Blog

The Paypal Giving Fund

At Beth Aaron, we are always looking for new ways to better our service to our members.

For the last few years, our members have been able to pay for seats for the High Holidays and special events, as well as membership fees, with credit cards through PayPal. This process has made it easy for members to pay their obligations to the shul. At the same time, the shul has enjoyed decreased administrative costs and increased collections. 

The downside to the use of credit cards is the fee charged by PayPal. This expense is borne either by the person making the payment through PayPal or by the shul.

We recently have found an additional method, the PayPal Giving Fund, for accepting online credit card donations and payments that doesn’t charge eiher the payor (you) or the payee (the shul) an administrative fee. Similar to the Jewish Communal Fund and other charitable funds, the PayPal Giving Fund is a non-profit to which people can make donations. In turn, the Fund supports programs like ours. When you make a donation through our link, Beth Aaron will receive 100% of your donation, with no credit card expense for either party.

The Fund can be used in two ways:

1) For one-time donations

2) For monthly recurring donations

For example, if a full member wanted to pay the $1000 annual membership fee at the rate of $200 a month for five months, a payment plan can be set up, and Beth Aaron will receive 100% of the money, at no expense.

Donations made through the Fund will be posted to members’ accounts the month after they are given, as PayPal will transfer the money to us once a month (in the month after the donation is made).

Visit bethaaron.org/givingfund for more details or to pay shul obligations using this new method.

 

How The (Siyum &) Sausages are made

by David Goldberg

My good friend Rabbi Dan Rosen has been making a Nine Days siyum for as long as I can remember. It’s had different locations; sometimes it’s been held at one of Teaneck’s finer dining establishments, sometimes it’s been at a mutual friend’s house. Last year, it ended up in my backyard, and, after the siyum was over, I thought, “Wouldn’t this be awesome on a grander scale?”

Cut to: The Men’s Club Kiddush Crew has its share of foodies. We talk restaurants, food, and drink (I know, shocking!) all the time. When Jack’s brand sausages came onto the market a few years back, those were a frequent topic of conversation. They’re really good, and we all spoke of them quite highly. Recently, other brands of sausage have come to the market, alongside Jack’s. They, too, sparked conversation: “Have you tried them? Which ones? Are they any good?” And then, as conversations turn – as they do, from theoretical to practical – someone said, “We should really have a sausage tasting.”

The rest, to garble a phrase, will soon be history.

Now, ideas are cheap; execution is another matter entirely. For me, the first step in transforming any idea into reality is running it by others. So I talk to people: “Will this work?” “Is this a good idea?” “Would you attend such an event?” Once I feel confident enough, I approach the Men’s Club leadership and get their backing.  It’s important to have an organization like the Men’s Club support the event, as they can provide the assistance and resources that help get things done. I also reached out to Larry Kahn, who was supportive of the idea from the very beginning, and he agreed to assist in running the event.

Next, I approached Rabbi Rosen and pitched the idea to him. He was all for it. (This was fait accompli… sausages are staples at his Shabbat table.) With all the approvals I needed, it was time to pick a time. Rabbi Rosen was the star of the show; he said Wednesday was good. As I was planning for this to be held in my backyard (hey, it worked well last year, and the shul has no grill), I had to be mindful of daylight: 7:00 p.m. sounded reasonable.

 

Budget was the next step.  I set a reasonable but solid menu and went to Costco and Shop-Rite, noting prices down in a Google Sheets spreadsheet I created. That will tell me how much stuff costs – sausages, sides, paper goods, drinks. From there, I could figure out cost per person and tack on a few dollars so the shul raises some funds, and we’re good to go. I ran that by Mo-b Singer and Larry, too. I do nothing in a vacuum.

I also decided to make the event men-only, modelled after the Sisterhood’s Potluck Seudah Shlishit Series. When was the last time the shul had a men-only event? I couldn’t recall.

Next was publicity.  I needed a name for the event, something easy and catchy. I bounced around a few ideas and settled on “Siyum & Sausage”: straight and to the alliterative point. I also wanted to generate some buzz for this event, so I thought a movie-style “teaser” poster would get people talking. A quick Google image search for “Sausage” brought me a grilled sausage on a fork. And while a similar search for “siyum” brought me nothing I liked, I hit on “Gemara” quite easily. I like working with graphics in PowerPoint, as it’s a strong balance between easy-to-use and powerful. I played around with the images until I found something I liked. I sent it off to Mo-b and Larry for thoughts and comments. And, as with everything I do, my wife Marianne is my best sounding board. All good on that front, I sent it off to Costco for printing on poster board and picked it up the next day. I also sent a digital copy to Judi in the office, so she could get the teaser out by email to the entire Beth Aaron membership. Similar teaser text went out to include in the weekly announcements.

I took a break from planning the event for a week, to clear my head. I had received feedback on the teaser poster and started thinking about ways to cut the budget if I needed to. Spending more is easy. Spending less is a personal challenge: Can I get a better deal at Restaurant Depot vs. Costco? Can I pay less for food in Rockland County vs. Bergen County? After the break, I designed the full flyer for the event, based on the original teaser. I also reached out to Mo-b and asked him to set up the website for registration. I dropped the poster off in shul and sent digital copies to

Judi in the office for email distribution. Isaac also asked me to write this article promoting the event for the KBA.

There’s plenty more left to do.  I need to shop for the event and find volunteers to assist with the event, from setup to cleanup. Mostly, I need people sign up to attend. I’m grateful that Beth Aaronites already have approached me, excited about the event, and I do hope they all sign up soon (and not at the last minute, y’all.  I got to shop).

I think it’s going to be a great event. We’ll have some Torah, we’ll have some food, but most importantly we’ll get together as a community to do both these things together.  And coming together the way we do at this event will help us make up for a past that brought the destructions of our Batei Mikdash.

I do hope you’ll be able to join us.  Look for the flyer in this issue of the KBA, and sign up today at www.bethaaron.org/event/siyumsausage

BETH AARON MEN’S CLUB KIDDUSH and the hashkama kiddush “society”

As part of our ongoing effort to further the friendliness of Beth Aaron, we are happy to provide our weekly kiddushim. Kiddushim are held weekly, except when there are private events or rentals in the Social Hall. The Men’s Club is pleased to offer four options ( see below) for kiddushim, both single-sponsored as well as multi-sponsored. Our standard weekly kiddush is the “Weekly Cold Kiddush.”


WEEKLY KIDDUSHIM: Weekly dairy cold kiddushim with chips, cookies, and soda. Become a Mezonot sponsor for only $54 or a L’Chaim sponsor
for $100.

If you are celebrating a simcha, commemorating a yahrtzeit, or simply want to say “thank you,” consider sponsoring an upcoming kiddush. Visit
our website to sponsor. If you have any questions, contact Ari Gononsky, kiddush@bethaaron.org.

It is hard to believe that the Hashkama Minyan Kiddush “Society” will be starting its fourth year. This true partnership between the mitpalilim of
the Hashkama Minyan and the Men’s Club has allowed approximately 36 Kiddushim to be held following Hashkama.

As interest increases in holding Hashkama Kiddushim, please note this updated information:

  • Hashkama Minyan Kiddush “Society” annual membership is $54. This fund allows us to ensure there is at least one monthly hot Kiddush following the Hashkama minyan.
  • Members of the “Society” who would like to enhance an already scheduled Kiddush can do so for an additional donation of $72. Enhancements can include salads, noodles, herring, etc. Contact kiddush@bethaaron.org at least one week prior to the Kiddush.
  • The cost of sponsoring a standard hot Hashkama Kiddush on a week that is not a “Society” Kiddush is $360. There also is an enhanced option for $500.

Thank you again to everyone who has joined

Profile: Ellen & George Friedman

 Everyone has a good reason for moving to Teaneck. For Ellen and George Friedman, the reason was parking. George has related, in public places and more than once, how it was a free parking that hooked him on moving to Teaneck. There actually are several parts to the story, some of which appeared in the Jewish Link in George’s column about life in Teaneck in the 1970s. In one 2014 column, he mentions that while he and Ellen were dating, they were stuck in a Route 4 traffic jam heading toward Queens that backed up into Teaneck. As he fumed about the traffic, he noticed a sign on the side of the road near Belle Avenue that said “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home.” The Township, and the sign, really didn’t register at the time, he said, but, in another column, George detailed how when the couple was looking at apartments in Queens, he was really bothered by the lack of easy parking. Ellen’s brother Eddie Greenberg and his wife Barbara already lived in Teaneck, in the State Street area. In addition to securing an apartment in their complex for the new couple, “describing the shuls, shopping, proximity to transportation; and explaining their belief that Teaneck was an up-and-coming Jewish community,” Eddie used the magic words “parking is plentiful and not metered.” Ellen and George have been Teaneck residents ever since, moving here following their wedding in 1976. They’ve been members of Beth Aaron just about as long. “When George and I first came to Teaneck, we were searching for a shul,” Ellen recalled. “Back then, we didn’t have so many shuls to choose from. We lived in the apartments on State Street, and the choices were B’nai Yeshurun and Beth Aaron for an Orthodox synagogue. George and I both grew up in Conservative shuls, so we checked out the Jewish Center of Teaneck, too. Beth Aaron was the best fit for us, mainly due to its size and friendliness, and also the feeling that our presence (despite our limited religious backgrounds) made a difference to the shul. In 1977, when they joined, Beth Aaron met in a house. George sat in the “talking section,” which was in the back near a fireplace. “The Rabbi couldn’t see you in that area,” he explained. “We were part of ‘Aliyah Bet,’ joining right after the founders,” said Ellen, noting that they were perhaps the 40th family to join. Kiddush on Shabbat was in the hall upstairs, she added, pointing out that “hall” meant “here is one bedroom and this is the hall to walk to the other bedroom.” At that time, “Kiddush was a treat usually served on top of an ironing board.” Rabbi Fass, the Morah de-Atra at that time, “made a great effort to welcome every new person to the shul,” Ellen said. “When your shul has less than 100 people, everybody has an impact on its development. What was great when we joined was the camaraderie among members. George and I had a Talmud Torah background. I always felt out of step with the Orthodox world, but having gone to NCSY in my teen years, I wanted to be part of it. The members were so accepting. If I didn’t know something, all I had to do was ask, and answers were given graciously. Beth Aaron felt like ‘family.’” Today that “family” has grown so large,” she said. “Beth Aaron is still the ‘friendly’ shul in town, and George and I love to see that there are so many activities for new members. We may not know all the members these days, but the ones we do know, we are close with. I believe the uniqueness of Beth Aaron in 1976 or 2016 is that the people are really concerned about each other and are willing to do whatever it takes to celebrate the good times and help each get through the bad times.” Even though Beth Aaron is much, much bigger now, it is still a warm, friendly, welcoming place. “It’s a place where you make friends for a lifetime,” Ellen said. “All ages make up the Beth Aaron community, but it’s wonderful to see young families joining the shul, just as we did so many years ago.” George and Ellen feel so fortunate to have been guided by several Rabbanim that they have the good fortune to call their friends, to this day. “Leadership is crucial to the growth of a shul,” they said. “There isn’t enough time and there aren’t enough words to sing the praises of Rabbi and Chaviva Rothwachs and their children. Their support for our family has made a great difference in the way George and I have grown spiritually.” Encouraging new neighbors to become new members is easy, according to the couple. All you would need to say is “Walk in on a Shabbat and hear the quiet during the davening. Listen to Rabbi Rothwachs speak, and inevitably there will be some part of that speech that you will take home to discuss at your Shabbat table. Come to the Kiddush after shul and see how long people are standing around trying to catch up with their friends. Shul ends, but people are talking for at least 45 minutes after shul, because they don’t want to leave each other. “Read the shul’s weekly newsletter. You will find an activity, a class, a program for you and your family. “Finally, ask Rabbi Rothwachs a shayla. He is a remarkably humble leader and will answer you with all his brilliance, his spirituality and his heart.” When the couple was first married, George was working full time and going to law school at night. It was at that point that Ellen began to realize that life was going to be very lonely if she didn’t get out and make friends. “I went to my first Sisterhood meeting, and the rest is history,” she reminisced. “If you ever want to make friends, go to a Sisterhood meeting, raise your hand, and say ‘I want to volunteer.’ No doubt, you will bewelcomed back again, and again, and again.” Ellen has worked on many projects for the shul, including fundraising for Sisterhood, serving on the shul Board, and working on the negotiation committee for Rabbi Kanarfogel’s contract. “When our shul decided to go on several missions to Israel, I usually took care of organizing the chesed components of our trips,” she said. “Children wrote letters or decorated pictures to give to soldiers. Toiletries were collected to be distributed to soldiers. Children’s winter clothes were brought the first winter after the expulsion of the families from Gush Katif.” More recently, she has redecorated the Mommy and Me room, with the help of custodian Alberto Villafane. Her latest project, along with Toby Eizik, is creating a memorable tallit for the Kol ha-Ne’arim project. “I told you, once you go to a Sisterhood meeting and say ‘I’d like to volunteer,’ the volunteering never ends.” George, too, has been active in synagogue life. Over the many years of their membership he has served on the shul Board, the Seudah Shlishit Committee (25 years), the Bikkur Cholim Committee, and the Simchat Torah Kiddush Committee. Using his professional expertise, he also chaired a Constitution Revision Task Force. A lawyer, as well as an arbitration and mediation expert and consultant, George chairs the Board of Directors of Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc. (“ARS”). He “retired” – for about a month – in 2013 as FINRA’s Executive Vice President and Director of Arbitration. He previously held a variety of positions of responsibility at the American Arbitration Association. George also is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham Law School, where he has taught arbitration for 20 years. George says that his name in Native American is “Wearing Many Hats.” And that Teaneck means “Place with Many Kosher Establishments.” Ellen was a teacher in the Teaneck public schools before she became a pre-school teacher in several of the Jewish schools in Bergen County. She retired from the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey 13 years ago. She worked in the children’s department at Barnes and Noble and has had several businesses, all related to art. She has created chuppot, tefillin bags, and challah covers. In addition, she has taught art privately and through after-school programs. When the work on the Kol ha-Ne’arim tallit is completed, she plans to return to working on her own fine arts projects. As a child, Ellen lived first in Bayside, NY, and then New Hyde Park, NY. George was born in Brooklyn, but lived in Douglaston, Queens from the time he was 2. They grew up three miles apart, they noted, but didn’t meet until 1971, working as camp counselors. They feel incredibly lucky to have their children and grandchildren so close, as well as Ellen’s parents, Bernice & Mishel Greenberg, who also are members of Beth Aaron and live just a few blocks away from the Friedmans (and across the street from the Rabbi and Chaviva). George’s Mom still lives in the house in which he grew up. Their daughter Leyna is married to Jarred Goro and lives in Teaneck with their children, two boys and a girl. Their son Mikki lives in Fair Lawn with his wife Rachel, and their two children, a boy and a baby girl. Their son Ben and his wife Allison live in Fair Lawn, around the corner from Mikki. “Everyone lives nearby, and we see our parents, kids and grandkids all the time. That’s four generations. It’s a bracha,” George said.

 

From the President

“An educated consumer is our best customer”


Are you one of those people who buys a smartphone and follows directions to
learn about all of its useful features, or do you just take it out of the box and
use the basic, obvious features, leaving the user manual in the box?
Personally, I like to ask my children to give me a tutorial on all the uses of the
phone and the most critical apps that I “must” have, so I don’t miss any “cool
stuff.” Afterwards, I tend to go online and look at the other uses specific to my
new phone, or apps that my children may not have thought important for me.
But don’t tell my children that; they don’t know that I can actually go online
and do my due diligence.


One such app is Yidkit,which gives me a package that includes a siddur, where
to find a minyan, some key zmanim, and various data points. Another app
gives me the exact time, including seconds, so I can make sure that davening
starts on time, including at my work minyan and the one in Grand Central
Terminal (between tracks 41 and 42) when the gabbai is not there.


Our Beit Knesset is akin to the smartphone and apps we download. Most people know about the basics “without reading the directions,” which means they know about the daily and Shabbat minyanim, the various daily/weekly chaburahs and shiurim, youth groups on Shabbat morning, and the kiddushim prepared by the Men’s Club, etc.
Our version of the “user manual” consists of our weekly announcements and the monthly Kol Beth Aaron. In addition, if one delves down deeper into the “user manual,” you will learn about all of the various committees that will help members gain the most from their Beth Aaron experience. These committees encompass chesed opportunities, a gemach, notification of yahrzeits, teen information, etc.
For some time, the KBA has included pages (in this issue, pages 11 and 12) that list these committees. Unless you are “following the directions,” you probably have flipped over this page monthly without noticing it. To help provide you with even clearer “directions,” we have added a column that explains what each committee does and when to contact them. I hope this will be useful for you. As a large shul, we are able to provide our members with the amenities that smaller shuls might not be able to offer. I like to think of Beth Aaron as having all the benefits of a big shul, with a small shul
feel. Whether you are a person who uses directions or one who likes to figure things out on your own, I encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities that Beth Aaron makes available to you. Most recall the clothing store Syms, whose commercials always ended with the line “an educated consumer is our best customer.” Similarly, the more you know about Beth Aaron, the more you can get
out of Beth Aaron. By the way, Congregation Beth Aaron has its very own app that is quite good. It allows you to view the calendar, get the zmanim, and see the membership directory and your personal account. Have you downloaded it yet?

Blog

Update this content.

Thu, 27 April 2017 1 Iyyar 5777