May 26, 2024
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Hods to Be Honored at YIOT 20th Annual Dinner

The Young Israel of Teaneck (YIOT) will celebrate its 20th annual dinner on March 10. This year’s guests of honor are Janet and Lior Hod. The Charlie Gartenberg Memorial Service Award will be given to Elana and Eli Katz, and Danny Daurio, local mail carrier, will be the first recipient of the Gratitude Award, endowed by the Hod family.

Janet and Lior Hod moved to Teaneck 30 years ago. Janet told The Jewish Link, “I’m so proud to see how our [YIOT] members interact with our community. We help our elderly neighbors. We greet and help our non-Jewish neighbors, even including them in shul events when appropriate. When someone in our community needs help, volunteers step forward and fill requests within minutes.”

Janet serves as the YIOT office manager. As she said, “I always think of the Mishkan, where everyone contributed what they could. I know I’m good at organizing and I felt this was a way I could give back to the shul and save the shul some money.”

The Hods have seen tremendous growth since they moved to the community. Janet shared, “My own daughter has moved across the street from us. I have close friends here who are older than me and many who are younger than me. I have friends here who are more observant than me and some who are less and we all care about each other. There is nothing like the YIOT community.”

Charlie Gartenberg, z”l, was a founding member of the Young Israel of Teaneck. He gave of his time, money and expertise and did it with simcha. In his memory, each year the shul looks for a person or couple who exemplify his midot to receive the Charlie Gartenberg Memorial Service Award.

This year’s recipients, Eli and Elana Katz, moved to Teaneck five years ago and immediately got involved with the shul. Eli sits on the YIOT board of directors and plays a part in many committees, including the house, security and technology committees. Elana is on the sisterhood committee where she plans many different events throughout the year, and while they both have been on the dinner committee for the last three years, Elana co-chaired the committee last year.

“The YIOT is the core of our community, with many diverse families and backgrounds,” the Katz’s reflected. “[It] is a place of Torah, spiritual growth, friendship, chesed, family and love.”

According to David Schwartz, YIOT president, “Eli and Elana have been leaders and role models for newer members by throwing themselves into helping the shul wherever it is needed, serving on the board, chairing the dinner, and in Eli’s case really taking the lead on all things IT and technology for several years.”

Danny Daurio is the mail carrier for much of the YIOT neighborhood. Born and raised in Teaneck, Danny is a second-generation mail carrier. Danny not only delivers the mail, he does wellness checks on “[his] people.” Danny shared, “I’m the eyes and ears of the neighborhood and I try to keep my eyes out for my people. If I see something suspicious, I’ll be the first to call the police. I’ve taken down license plates of suspicious cars.” When he learned that he would be the first recipient of the Gratitude Award he felt humbled. “I’m so honored. I don’t know of any mailman who has been given a dinner by his route before.”

Janet and Lior Hod have endowed the Gratitude Award. Janet shared, “Lior and I have always believed that ‘thank you’ and showing gratitude are keys to life.Danny genuinely cares for our neighborhood. When our neighborhood was clobbered by Hurricane Sandy, the post office was closed, yet Danny got in his car and drove around making sure everyone was okay. We are grateful to be able to say thank you to him.”

Rabbi Binyamin Krohn, rabbi of the YIOT, told The Jewish Link, “Eli and Elana Katz have been at the forefront, helping and spearheading initiatives in our shul since their arrival in our community. Janet and Lior Hod are a force for good wherever they find themselves, and we are so blessed to have them in our community.Their home is open to all and is a favorite space for some of our most exciting shul programs. And, of course, the Hods have once again led us along the path of kindness and the mida of hakarat hatov, endowing a new award that thanks those who do so much for us. We are so excited to honor Danny Daurio for his menschlichkeit and kindness to so many in our community.”

This year’s dinner comes at a particularly important time for the shul. The shul has 240 families and is continuing to grow. Last week the YIOT launched a $3.75 million capital campaign to raise the necessary funds to move forward with an expansion of the current building.

To make a reservation for the dinner, place an ad or contribute to the capital campaign, email [email protected].

By Sara Kosowsky Gross

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