This year’s annual Highland Park/Edison Teshuva Lecture to benefit Yad Eliezer, dedicated to the memory of I. David and Miriam Goldstein, will take place via Zoom on Sunday, September 13 at 8 p.m. The featured speaker is Rabbi Berel Wein, founder and director of the Destiny Foundation. The topic of Rabbi Wein’s lecture is “Return to Where? Returned to Whom?”
Communal fundraising efforts on behalf of Yad Eliezer in Highland Park/Edison were initiated by Jack and Rifky Atkin of Congregation Ohav Emeth in 1997, when Rifky was facing a serious illness. Traveling to Israel, Jack met with Dov Vizel, head of Yad Eliezer. Vizel told Jack that charitable fundraising would serve as a merit for his wife’s recovery, quoting the sentence Jews recite twice daily in the paragraph before the Shema, “Zoraya Tzedakos, Machmeach Yeshous,” referring to God who “sows kindness, makes salvations flourish.”
Two years later, just hours before Rosh Hashanah, I. David Goldstein, father of Charyn Atlas of Congregation Ohr Torah and Joyce Nissel of Woodmere, passed away. Goldstein was a dynamic force in the development of the Lakewood Jewish community. As his first yahrzeit approached, Atlas established what became an annual teshuva lecture in his memory. Rabbi Yaakov Luban of Congregation Ohr Torah agreed to host this event at his shul, welcoming the entire community to an evening of inspiration.
Soon afterwards, Jack and Rifky proposed adding the act of tzedakah for Yad Eliezer to the words of Torah offered in the lecture, and a partnership in chesed was born. With the help of Rosa and Barry Katz of Congregation Ahavas Achim, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for the benefit of Yad Eliezer over the past 20 years.
Established in 1980 to deliver food baskets to hungry families in Israel, Yad Eliezer’s expanded economic and social programs now serve over 18,000 families per year, providing job training and child mentoring programs in addition to nationwide food distribution.
Donations to help Yad Eliezer feed and support Israel’s poor should be made out to American Friends of Yad Eliezer and mailed to Rifky and Jack Atkin, 16 Hamlin Road, Edison, NJ 08817.
Everyone is encouraged to join Rabbi Wein’s lecture and partake collectively in the mitzvah of tzedakah before Rosh Hashanah. The Zoom address for this event is https://tinyurl.com/y437t76o. Meeting ID: 880 4804 6168 Passcode: 741163.
By Harry Glazer