I am a student graduating from Stevens Institute of Technology. I am active in the Jewish life both at Stevens and in Hoboken. I read the May 20 article about Hudson County’s Jewish community. It was interesting to read about the trends in Jewish life in the area and great to hear about the growth in many local synagogues. However, the article neglected to mention an extremely important part of Hoboken’s Jewish community.
I have been involved with the Chabad Center of Hoboken since I moved here in 2006. Rabbi Moshe Schapiro welcomed me warmly and invited me to his house for Shabbat as soon as I arrived, doing everything he could to help me and other students feel at home. Since then I have regularly attended services at the Chabad Center and have participated in and helped with many of the events run by Chabad. I have also been a part of the leadership of the Stevens Hillel, and I have been able to arrange classes, dinners, and other events for the school with Rabbi Schapiro’s help.
The Chabad Center is vital to the Jewish community in Hoboken not only because of the traditional Orthodox prayer service but because of the numerous outreach events it sponsors for Jews of all backgrounds. These cover a wide range of activities attracting large and diverse groups. These events include an annual Purim party attended by over 200 people a year with a Megillah reading, a festive Purim meal, and many activities for children; a Chanukah menorah-lighting at city hall with many local and state politicians there; and many others. Rabbi Schapiro also runs the Young Jewish Professionals group, which has recently run a number of excellent events. These events are especially important to the community as they help to get the young, secular Hoboken population involved with Jewish life and to meet with other young Jews.
Rabbi and Rebbitzen Schapiro have done many great things for the local Jewish community and it is important to give them the recognition they deserve for bringing so many Jews closer to Judaism through their great events as well as in the synagogue.