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

With the Jewish community still reeling from the tragedy in Pittsburgh, many solidarity events took place throughout the world as #showupforshabbat quickly went viral. The Young Israel of Teaneck (YIOT) had already scheduled the Shabbat of Chayei Sara as its Second Annual Community Shabbat, but it became so much more than the organizers originally planned.

Taking place just one week after the Pittsburgh massacre, the YIOT was determined to join together and declare with one voice that the Jewish people remain more unified, resolute and determined than ever. To that end, Friday night featured a special song-filled Kabbalat Shabbat led by Ari Greene of BaRock Orchestra, and Shabbat morning Cantor Netanel Hershtik, of the Hampton Synagogue, led Musaf. Both services provided members an opportunity to daven together and to sing as one. Following davening, nearly 80 percent of the more than 200 YIOT families had the opportunity to create greater unity within the YIOT community as members took part in the YIOT community Shabbat lunch.

Forty YIOT families hosted three to four other families for Shabbat lunch. Shul members were divided into four categories by tenure in the community: those who recently moved into the community, those who have been living in the community a few years, those who have been in the community more than a few years and those who have been in the community a very long time. One family from each category was placed into a group assigned to a host home for a communal Shabbat lunch.

Rabbi Binyamin Krohn, rabbi of the YIOT, told The Jewish Link, “I am exceedingly proud of the YIOT Community Shabbat initiative. The response of so many in the Jewish world to the horrific events in Pittsburgh was to remind ourselves that we are all one family. Community Shabbat reinforced that same message within our shul community as well.”

Elanna Reiss, one of the organizers of the event and a participant, shared, “This was a great opportunity for members of different ages within our community to get to know each other a little better and help enhance a feeling of community and togetherness. We received such positive feedback and we know that everyone who participated got to experience an extra-special Shabbat with members of their community.”

According to David Schwartz, YIOT president, “I think this is an event that epitomizes—and deepens—something very valuable and relatively unique in the greater area about the Young Israel of Teaneck: a community in which everyone davens at the same shul and where people of diverse backgrounds and ages truly consider each other part of the same community.”

By Sara Kosowsky Gross

 

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