June 21, 2024
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June 21, 2024
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Jewish Center of Teaneck Plans Annual Dinner and Hachnasat Sefer Torah

The concert for the chayalim returning from the northern front.

On Sunday June 16, the Jewish Center of Teaneck (JCT) will hold a Hachnasat Sefer Torah alongside its annual shul dinner honoring the Morah D’Asrah and Rebbetzin of the shul, Rabbi Daniel and Chayah Fridman.

Coming up on his ninth year at JCT, Rabbi Fridman has been responsible for instituting an abundance of learning opportunities for the community, including Daf Yomi, a weekly Navi class, Nach Yomiand shiurim for various age groups. In addition to teaching Limudei Kodesh at Torah Academy of Bergen County, Rabbi Fridman can also be found leading shiurim at the Bais Medrash of Bergen County. After attending all three Shabbos minyanim at JCT, he leads a parsha class for the children following the shul’s weekly kiddush.

“Serving the Jewish Center of Teaneck as Rov and Rebbetzin continues to be the privilege of our lives,” said Rabbi Fridman. “The environment is one of Chessed and Community, one of Torah, one of Tefillah, one of Love of the People of Israel and the Land of Israel. We could not have been more blessed in terms of a community in which to raise our children. All we can say is, מה אשיב לה׳ כל תגמולוהי עלי.” (How can we repay Hashem for all his goodness?)

“In her modest and understated way, Chaya is the foundation of all that happens in the shul. Quietly, she enables and facilitates all of the Torah, chesed and tefillah which take place through the shul. She is my moral compass, and the akeres ha-bayis for our family. May Yotzer Ha’Adam bless us to continue to raise our children to Torah, ahavas ha’berios (love of people) and yiras Shamayim.”

Rabbi Fridman and JCT President Daniel Wetrin on the “Bergen County Unites for Israel” Mission.

JCT President Daniel Wetrin said that the shul has experienced a total transformation and revival because of the Fridmans and their ongoing efforts, growing from 70 families to a robust membership of about 160 families today.

Well before October 7, Rabbi Fridman had already played an instrumental role in the Bergen County Jewish Action Committee, rallying his congregation to get involved and make their voices heard in the local political scene, while garnering support for local Jewish causes.

“Since October 7, there has been endless action by Rabbi Fridman in terms of organizing the community and making sure that the community was safe and heard, ensuring students and faculty members felt supported and safe.

Some of Rabbi Fridman’s incredible initiatives include bringing in survivors of the Nova festival to Teaneck so they could tell their stories. He organized a night of comedy featuring British comedian Ashley Blaker, that brought in a huge crowd of people, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the residents of Kerem Shalom, JCT’s sister- community that sits right on the border of Gaza and Egypt.

He was also responsible for organizing the “Bergen County Unites for Israel” mission back in February, where Bergen County residents representing all the shuls in the area traveled to Israel as one united group, in an effort to bring some semblance of comfort to the chayalim and displaced residents of the Gush Katif, and offer help wherever it was needed. He even organized a concert for close to a thousand soldiers and their families returning from defending the northern border.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Rabbi Fridman arranged a Lag B’Omer concert featuring Mordechai Shapiro where 850 attended, and in the process, once again, raised a much-needed substantial amount of tzedakah for Kerem Shalom. Wetrin promised that there are even more surprises coming up later in the year as well.

But it is not just families in Israel who are the beneficiaries of his extraordinary acts of chesed. Wetrin shared how he supports the wider communities right here in Bergen County. “Very quietly, behind the scenes, he sees to the needs of families in the community who are suffering financially and families who are suffering bereavements, and takes on a whole litany of other acts of chesed which nobody knows about.”

He added that Rabbi Fridman works day and night. “I don’t know if he sleeps. I see messages from him day and night about everything. He is really a remarkable person. The range of work that he has done over the last eight years, and more specifically in the last year, knows no bounds.”

Wetrin says he has become very close with Rabbi Fridman in the last 18 months, since he started serving as JCT’s president. He describes Rabbi Fridman as “very caring and incredibly kind” and is amazed at how he remembers everybody’s name, kids’ birthdays, what they like and even what schools they all attend. “I’d say he probably messages everybody in the community at least once a week to wish them a Shabbat Shalom. He’s very supportive and I think, above all else, he loves his family and will do anything for them…he’s just a very generous, kind man.”

The comedy night featuring Ashley Blaker that raised much needed funds for the residents of Kerem Shalom.

Rabbi Fridman feels the same. “I want to thank President Daniel Wetrin for his personal friendship and extraordinary leadership, as well as all of the members of the board. We are deeply humbled to have been honored by the shul. Daniel is a treasure for our community, and we thank Daniel and his wife Shira for their investment in the shul community. We also have to thank our dear friends, Ryan and Rebecca Richmond, for their tireless efforts, year in and year out, making the dinner such a success.”

The dinner will also include a Hachnasat Sefer Torah given by JCT members, Josh and Eyenadis Schwartzbaum. Written in honor of his children, Dr. Schwarzbaum said these days “we see so much idealism and ‘how things should be’ and we need to be very careful with how we are aligning ourselves. But I am sure that if we align ourselves properly with the Torah and mitzvot that is how we come closer to Hashem.”

Dr. Schwarzbaum describes the mitzvah of writing a sefer Torah, a mitzvah that lasts. “It is an everlasting mitzvah which essentially keeps on providing even more mitzvot,” and couldn’t be happier than to share it with Rabbi Fridman and the JCT congregation, which he describes as a very community-oriented shul.

“Dr. Josh and Eyenadis Schwarzbaum’s donation of a Sefer Torah is simply the most meaningful gift the shul can receive,” Rabbi Fridman said. “Chazal teach us that one who performs this mitzvah is compared to one who received the Torah directly at Har Sinai. More broadly, their contribution to our shul community, in all areas, is simply exceptional and represents everything to which our shul aspires: chesed, Torah, tefillah, love of Israel and making a Kiddush Hashem in broader society. May Hashem bless them and their beloved children, Shalev and Elai, in good health.”

Dr. Schwarzbaum called Rabbi Fridman very vocal and active within the community, someone who cares deeply about what’s going on. “He’s a great guy who wants to see the community grow. He’s proactive in getting to know people and creating a warm and inclusive atmosphere regardless of where they stand on the religious spectrum.” He added that Rabbi Fridman is always looking for ways to build up the community, not only with the members of the congregation, but even across Bergen County, as well.

“At the end of the day, we are all created in the image of Hashem. So the more that we can recognize that in each other, regardless of where we stand on the religious spectrum, then the more we can accept each other and bring people closer to Hashem, in whatever way that means. And I think he does a great job of doing that.

To learn more about the Jewish Center of Teaneck, visit https://www.jcot.org/

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