April 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

New Fleetwood Synagogue Assistant Rabbi Zaki Dayan Has a Dilemma

(Courtesy of Fleetwood Synagogue) Rabbi Zaki Dayan had been brought in as the community’s assistant rabbi to serve as an additional rabbinic resource to the shul. Head Rabbi Yosef Cohen will begin his second year as the head rabbi as he starts his pediatric residency. Rabbi Dayan will ensure coverage at shul for times where Rabbi Cohen will be on call or out for residency reasons. Rabbi Cohen and Rabbi Dayan have had extensive halachic and hashkafic conversations to ensure a unified direction of Fleetwood, its values and its practices.

Searching for an apartment in the area to move into, Rabbi Dayan, his wife Gabriella and daughter Naomi Ashira stumbled upon a wonderful two-bedroom apartment that had all the features they desired. However, a significant obstacle stood in their way—it wasn’t “Shabbat-friendly.” Both the main entrance and apartment locks were electric-operated only, making it impossible for an observant family to live there. Rather than give up, Rabbi Dayan got to work to make this growing community more Orthodox-friendly.

He shared his concerns with the property manager, who said she would discuss the matter with the owner. A couple of days later, they get a call from the owner, whose name is Shalom. He introduced himself as one of the owners of not just Fleetwood Synagogue’s building, but also the neighboring ones that are part of a new development. Shalom sincerely apologized for the oversight, admitting that he had been unaware of the growing Jewish community in the vicinity. Without delay, he assured them that he would work to find a solution—and he did. Free of charge, the apartment locks were switched to a “Shabbat lock,” and a manual key gate was installed in the parking lot, making it conducive to Shabbat observance.

Rabbi Dayan commented that the whole process was smooth, and he is optimistic that the new luxury apartment building will be an attractive living option for those looking to move to Fleetwood. The development, furnished with new, modern amenities, sits adjacent to the Metro-North station, for quick access to the 30-minute train ride from Southern Westchester to Grand Central. It is a five-minute walk from Fleetwood Synagogue.

Rabbi Dayan will be starting at Kollel Elyon at YU. He is originally from Flatbush, and studied at Yeshiva Aish Gesher in Jerusalem for two years following high school. He received his rabbinical degree at RIETS Yeshiva University and he has worked as a shiur assistant in Rabbi Eli Baruch Shulman’s shiur at Yeshiva University.

For more information on Fleetwood, please email [email protected]

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