July 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Fleetwood Synagogue Honors Service at Home and Abroad

(Courtesy of Fleetwood Synagogue) Fleetwood Synagogue’s annual dinner honored service from two very different ends of the spectrum.

Akiva and Elisheva Chase, honored for their work as the shul’s gabbai and recording secretary, respectively, performed two of the more thankless jobs in a community, showing up every day with grace and aplomb, and a smile.

Honoree Yonatan Herzfeld was recognized for his service in the IDF, acknowledging his years of service, as well as his immediate response to help after hearing about the attacks on October 7. His family spoke on his behalf and shared a video he recorded in absentia as he now lives in Israel.

Akiva spoke of the proactive attitude and “next man up” spirit of Fleetwood Synagogue that encouraged him to take on the role of the gabbai. He noted when he started two years ago, he was thrown straight into the fire, as one of his first days as gabbai was his busiest—Rosh Hashana. Elisheva saw the void of recording secretary being filled on an interim basis and decided to make it her own. She kept notes and minutes for the shul continuously this past year, not missing a meeting after welcoming her and Akiva’s third child this May.

Yonatan heard about the attacks on October 7 and knew where he needed to be. He was in Fleetwood visiting his family, and headed to the airport. Speaking to the community via video and with a presentation from his mother Emily, Yonatan spoke of the honor of defending Eretz Yisrael from evil and how his love of his hometown community gave him even further drive to serve. Both of his parents spoke of the challenges of having a son in the IDF, sharing stories and pictures that he sent them from his time serving in Gaza. Yonatan’s grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, shared his pride and insights, commenting that the fight for Jewish survival spans generations.

Rabbi Yosef Cohen spoke on the idea of service, in that no act of service or sacrifice is too small. We are all here to help one another, and to make the world a kinder, safer and a better place. He lauded the honorees for their commitment, as examples of those who saw a job that needed to be done and did it.

The event nourished the soul as well as the body, with attendees enjoying shredded lamb, beef sliders, Senegalese avocado and mango salad, and chicken kabobs, all prepared in house by the shul’s kitchen committee.

For more information about Fleetwood, email [email protected].

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