On Rosh Chodesh Elul, the West Orange community celebrated the opening of a new shul, the Zichron Dovid Beit Knesset. The shul, which also houses the Zichron Dovid Kollel, was founded by longtime residents Dr. Joe and Lori Rozehzadeh.
The Rozehzadehs are active community members who have supported many Torah-driven initiatives in West Orange and the greater Jewish community. This latest endeavor was inspired by yeshiva boys returning from Israel who were looking for a place to learn full- or part-time during their break. The Kollel is the first of its kind in West Orange and is open to anyone interested in a yeshiva style learning environment.
The shul is in the same building as the Zichron Dovid Bikur Cholim, which the Rozehzadehs established in memory of Joe’s father, Dovid Ben Yosef Hacohen. In addition to the bikur cholim rooms, there is a medical gemach and plans for an on-site mikvah in the basement.
“Everything in the building is used for a mitzvah,” said Joe, whose goal is to infuse Torah into the community while at the same time elevating his father’s blessed memory.
Professionally Joe is a dentist who is dedicated to his career, but his religious values are what resonate most. He is especially excited about the Kollel and the opportunity it affords people in and around West Orange who want a welcoming place close to home where they can be immersed in Torah study on a regular basis. He recently met a young man from Springfield who came to learn at Zichron Dovid and enthusiastically described the experience as Lakewood-style learning right here in West Orange.
For Joe and Lori, Torah learning has always been a fundamental value in their home, and they feel privileged to facilitate this new opportunity for the community. As a young boy in Iran, Joe remembers being denied the right to learn Torah freely. Consequently, he never takes his religious freedom for granted and aims to perpetuate Torah learning as much as possible. He also believes no one should be prevented from davening in a shul or learning Torah because of financial constraints, and emphasized that there are no fees associated with either the Kollel or the shul.
Until now the only nusach Sefard minyan was inside Congregation AABJ&D, one of the community’s Ashkenazic shuls, said Joe. With the opening of Zichron Dovid, the West Orange Sefardic community has a dedicated place that feels like home. At the same time, Joe promises that many Ashkenazic tunes are incorporated into the davening; whatever your background, you will be welcomed and feel part of the klal, he emphasized.
The Rozehzadehs see Zichron Dovid as a place for people who want to experience a different type of davening and partake in a learning opportunity that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the community. Since opening, the community feedback has been excellent, with many people expressing hakarat hatov to both Lori and Joe for paving the way.
The Rozehzadehs are excited to welcome people to the Beit Knesset, which is beautifully designed with marble floors, Jerusalem stone walls and comfortable seating. They want to publicly extend a special thank you to Moshe and Maital Levy, who were instrumental in providing the Aron Kodesh and other elements that beautify the sanctuary. In the coming months the shul will be offering community-wide shiurim and educational programming for the entire family.
Zichron Dovid welcomes guests who would like to spend Shabbat or chagim in West Orange. For more information, please contact Joe Rozehzadeh at 973-941-5304 or Moshe Levy at 908-338-2002.
By Andrea Nissel