June 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Creative Chesed in Our Communities

The chesed projects in our local communities are multiplying in many creative formats. Adults and young people are coming up with a wide variety of meaningful and clever chesed opportunities, and making the most of them.

Prior to Pesach, The Jewish Link reported about the all-in-one Passover-in-a-Box distributed by Essex County’s West Orange/Livingston community through a new effort, WOLiv Gives. Over 700 boxes of complete meals and accoutrements for the Pesach seder and Yom Tov were distributed at that time.

Building on that endeavor, West Orange/Livingston Chesed Group members Lawrence Rein and Moshe Glick have recently launched an ambitious project that will try to ease the financial burden on those community members who find themselves unemployed or underemployed at this time. As a first step, the pair set out to identify local professionals who were willing to donate their services during this time to those who simply cannot afford them. Rein and Glick created a form through which professionals willing to donate their services pro bono can sign up. These services include medical, legal, financial, social/emotional counseling, vocational guidance and other services when indicated. The form is available at https://forms.gle/gkMCuxWwSmwnNQsr7 or at [email protected].

The next step was finding a confidential way to match community members in need with the appropriate professionals. Each shul in the two communities has designated coordinators who will serve as the initial contacts, who will then refer the clients on to the appropriate professionals. The hope is that this will enable clients to feel more comfortable reaching out, as the coordinators will likely be those with whom they have a preexisting relationship.

The shuls involved are West Orange’s AABJ&D, Ohr Torah, Chabad of West Orange, B’nai Shalom, Beth Israel and Maayan, and Livingston’s Etz Chaim and Suburban Torah, creating a comprehensive multi-denominational effort. For the names and contact information for the coordinators, email [email protected], Rein at [email protected] or Glick at [email protected].

Bergen County has its own share of chesed efforts. As of Monday, May 3, a new project will be implemented in Englewood by The Moriah School community. A generous sum of $10,000 was gifted to The Moriah School by friends of the school who wish to remain anonymous. In designating this gift toward a meaningful project, Head of School Rabbi Daniel Alter shared that there were two considerations. One was to offer help to the nearby Englewood community, pockets of which live in dire poverty. The second thought was that Moriah’s own kitchen staff, often living in the neighboring community, is being hit hard by the absence of income from their jobs at the school. Working with Kenny Yager, president of Five Star Caterers in Totowa, New Jersey, which provides the meals at the school, the Moriah community will be providing 50 meals to 50 families affiliated with the school over the next 100 days.

According to Rabbi Alter, “These kitchen workers are very much a part of our school family and we appreciate them on a daily basis.”

The hope is that if donations from the larger community come in, the project will be expanded. To date, the Moriah School community has been asked to contribute to this project. Now it is being brought to the entire Bergen community. If you would like to contribute and show your hakarat hatov to these, and other, workers, visit www.moriahschool.org� and follow the link to donate.

By Pearl Markovitz

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