May 22, 2024
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Herzfeld Family Raises Awareness of Mobility Issues

BREAKING NEWS: The Herzfeld Family has gotten their van. While the below info shares that they were not winners of the National Mobility Awarneness Contest, a philanthropist in Los Angeles heard of the situation and donated funds for the van. Read all about that here.

Editor’s note: Thousands of members of the Bergen County community, as well as the larger Jewish community, became aware of the mobility needs of Teaneck’s Herzfeld family when they were entered in a contest to win a van from the organizers of National Mobility Awareness Month, which took place in May. While the Herzfeld family was not one of the four families who won a fully equipped van, the Ma’ayanot community was moved to action, and they have news to share. We are pleased to share the following two communications.

Dear Ma’ayanot Family:

We are sorry to report that Mrs. Herzfeld did not win the handicap accessible van. The news isn’t all bad, however. The good news is that our significant efforts in publicizing and voting in this contest have inspired a truly amazing outpouring of support and concern, both within and beyond our community, and we are confident and hopeful that this support will result in the Herzfelds getting the van that they so desperately need. Stay tuned for more details!

There is yet another piece of good news. As a result of awareness raised through this contest, our community has established The Herzfeld Family Fund, a designated fund managed by the Bergen County Chapter of United Way. Funds raised will be utilized to assist the Herzfelds in achieving greater success in managing their ever-growing physical and medical needs, including construction upgrades needed to accommodate their extraordinary physical challenges and allow for a safe and comfortable living environment. Learn more about this initiative by clicking here: https://www.crowdrise.com/HerzfeldExtremeHomeMakeover/fundraiser/maayanotalumnae.

Finally, Mrs. Herzfeld asked us to post the following message on her behalf:

Although we heard the disappointing news this morning that we have not won the handicap accessible van, we are deeply comforted by the fact that this contest has brought out the best, not only in our small Ma’ayanot community, but in the greater Bergen County community, NY/NJ community, and indeed, the entire worldwide Jewish community.

I told my children weeks ago, that even if we did not win he contest, that I knew that something wonderful was coming from it–I believe that this contest will bring Moshiach that much quicker. The unity and achdut that was exhibited by all of K’lal Yisrael was just unbelievable. The entire spectrum of the Jewish world, from Reconstructionist/Reform through Chasidic/Charedi was on our side, pulling for us, rooting for us, encouraging us, and voting for us..

Hashem works in mysterious ways; my family is living testament to that. Fourother families who needed vans did win them, and that is a good thing for them. B’ezrat Hashem, we will get a van one way or the other.

All of us feel that although we lost something, we gained something as well. Emotional support has covered each and every one of us like a warm blanket, and we are extremely appreciative for it. My husband and children have made new friendships and connections through this van campaign, as have I. I must confess, however, that the greatest part of this contest for me has been re-connecting with former students who have contacted me to offer love, appreciation for what they had learned in my literature classes [yes!], and emotional, as well as physical and financial support; it has been in connecting on a different level with my Ma’ayanot girls who came out in support of me and my family in ways that they realize and that they don’t realize.

Allow me then, on behalf of my entire family, to thank everyone who reads this for their help. “Thank you” is a small phrase, but the only one available to us. We hope it is large enough to express the depths of our gratitude to you all.

Chazak v’amatz, everyone. It’s just a setback. We don’t feel like losers. We have gained a ton, and still intend, one day, i’yh, to drive around town, the six of us together in a handicapped accessible van.

Tizku l’mitzvot, u’lmaasim tovim.

Most sincerely,

Esther Herzfeld

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