CHABAD AT BEEKMAN-SUTTON
Newsletter JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER
Winter 2019 Report
“A summer’s day and a winter’s night is a year...” Rabbi Joseph Isaac of Lubavitch
Summer days full of fun, evenings of study and celebration, winter days filled with learning and joy, all come together for another full year at Chabad. Summer 2018 saw a lively and active Camp Gan Israel, four weeks of fun for over 20 children in our 53rd street location, complete with a backyard-turned-waterpark, a special highlight for our city kids.
Serving Your Community! Babies
Our biggest High Holiday services ever took place at Four Cuts, conveniently located on 1st Ave & 58th St, in the heart of Sutton Place, with overflow crowds and beautiful spirit. A rousing Neilah service ended Yom Kippur on a high note, with wishes for the new year spilling out onto First Ave. An autumn decorated Sukkah in front of Chabad on 53rd Street welcomed constant flows of visitors over the holiday and provided a convenient drop-in Sukkah for city dwellers. Sukkot also saw the launch of CKids! A Jewish experience club for children ages 4 & up, CKids combines science, Jewish teachings and educational fun. A Sukkot desert experience was followed by a Chanukah Dreidel-robot workshop, a morning of planting for Tu B’shvat, a Scribe workshop and a Passover 4D experience. Chanukah on Sutton Place was a smashing evening despite the drizzle, with a wonderful turnout of City and state politicians, and many hundreds from our community. Nine years running, “Bright Lights Big Menorah” continues to be a beacon of Chanukah joy and light, around which gathers a cross section of our community. Jewish education is our primary objective at Chabad; the sounds of children laughing and
learning at Manhattan Jewish Montessori provide the backdrop for a culture of education for all ages. Adult education, long a focus here at Chabad, saw great expansion this year with the launch of a Talmud Lunch ‘n Learn at Ambassador wines (featured in the NY Post) and a weekly women’s Torah class with Raizy, in addition to the Rabbi’s ongoing Wednesday morning Tanya class in Starbucks, and weekly Shabbat morning study on the Torah portion. In January, the Rabbi taught a six week evening course called Great Jewish Thinkers and multiple one-on-one study groups take place throughout the week.
Weekly Shabbat services continue to bring in more new faces and good friends. Local Profiles, our ongoing lecture series, held several talks on Shabbat morning this year, with Oscar-nominated Israeli filmmaker Uri Barbash; Joseph Lucein, who told the story of the Jewish Pastor, Cardinal Lustiger; Dr. Joseph Berger, child survivor of the Kastner Train, and others. In December, Mets 86 Champion and Chabad fan Lenny Dysktra teamed up for an out of the park virtual fundraiser, “Home Run 4 Chabad.” This campaign was truly a home run and provided funding for much of the programs offered at Chabad this year.
As a community-supported non profit, we are deeply grateful to all those who support Chabad at Beekman-Sutton: to our virtual campaign supporters and matchers, our Chai Club shareholders, our Giving Tree donors, Kiddush sponsors, and all those who make up our wonderful community. May G-d bless you with the fulfillment of all your hearts’ desires for good. Wishing you a Happy and sweet Pesach!
Directors Rabbi Shmuel & Raizy Metzger
A Pesach Thought
From the Lubavitcher Rebbe
by Denise Sinclair
As a native New Yorker and Sutton/Beekman Place resident of long-standing, I often passed by Chabad at Beekman-Sutton—admiring its lovely, sidewalk Sukkah tent or glancing through its inviting windows at toddlers and children playing gaily inside the building. I had no immediate sense of all that the organization represented.
“The Haggadah describes four disparate types of youth, but with a common denominator: all of them, even the most rebellious one, is present at the Seder. They meet, their lives intersect, and they share varying degrees of association with the Torah and mitzvot. Consequently, there is strong hope that even the most wayward child will eventually see the beauty of a Torah life.
Unfortunately, the present era of spiritual confusion has produced a fifth, unmentioned category: the absent child. This one knows nothing of a Seder, Passover, the Torah or Judaism. Our attention to the absent children must begin long before Passover. With love and sacrifice, we must reach out to Jews who do not know what being Jewish means. No Jewish child is expendable. All energies must be directed to introducing absent Jews to the “seder” of Jewish life…” From a public letter 11 Nissan 5717 /April 12, 1957
The value of what Chabad at Beekman-Sutton adds to our neighborhood became apparent when I first met Rabbi Metzger by chance. We shared a spontaneous conversation over coffee at a favorite, neighborhood café. The next time we met, I was wheeling my luggage along the sidewalk. The rabbi asked where I was going; I answered Paris. He took out a dollar bill to give to someone in need, explaining that this was tzedakah—the Hebrew word for philanthropy in which a donor benefits from giving as much or more than the recipient. I searched without success for someone on my way to JFK airport.
In Paris, while boarding a train on the metro, I noticed a homeless, old French woman standing on the platform and quickly handed her a two Euro coin just as the train’s doors were closing. She was taken aback by the immediate gesture but clearly grateful. Since this incident, the rabbi and rebbetzin and I have become fast friends. I am struck by their unusual warmth and kindness, belief in community purpose and unwavering optimism. These are traits in short supply and seem somewhat old-fashioned in today’s ever self-focused world. Chabad at Beekman-Sutton’s community outreach efforts clearly have a positive impact on our globally-sophisticated, prosperous neighborhood with its Jewish population that consists of a mix of traditions.
I was honored this Chanukah to serve as the emcee for the lighting of the menorah, welcoming state and local officials, as well as the children and residents of our most diverse neighborhood. What an unexpected, evolving connection it is that I continue to celebrate and treasure.
Experiencing Chabad in Sutton Place
by Peter Schulman
It is well known that Chabad emissaries courageously leave their comfort zones in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights to spread Judaism and Chassidic thought throughout the world. Chabad houses can be found in faraway places such as Cambodia and China, or pioneering destinations in remote areas of Nebraska or Saskatoon. Yet, sometimes starting a Chabad House close to home in certain parts of Manhattan can be just as challenging and obstacle-laden, as well. I remember my mother OBM telling me once that she had championed Rabbi and Rebbetzin Metzger at a SAC meeting she attended, without ever having met them, when she heard there was some early resistance to their opening up a new Chabad on Sutton Place. Many were suspicious, others trepidatious. None of this discouraged the Metzgers in any way and when they organized the first Menorah lighting at Sutton Place Park several years ago (under the watchful eye of 1 Sutton Place, which at one point in the 1950’s didn’t even let Jews buy apartments in their building), so many joyous Jews came out to eat latkes despite frigid temperatures. It was the first time, they said, in so many years that they could experience such a beautiful communal Jewish event in public in the neighborhood.
Now, with such pride in our community, I see all the amazing things the Metzgers do on a daily basis to spread the warmth of Yid-
dishkeit throughout all corners of BeekmanSutton. What they have built from scratch has been so beautiful: a pre-school, a shul with services and Kiddush on Saturdays and holidays, Torah and Tanya classes, Bagels, Lox and Tefilin on Sundays, and most importantly, a warm Shabbos table to go to on Friday nights.
It moves me to see that the light that the Metzgers so daringly lit several Chanukahs ago is shining ever so brightly thanks to their incredibly contagious enthusiasm, warmth, energy and devotion to fellow Jews near & far. “I have seen people radiate with spirituality after experiencing a Shabbos at Chabad of Beekman, some for the first time."
I have seen people radiate with spirituality after experiencing a Shabbos at Chabad of Beekman, some for the first time in fact, or others who return after a long hiatus from observance. Judaism is alive and well on 53rd street but most importantly in the hearts of so many thanks to my friends the Metzgers who never cease to inspire me with their good cheer through thick and thin - regardless of what adversity there might be in the world around us at any given time.
Bedside Pediatrics Peter Oppenheimer, MD FAAP Home Visit Medical Care for Children 212.879.8267 www.BedsidePediatrics.com
Six Great Thinkers: Course Recap
by Geoffrey Skolnik In January and February, over a period of six very cold and wet weeks, an enthusiastic group of learners turned out each week to attend outstanding classes taught by Rabbi Metzger about Six Great Jewish Thinkers.
» Rabbi Judah HaLevi (1075-1141), Spain; an intellectual and community leader; a physician, poet, and philosopher; author of The Kuzari.
» Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, “Maimonides,” “Rambam” (1135-1204). Left Spain as a young man; ultimately lived in Cairo. A physician, philosopher and halachic expert; author of the Mishneh Torah, the Guide to the Perplexed, and the Thirteen Principles of Faith.
» Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, “Ramban,” “Nachmanides” (1194-1270), Spain, lived in Israel his last few years. He viewed the work of the rabbis of the Mishna, Talmud, and the early medieval rabbis as unquestionable; criticized some of Maimonides thoughts as rationalizations. » Rabbi Isaac Luria, Ha’Ari”, “The Arizal” (1534-1572), Jerusalem, Egypt, then Sfat. Considered the father of contemporary Kabbalah.
» Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer, “Baal Shem Tov”, “Besht” (1698-1760), Poland. The founder of Hasidic Judaism. Among his many teachings were the need to love your fellow Jew and, the worship of God, not only in prayer, but in all daily affairs.
» Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, “The Rebbe” (1902-1994), Russia, Berlin, Paris, New York City.
This class was a very special night done in the style of a Farbrengen, with food and drink. Rabbi Metzger’s personal connection to the Rebbe showed clearly in this inspirational class, with his meaningful comments and examples of the Rebbe’s many works and deeds.
Our thanks to Rabbi Metzger for all of his hard work and informative presentations. Future classes are greatly anticipated.
FAQ's about the Montessori Method
with Director Raizy Metzger Chabad at Beekman-Sutton is home to the East Side’s only Jewish-Montessori fusion preschool program, Manhattan Jewish Montessori. An exquisitely balanced hybrid of play-based learning and Montessori curriculum, infused with the warmth and joy of a Jewish community experience, MJM truly offers the best of all worlds to our children.
Q Isn’t Montessori non-Jewish?
playthings that are actually real-life, childsized experiences (such as polishing silver, pouring liquids) and meaningful learning activities (such as rods and blocks designed to teach number concepts) provides children with maximum benefit to their time at school: play experiences that teach them—without imposing upon them—academic skills, life skills and more.
A It’s not! Montessori is a cross-cultural ap-
proach to education, with special focus on the early childhood years. Based on theories of childhood development tested over 100 years in classrooms across the world, the Montessori approach provides a strong foundation in critical knowledge and the development of an inner discipline and joy in learning. In fact, the method was originally known as Francetti-Montessori, for the Jewish family who supported Dr. Maria Montessori’s early work. In fascist Italy, the name Francetti was removed and never replaced. Adopted by many faith-based learning centers, Montessori is one of the oldest, timetested educational approaches in the world. Did you know that Anne Frank, of blessed memory, attended a Montessori school in Amsterdam in the 1930’s?
Q Isn’t play-based learning more effective? A
Play-based learning is extremely authentic, effective and long lasting. That’s why a Montessori classroom gives children freedom to play and learn—within a prepared environment. Creating an environment with
Q What is the benefit of a Montessori education at MJM?
A The world is changing rapidly, and no one can tell exactly what knowledge or skills our children will need to succeed. One thing we do know: it is not factors like cognitive ability or socioeconomic background that ensure a child’s success in classrooms and in life: It’s something that can best be described as “grit”—an inner self-discipline that enables one to organize oneself and succeed at any given task.
The Montessori method, in which critical skills like Concentration, Coordination, Order
and Independence (we call it CCOI) are woven into each activity, provides the groundwork for success by developing work habits and a passion for discovery from the very youngest age. The other part of our â€˜secret sauceâ€™ is
Love. Celebrating each child as they enter the classroom each day, listening to their unique voice, and enabling them to soar, is the magic of our unique program at MJM. Learn more about our school at:
www.manhattanjewishmontessori.com and come visit!
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Chabad at Beekman-Sutton's Community Work is Enabled Through the Generosity of the Following Individuals & Foundations [2017-2019] PIONEER SUPPORTERS
CHABAD GIVING TREE
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Abe & Vivian Dushey Abraham & Grace Chehebar Andrew & Monica Schultz Ari & Erynne Rennert Ariel & Vivian Nakash Avi & Miri Voda Chaim Kohn Chehbar Family Foundation Geoffrey Skolnik JJ Katz Joe & Claudette Feldman Joseph Bogatz Kenneth & Miriam Zuckerman Marcus & Jacqueline Kline Marcus & Linda Adjmi Martin & Jennifer Glass Mendy Weisz Michael & Meredith Rishty Mr. Alex Adjmi Nathan & Beth Cayre Oppenheimer Family Ralph & Rose Nakash Richard Levy Rycroft Family Sam & Lorraine Jemal Victor & Esther Sigoura
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