May 24, 2024
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Livingston/West Orange Chesed Committee Builds on Successes

The joint Livingston/West Orange Chesed Committee, which began even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, is continuing to operate in full force, adding new components weekly. Launched through a WhatsApp post in December by Co-Chair Renee Glick, the group now boasts over 200 volunteers. Co-administrators of the group are Moshe Glick, Larry Rein and Barbara Listhaus.

Working with community members Bobbi Luxenberg, Listhaus,Yonna Rosenberg and Beth Indyk, Glick recently implemented the Challah Project. The mission of the project is to locate approximately 30-40 individuals each week in the Livingston/West Orange community who are isolated and alone. On Erev Shabbat they are gifted with a package that includes challahs and pastries from the West Orange Bake Shop, owned by Rachel and Yitz Mittel.

When social distancing is no longer necessary, the deliveries will include a social visit as well, modeled after Naomi’s Challah in Livingston. Each week the list of recipients is revised, with some individuals being weekly or monthly recipients. Often, deliveries are made to those who have recently gotten up from shiva.

Sponsorships for the Challah Project, in the amount of $300 weekly, have been reserved through September. Bobbi and Michael Luxenberg of West Orange were among the first sponsors, and dedicated their sponsorship in memory of Michael’s father, Irwin Luxenberg, z”l, who had recently passed away.

Glick shared, “The feedback we are receiving from this project is amazing! I cannot believe that we already have sponsors booked out into September. Individuals in our community are sponsoring for birthdays, yahrzeits and other occasions. And most importantly, those who are receiving the challah and pastries appreciate that their friends and fellow community members are thinking of them.”

The initial projects of the Livingston/West Orange Chesed Committee were Passover to Go and Shavuot to Go, which provided all the products needed for the proper celebration of the chagim. Next, the committee provided masks to local residents. Currently, they have included an Exchange Giveaway subcommittee, spearheaded by Michael Belsky, Barbara Muskin and Alisha Blugrind, which ran a sports exchange earlier in the summer. Glick followed up on this exchange by hosting a mobile bike repair event in front of her home on July 19.

Now in the planning is a Toys/Games/Book Exchange. West Orange resident Esther Schwartz is proposing the new toy exchange in honor of her granddaughter’s first birthday. Juliet Rutner, also of West Orange, has suggested a housewares exchange before the chagim.

So much is going on that Glick hopes to start a newsletter detailing all the projects and how to participate as a volunteer or recipient.“The opportunities for chesed are endless. And we are blessed with a community that is coming out in large numbers in support of these projects.”

Bobbi Luxenberg added, “This is a great program for Livingston and West Orange to join together to show our love to members of our community and support local businesses. I am so proud to have been raised in this community and see us continue our great traditions of warmth and hospitality.”

Contact Renee Glick at [email protected] for volunteer opportunities.

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