Thursday, January 27, 2022

Rabbi Michoel Goldin, a rabbi at Chabad of Teaneck, has been working with local high school students and young adults for eight years. His involvement includes Chabad’s Young Professionals group in Teaneck, and the Kosher Food Club at Teaneck High School. These clubs have led to shidduchim, long lasting connections and countless mitzvot.

Rabbi Goldin moved from Crown Heights on shlichut in 2008. Shortly thereafter, he and his wife Rivky became the youth directors of the Chabad of Teaneck. Their goal was to enhance the lives of all the local youth, secular and observant alike, and provide them with positive religious experiences. They created initiatives including performing chesed for people in assisted living or nursing homes, and soldiers, providing them with a connection to Yiddishkeit; and also connecting with the youth and their families by inviting them for Shabbat and other experiences. By modeling what a positive Torah environment looked like, the Goldins were able to reinforce deeper connections with young people that led to true and congenial relationships.

The Young Jewish Professionals club includes a shiur once a week. It is for single people from the area in their 20s and 30s. Once a month, Rabbi Goldin makes them a shabbaton, including meals and divrei Torah. It is important for this group to be able to socialize with peers of similar backgrounds and situations. Four shidduchim have been made from this program, for which the Goldins fundraise to enable these shabbatons and other programs to continue.

The Kosher Food Club provides a close-knit Jewish environment for students in public school, notably at Teaneck High School. The students learn about Jewish culture through the power of food. Rabbi Goldin goes to each of the two lunch periods at the school and brings different food once a week, provided by the Chabad House. He likes to make it fun for the students by organizing events for different holidays, bringing music, organizing mitzvot and creating chesed opportunities, sharing Israeli foods, making bar/bat mitzvahs and sharing words of Torah. The club is student-run, and has a student-based leadership.

Once a year, there is a shabbaton for teens from public schools all over the world, held in Brooklyn. Rabbi Goldin noted how “amazing it is for them to see so many proud Jews; [it] leaves a big impact” when he brings them. He also tries to have his teens travel to Israel or Poland when possible, and plans other similar programs to increase their Jewish exposure and pride. Every Wednesday night at the Chabad House, he gives a shiur and invites the teens, which transitions their Jewish involvement from cultural to religious and spiritual.

Ultimately, Rabbi Goldin’s goal is to connect to the teens and leave a lasting impact on them and their lives, which he clearly has already done. One of his former food club members is planning a wedding and asked Rabbi Goldin to officiate. He couldn’t be more honored and excited to do so.

These clubs facilitate a Jewish lifestyle for students and young adults who ordinarily would not have it, opportunities for which the impacted individuals are grateful and which the Goldins are thrilled to be able to offer.

The Goldins’ goal is for “no one [to] fall through the cracks; every Jewish person should be noticed and feel like they are not forgotten.”

Hannah Kirsch is a student at Binghamton University and a former Jewish Link intern.

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