July 22, 2024
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Arzei Darom Celebrates Rebecca and Bruno Segal

Teaneck–Thirteen years ago a shul started in the community more for geographic reasons than any other. Arzei Darom, which literally translates to South of Cedar,” is the area of Teaneck directly south of Cedar Lane, started when congregants met in various homes for Friday night and Shabbos morning davening because they were all least three-quarters of a mile from any area synagogue. Many of the current residents were there from the beginning, including the Segal family, who moved into the neighborhood just before the shul’s first organizational meeting. The shul now has 110 member families.

“We hosted meetings in the house; we had a building fund from the beginning. Our goal was to move into our own building, have daily minyanim, youth groups–a full service synagogue,” said Rebecca Segal, who with her husband Bruno, is being honored for her contributions to the shul at this year’s annual dinner on October 26th. Segal explained that she was able to help with a lot of initial administrative work required by the process of building the shul. She served in various capacities over the years, first as secretary, then as a vice president. She sent weekly emails, put together newsletters, took care of countless shul mailings, and served on many committees. Her husband Bruno, a computer programmer at a law firm, was often called in to help out, as were their three children. Segal remains a member of the board of directors.

In 2008, Arzei Darom moved into its renovated building on Queen Anne Road, which was bought several years earlier but required extensive retrofitting and town variance approval. Rabbi Aharon Ciment has been mara d’asra since 2004. He is also a member of the faculty at Yeshiva University. Yitzy Frankel serves as youth director.

One of the things that sets Arzei Darom apart is that it’s not as big as many other shuls in the community. Segal said that allows members to initiate shul projects based on their own interests and passions. “Whatever you want to do, say it, and you can do it,” she said. As an example, she said she enjoys being on a committee that prepares Purim Shaloch Manot baskets with an anxiously awaited secret theme each year.

The three Segal children–Michael, 30, who works as a research veterinarian; Debra, 26, who works in commercial real estate, and Karen, 19, who is a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University–have enjoyed being involved at Arzei Darom in their own ways. Michael is a very talented Torah reader and has risen to the occasion many times, and Karen enjoyed the many youth programs and events the shul hosts, most associated with the chagim each year. “The shul has an annual barbeque, a Simchat Torah kiddush that’s a lot of fun, and Chanukah- and Purim-kid-oriented activities,” she added.

Community members are invited to visit http://arzeidarom.org/dinner, to take an ad in the dinner journal or attend the event on Sunday, October 26.

By Elizabeth Kratz

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