayit Association part of your year-end giving plans or to consider a larger gift as part of the capital campaign. Many dedication opportunities are still available and my co-founders and board members are all happy to tell you more about what we are doing. I also personally invite you to tour and visit the construction site of the first home together with me or my co-founders so you can see firsthand the beautiful home that is now taking shape in the heart of Teaneck. Feel free to reach out to me anytime to discuss our hopes and dreams for The Bayit Association! I look forward to hearing from you.