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YIPC to Honor Brandweins and Klarbergs

Batya and Matis Brandwein

(Courtesy of YIPC) It’s Shabbos morning at Young Israel of Passaic-Clifton (YIPC) and a man with an angelic smile places his right hand on the shoulder of another. The recipient knows what’s coming next. “Would you like to daven Shacharit?”

The man with the smile is Mattis Brandwein, YIPC’s affable gabbai. While others may refuse to take no for an answer, in Brandwein’s case, rare is the one who responds with a negative.

Mattis and his wife Batya, along with the shul’s longtime childhood director Sara Klarberg and her husband Michel, will be honored Monday, April 8, at the annual Young Israel of Passaic-Clifton (YIPC) dinner.

Mattis, a native of Kew Gardens Hills, Queens and Batya, hailing from Flatbush, Brooklyn share a rich tapestry of synagogue service.

Michel and Sara Klarberg

Mattis, one of four siblings, and Batya, one of three, were raised in homes where shul engagement was not merely a duty but a joyous expression of community connection. Mattis fondly recalled his father’s distinguished role as a baal koreh and a shaliach tzibbur, a tradition he proudly upholds as a gabbai in YIPC. Likewise, Batya’s father was a cherished figure in their shul, fostering a close bond with the esteemed Sasregener Rebbe and instilling in Batya a passion for communal involvement.

Their journey to Passaic in 2005 was spurred by familial friends and the allure of a welcoming community. It also coincided with the arrival of the shul’s rav, Rabbi Yaakov Glasser.

“The Brandweins continue to inspire our entire kehilla with their selfless dedication to so many aspects of our shul,” Glasser said. “Their commitment to advancing the spiritual and social dimensions of our collective experience is a natural outgrowth of their extraordinary sense of communal responsibility rooted in their upbringing.” The Brandwein’s involvement permeates every aspect of their lives, from Mattis’ engagement as gabbai to Batya’s involvement in bikur cholim and the meticulous planning of YIPC’s annual Chanukah brunch.

Reflecting on their journey, Mattis and Batya expressed profound gratitude for the pivotal role YIPC plays in their lives. “Young Israel has been in my blood since I was very young,” Mattis shared. “We believe in the mission of the Young Israel and want the shul to be as welcoming to others as it was to us.”

Their children Moshe, Ezriel, Sara and Mindy are testament to the enduring legacy of communal commitment.

Michel and Sara Klarberg stand as beacons of youth engagement and community life. Michel, a Passaic native, manages the facilities for Yeshiva of Paterson and volunteers with Chaverim of Passaic.

With roots in Brooklyn, Sara found her second home in Passaic two decades ago, witnessing firsthand the transformative growth of the community. As the longtime youth director at YIPC, she has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to nurturing the next generation of Jewish leaders. Sara also founded and directed Camp Summer Playland, infusing countless children with joy and laughter.

Together, Michel and Sara accepted the YIPC honor on behalf of the youth department, recognizing the effort of dedicated leaders, enthusiastic children and supportive parents. As they conclude this chapter of shul life, Michel and Sara noted, “We feel privileged to be part of such a special shul.”

Glasser praised the couple and highlighted Sara’s critical role in enhancing the shul’s Shabbos programming for children.

“The Klarbergs bring a unique combination of professionalism, creativity and warmth to our youth program,” he said. “Our [youth] leaders don’t feel like they work for Morah Sarah, they feel like they work with her. She has created an energy within the shul and a legacy that will be reflective for decades in the many children she has touched.”

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