Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
Ever since we stepped foot in Port Washington for the first time, in May of 1991, we knew there was something really special about this town and the people who choose to call it home. More than just small town friendship, Port is a place of kindness, caring and community, as evident in the myriads of charitable activities that take place year after year.
We thought we had seen it all. Until Hurricane Sandy caused over a million dollars of damage to the Chabad Center on Shore Road. When we first walked into the building after Sandy, our hearts sunk. This was the place we built and nurtured for over two decades. It was now destroyed. What to do? Where to go from here? We knew our insurance didn’t cover anything close to the damage we were looking at. Plus what will happen to our preschool, Hebrew school and synagogue until we could clean the place up and make it habitable again? What about the hundreds of children who use our gymnasium each week for sports programs? We turned to friends in town, who passed along the message to their friends, and a chain of kindness began to form.
Volunteers walked in off the street and offered to help raise the furniture off the ground. Damon Gersh from Maxons Restoration moved us to the top of the list when every restoration company in the tri-state area was backed up for weeks. Before long, we got invitations from Landmark and the library to house our programs. (We ended up operating our preschool and Hebrew school at the Children’s Center at Landmark until it was safe to move back in to Chabad – thank you) The Falkenstein family hosted our daily and Shabbat services in their home. John Maura brought trucks and men on a Sunday afternoon to help get the outdoor cleanup started. Donations began coming in from the local community, people of all faiths. People called in with their credit card numbers, dropped off checks and cash, and stopped by to survey the damage and offer words of support and a shoulder to cry on.
Thank you Community Chest of Port Washington, Arnie Herz, Matt Harris, Suzanne Kolen, Ron DeMeo, Donna Preminger, Fern Cohen, Russ Burman, Howard Fensterman, Sheryl Pinner, Felix Sater, Mark Engel, Alan Rosenzweig, Lee Najman, and to all who supported us with contributions as listed in the published ad appearing in this newspaper.
“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy,” said the Psalmist. We extend our invitation to this entire wonderful community to join us for the Grand Reopening celebration on Monday, June 3, 6-7:30 p.m. Please be our guests for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a short ceremony. Please RSVP at chabadpw.org/celebration or call us 516-767-8672.
Rabbi Shalom & Sara Paltiel
Chabad of Port Washington