May 26, 2024
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Bais Menachem of Teaneck Hosts Community Hakhel Sefer Torah Project

Bais Menachem, the Lubavitch-inspired congregation, moved into its new quarters just before Shavuot, 2022. Located at 1370 Windsor Road, the congregation attracts over 125 men, women and children every Shabbat. Utilizing its indoor space as well as a seasonal outdoor tent and play area, the shul hosts inspirational davening, meaningful divrei Torah offered by a rotation of participants and creative activities for the youth. On many a Shabbat, families often remain well after the formal weekly kiddush to socialize and bond. The shul is anticipating an olam of over 200 for the coming Yomim Noraim.

Avi Garritano, Arik Naparstek and Yosef Levine, who serve as board members of Bais Menachem, related the origins of the congregation.

As in communities throughout the U.S. and internationally, Teaneck, Bergenfield and New Milford are a melting pot of families, many of which have grown up in Lubavitch shuls or adopted Lubavitch lifestyles and practices. They live scattered in many areas of the community and have davened in their nearest shuls. Within the past five to six years, there have been discussions among them about forming a community shul to meet evolving needs.

Ironically, it was COVID that galvanized this union. When individuals were challenged with locating an outdoor minyan to accommodate their reciting Kaddish in a COVID-adherent surrounding, outdoor minyanim began forming to accommodate their chiyuvim, requirements. At one point, a group of five brothers-in-law were attending the outdoor minyan which was then dubbed as “the bros minyan.” The front lawn minyanim soon morphed into basement minyanim when the weather turned cold and at some points the daily minyan was hosted by local restaurants. After COVID, the minyan expanded and rented a location for six months due to organic growth fueled mostly by word of mouth. Fortuitously, the Windsor Road property became available and was quickly converted into the home for the newly formed Bais Menachem which is currently going through zoning approvals.

According to its mission statement, “Bais Menachem is a community organization created for families by families. Founded upon the principles of Ahavas Yisroel as implemented by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Bais Menachem exists to “imbue spiritual meaning and action into our lives—Transform the World Today.”

Bais Menachem provides a non-judgmental environment where children, individuals and families can thrive in their avodas Hashem and chassidus: “We are ‘people centric’ and this vibe is tangible in our culture and DNA. We are all about love and comradery … In our community, children are given the opportunity to take active roles in our mikdosh ma’at so that they can grow into Jewish leaders … We will partner with other community organizations as part of our journey. Join us on our journey as we inspire and lamplight.”

In keeping with its mission of adhering to the Hakhel directive of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in uniting the Jewish community through Torah, Bais Menachem is inviting the greater Teaneck community to participate in its upcoming Community Hakhel Sefer Torah Project. In a letter penned by the Lubavitcher Rebbe on Monday of Parshas Yisro, 13 Shevat 5748 (1987), accompanying his $613 donation to Hakhel Torah, the Rebbe advised “It should be noted and illuminated that the final mitzvah in the order of mitzvos as they appear in the Torah is the mitzvah to write a sefer Torah. This final mitzvah is preceded by the mitzvah of Hakhel, the gathering of the men, women and children, to hear the words of the Torah.” The Rebbe encouraged all Jews to utilize the auspicious time of Hakhel, on or around Sukkot when Hakhel was held in the Bais Hamikdash, to unite in Torah gatherings.

Bais Menachem is inviting the larger community to participate in the writing of a new sefer Torah and to celebrate its dedication on Sunday, September 10. Opportunities to participate in this Hakhel Sefer Torah Project are available through sponsoring the remaining parshiot at $360, a pasuk at $54, a word at $36 and a letter at $25. Donations can be made in honor or memory of a loved one.

To participate in this special mitzvah of Hakhel Sefer Torah visit www.HakhelTorahTeaneck.org.

All are invited to attend the Hachnosas Sefer Torah which will be held on Sunday, September 10, at 2 p.m. at 1370 Windsor Avenue, Teaneck.

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