On Thursday, March 18, more than 375 guests attended the Founders’ Dinner of the Chabad Center of Northwest NJ at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston, NJ. The Center celebrated its 16th year of service in northwest New Jersey with a presentation of Community Service Awards to founding members and lay leaders of The Chabad Center of NWNJ. Special awards were also presented to Chief of Police of The Township of Rockaway, and to Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels.
In his keynote address, Sliwa described growing up on the streets of NYC. Raised in Brooklyn, in the shadow of Orthodox Judaism, he harbored the usual misconceptions and misunderstandings. It was only when two Yeshiva students came to his defense when he was under attack on a street corner, that he struggled to understand what it was that motivated these total strangers to help him. The philosophical similarities out-weighed the cultural differences and an allegiance grew from that day forward.
“All that are gathered here tonight understand that you are on a mission, the same mission that I am on—the same mission that our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were on. And it is not just to improve our quality of life. It is to reach our hand out to those in need and to give them the access and the opportunity to think, to communicate, to feed their minds and thereby free their souls.”
The Gala Dinner celebrated people choosing to be a force for good whenever and wherever possible. “We chose ‘Every Person—a Whole World’ as our Founders’ Dinner theme,” explained Rabbi Asher Herson, Regional Director of the Chabad Center of NW NJ, “because we wished to honor outstanding individuals who have made a strong commitment to make a difference—to bring light into the world around us. On a daily basis the staff, volunteers, and supporters of the Center create an environment that not only allows the light of kindness and gentleness into people’s lives, but also encourages them to carry that light back into their homes and into the lives of others.”
The award recipients included Marty Eidelstein, President of Key Food Marketplace in Denville NJ, Stephen Ravin, Esq. of Mountain Lakes, a partner in Ravin Greenberg PC, and Allan and Flory Heller.