Monday, March 01, 2021

(Courtesy of Valley Chabad) Teens from Valley Chabad Teen Leadership Initiative’s CTeen, who have always been at the forefront of help and service to the community were now facing a dilemma. With strict social distancing guidelines due to COVID-19 in place, how could they contribute and better the community?

On a recent Zoom meeting with the teens, this was the discussion topic along with the groups’ directors, Rabbi Yosef and Estie Orenstein. That’s when an idea was born.

Create a “Challah for COVID” bake sale where people can purchase a fresh challah for their family’s Shabbat dinner and the proceeds would help those on the front line of the pandemic. A true win-win. The goal was to provide a delicious breakfast meal for doctors and nurses at the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood and medical staff staying at the Montvale Marriott in quarantine away from their family.

The teens hoped to raise a few hundred dollars. The result, however, well surpassed the goal.

Once the word got out through social media, it spread quickly among friends. “Challah purchases began coming in and we could not keep up with the orders,” reported Rabbi Yosef Orenstein. “In all, over 60 challahs were ordered. A remarkable $1900 was raised in just three days.”

Challahs were baked by Hindy Drizin, Estie Orenstein and Fraidy Raices using all necessary precautions.

One of the teen leaders, Alexis Mayer, a sophomore at Pascack Hills High School from Woodcliff Lake, reached out to her friends to collect letters and notes of support to be included in each breakfast package.

At the Sunday, May 3, delivery at the Montvale Marriott they were met by Ashley, a ventilator specialist who flew in from Naperville, Ilinois, to spend the next two months in the community assisting local hospitals with COVID patients. She was extremely thankful and appreciative.

On Tuesday morning, the group delivered to Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. “Your community’s support means the world to our medical staff” said Valley Hospital CFO Rich Keenan upon receiving the over 100 breakfast meals for medical staff.

“These past seven weeks have been extremely stressful for our doctors and nurses,” he continued. “When they see the community come together and show them this kind of love and support it helps them get through the day.”

“The teens will continue to find creative ways to help our community,” remarked Rabbi Dov Drizin, executive director of Valley Chabad. “The power of our youth to do good is endless. In a time of darkness, we can all find ways to bring light and happiness to others.”

Indeed, the teens are already planning future initiatives to help our community.

Valley Chabad in Woodcliff Lake has closed its physical doors during the crisis, but not its community support. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance in any way during this pandemic, please reach out and they will find a way to be there for you. Call 201-476-0157 or email [email protected].