Wednesday, May 12, 2021

“I stand solidly with the Jewish community. Everything American is about living in harmony. My message to the children of our community is to hold your heads up high and wear your kippot and tzitzit proudly.”

These reassuring words were offered by Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin addressing those assembled for the groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of the Young Israel of Teaneck on Sunday morning, January 5. In attendance were an outpouring of members of YIOT and their young children, equally excited at the milestone of their shul.

Founded in 1992 with only 25 young families, YIOT’s original mission was to create a warm and nurturing institution catering to a diverse, enthusiastic and dynamic young population. “Even though some of us cannot currently be included in the ‘young’ category, we are still enthusiastic and have maintained the same spirit and vision as when we were founded,” offered Yaakov Pultman, chairman of the expansion committee. ”Since the seeds were planted over 5 1/2 years ago for our expansion and the active planning has been ongoing for the past 2 1/2 years, over 90% of our shul membership has been involved, including the enthusiastic children. This is a tribute to our adherence to our original mission.”

Participating in the groundbreaking ceremony, in addition to the mayor, were Deputy Mayors Elie Katz and Mark Schwartz, Bergen County Freeholder Tracy Zur and a representative from the office of Congressman Josh Gottheimer who read a Congressional Record Proclamation about the event. Also in attendance were the project’s architects from SNS in Montvale, builder Kenn Visbeen and a representative from Lakeland Bank in Teaneck.

Rabbi Binyamin Krohn, Morah D’Asra of the congregation for the past six years, following Rabbi Pinchas Weinberger, addressed the assembled by telling a story with an inspirational message. His takeaway? “If you dream the incredible, you may achieve the impossible.”

President David Schwartz drew upon the account of the building of the mishkan, which called upon the people of Israel to utilize all of their creative powers. Similarly, the members of the YIOT working on the expansion are utilizing all of their creative skills for the project as reflected in the number and diversity of the subcommittees. These include the fundraising, capital marketing, sanctuary and beit midrash, construction and design and interim planning and expansion committees. Kudos went to the groundbreaking committee for their exceptional efforts in putting together the ceremony. Members include Dina Rosenberg, Jenny Rosenberg, Janet Hod and Susan Weinstock.

In concluding the program with the ceremonial shovel dig followed by photo opportunities, master of ceremonies Pultman reiterated YIOT’s “outward-looking” mission to care for the larger community as evidenced in its honoring of the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps at its upcoming dinner. He invited the children to take a last opportunity at climbing the enormous digger parked on the site of the new expansion, which they did gleefully. The expansion is expected to be completed this year.