July 13, 2024
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The Doghouse Takes a Stand Against Domestic Violence

Seven Teaneck Restaurants Participate in Awareness Event

 

Teaneck–Tuesday night was when Game Six of the World Series was supposed to be the consuming passion at The Doghouse, the kosher sports eatery in Teaneck. But something else was going on too. [Along with six other restaurants in Teaneck, 10% of The Doghouse’s proceeds that night were donated to Project S.A.R.A.H., a statewide organization dedicated to supporting victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Praising the owners of the restaurant for their participation in Project S.A.R.A.H.’s “Dine & Donate” event, Binyamin Rieder told JLBC, “You wouldn’t think of the Teaneck Doghouse as a venue for a serious event,” and added he was happy to support the cause. Joining the Doghouse in the Dine & Donate program were: Gotham Burger Co, Sababa Grill, Etc. Steakhouse, Mocha Bleu, and Shalom Bombay.

At The Doghouse, approximately 40 patrons were informed during the course of the evening that 10% of their check that night would be donated to charity.  Before the evening was underway, Eli Halberstam, Assistant Director of Project S.A.R.A.H.-affiliated Jewish Family Service and Children’s Center of Clifton-Passaic, told JLBC that the point was to emphasize awareness. “We really hope to reach out to people who don’t know what we do and so that they can be aware we exist.”

A sports eatery and a discussion of domestic violence seemed to go hand in hand recently with members of the NFL admitting to abusing their spouses and children. This is not something that can be swept under the rug since the Rice case hit the blogosphere and airwaves last month.

Halberstam and his wife encouraged others, via Facebook, to come to the event. They were joined by 15 of their friends at The Doghouse. At various points in the evening, Halberstam walked over to patrons and spoke to them discreetly about Project S.A.R.A.H. Halberstam noted that the patrons he spoke to paid attention, and were willing to take the literature.

The Doghouse’s owner, Jonathan Gellis, felt participating in the event was the right thing to do. Before the event began, he told JLBC, “Being part of a community means being willing to get involved and give back,” said Gellis. He added, “I’m hoping it will be a busy night so we can raise awareness.” In his role as president of Congregation Keter Torah, Gellis said that he has heard of the issue. He also plans to have more events like the Project S.A.R.A.H’s in the future.

During the evening, in order to spread awareness about the event and about Project S.A.R.A.H., restaurant employees wore a purple ribbon for domestic awareness month and gave out pamphlets about Project S.A.R.A.H. Josh Korman, manager of the Teaneck Doghouse, noted that the restaurants patrons asked questions and were sympathetic to the cause. A number of patrons noted they would order extra items as a way of helping. Korman was glad to be involved, “If you can raise awareness, that’s a positive thing.”

One patron at The Doghouse, David Secemski, was aware of the event and came out for it as well as to watch Game Six. While David went home sad because the Giants lost, he was happy to be helping. “It’s nice that the restaurant is supporting an important charity.” David was joined by his brother, Avi, who was not aware of the event and never heard of Project S.A.R.A.H. before he got there. “I think it’s great. I’m going to order an extra something.”

Michele Wellikoff, director of marketing at Project S.A.R.A.H. who was at Etc. Steakhouse (Project S.A.R.A.H. had staff at each of the participating restaurants), reached out to the restaurants. She noted that Project S.A.R.A.H. will do this again next year and hopes to have even more restaurants sign on.

“No person should remain a victim because s/he does not know what resources are available,” she said. Project S.A.R.A.H. is a resource for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. It is under the umbrella of Jewish Family Services of Clifton Passaic.

The problem of domestic abuse exists in Bergen County as it does in other communities. Esther East, executive director of Jewish Family Service & Children’s Center of Clifton-Passaic noted that wealth and education do not mean the end of domestic abuse. People who have more to lose find it even more difficult to take action. For those who want to learn more, please contact Project S.A.R.A.H.’s director, Elke Stein, at (973) 777-7638 ext. 154, via email at [email protected] or check out their website at www.projectsarah.org

By Larry Bernstein

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