April 13, 2024
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Beth Abraham Opens New Wing

On Sunday afternoon, February 26, the clouds lifted and the sun was shining as Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger cut the ribbon in front of Congregation Beth Abraham’s newly built extension. After placing mezuzot by the front doors, the celebration continued indoors for several hours at the Bergenfield shul. There was a festive atmosphere as a musician played in the social hall while visitors enjoyed refreshments and a magician performed for the children.

People toured the new building, which includes a brand-new lobby, social hall, offices, nusach Sfard beit midrash and gleaming new kitchen. The space is constructed so the shul can host two events at one time, with each one separate from the other. The new building adjoins the original one, which is also being renovated.

The rebbeim and leaders of the shul all talked about the dual nature of the celebration—the new building was necessary because the community is growing. There are now over 500 full-time and affiliate member families. Rabbi Neuburger said the building is servicing the present need and will increase the networking and warmth of the shul. While some shuls have been faced with declining attendance since the pandemic lockdowns, Congregation Beth Abraham is going in the opposite direction. “We came back very strong. Stronger,” said Rabbi Neuburger.

Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Weinberg has been involved in Beth Abraham for many years and has served as mashpia for six. “Conversations [about expanding] have been under discussion for more than a decade,” he said. “But once we decided to move ahead, it came together very quickly.”

Dr. Michael Wiederkehr was the shul president last May when the groundbreaking ceremony began the construction. “It’s really been a journey and very exciting to see for the future of the shul,” he said. “The growth of Beth Abraham signifies the growth of the Teaneck/Bergenfield community. It’s been wonderful to see over the last couple of decades the growth of this beautiful Jewish community.”

Wiederkehr gave credit to the president before him, Dr. Jonathan Landa, as the person who oversaw the project from start to completion. Dr. Landa gave credit to everyone involved. “I’ve been working to get this constructed for the last four or five years,” he said. “One of the great things about this shul is that everyone pitches in and gets involved. I oversaw what was going on but lots of people put the pedal to the metal.”

In an email after the celebration, shul president Glenn Pfeiffer expressed his thoughts about the opening of the new building. “I would like to thank the various committees who have worked tirelessly over the last few years to bring us to this point. The new building is a great testament to the dedication of our community to our mikdash me’at, as we continue to expand and grow both physically and spiritually. Our new building will provide us with expanded offerings for our kehilla. The new social hall will allow our community to enjoy their simchas in a bekavodik fashion; our new nusach Sfard beit midrash will allow us to continue to enhance the vibrancy and song of our tefilos; our dedicated learning spaces will ensure we have a place to learn yomam valala. I look forward to our continued project and the completion of phase two in the coming months.”

Wiederkehr, who is still very involved in fundraising, and Pfeiffer encouraged people to join in for the final crowdfunding campaign with a goal of raising $500,000. Wiederkehr said anyone interested should get in touch with him through the shul office: call 201-384-0434 or email [email protected].

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