April 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

‘Breakfast for Israel’ Receives High Accolades

The well-attended “Breakfast for Israel” held this past Sunday at the Teaneck Jewish Center was the first-of-its-kind event in our community. Through two family members, two vital charities benefiting Israel were joined and celebrated together. Magen David Adom, represented by our Deputy Mayor Elie Katz, who is also a life member of the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps, joined forces with Yad Leah, founded and directed by Katz’s sister-in-law Jessica Katz, to raise the community’s awareness of the exemplary work being done locally on behalf of both.

Opening the program was New Jersey’s Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. In her presentation, Guadagno affirmed the close relationship between New Jersey and Israel and endorsed the missions of the two charities being feted: safeguarding the Israeli community physically through emergency medical services and providing Israeli citizens with dignity and self-confidence through the provision of suitable clothing. She spoke of the sensitivity the New Jersey governor’s office displays to the Jewish community by relating the story of a distraught mother who was able to provide a proper Jewish burial for her deceased son before the Sabbath because of the intervention of state offices.

Guest Speaker Ambassador Dani Dayan began his remarks by thanking the New Jersey Legislature for inviting him to the recent graduation ceremony of the New Jersey police force in a show of solidarity with the security forces of the State of Israel. Dayan saluted the two Katzes for their missions on behalf of the citizenry of Israel. He spoke of these missions as protecting and enhancing the quality of life of Israeli citizens on a daily basis. He focused on the vitality of the country by pointing out that the shekel is the strongest currency in Europe and the Middle East, and cited that Israel was recently voted the second most innovative country in the world in terms of science and technology. He quoted David Ben Gurion as saying that in order to be a “realist” in Israel, you have to believe in miracles, and he said that the amount of support generated by communities such as Teaneck is nothing less than “a miracle.”

Karen Stein, representing Magen David Adom, stressed that the Israeli government does not financially support the work of Magen David Adom and that the funds that supply the major source of blood for the citizens as well as soldiers of the country is paid for primarily by private donations from around the world. She pointed out that MDA is at the forefront of emergencies and terror attacks but has also escorted expectant mothers to the hospital and in some cases delivered babies on the way.

Two very strong videos illustrated the work of each tzedaka. The Yad Leah video took the audience to the reception centers of the more than 30 communities throughout Israel that receive the shipments of clothing. The sheer delight and gratitude of the recipients on the other end should provide great impetus to us in the States to volunteer for the gemach and support it generously. The MDA video featured the poignant tribute of an Israeli mother whose son was attacked by a terrorist in a candy store a block away from his home. Through the quick thinking of the MDA medic and the speedy navigation of the ambulance driver, the teenager was saved and returned to his family.

Elie Katz and Jessica Katz related how their involvement in MDA and Yad Leah evolved and how they hope to continue their efforts on behalf of their organizations with the assistance and generous support of the Teaneck, Bergen and Passaic county communities who have been so supportive to date. IDT, as well as five local yeshivot, were honored with accolades and awards for their support and participation in the two tzedakot.

To contribute to the next purchase of an MDA ambulance, please visit www.afmda.org. To volunteer as a packer, email [email protected], and to contribute to Yad Leah, visit www.yadleah.org/donate.

By Pearl Markovitz

 

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