More than 550 community members attended Project Ezrah’s 22nd annual dinner on Motzei Shabbat, December 2. Project Ezrah, which Rabbi Yossi Stern founded in 2001, has acted as the community’s safety net for 22 years, providing financial assistance, job development, and an array of supportive services to help families in Bergen County make ends meet. This year, Project Ezrah honored Rabbi Elliot and Rena Schrier, Ami and Emma Kirschner, and Yahoo and Erika Rabin. The couples have contributed immensely in their own unique ways to the well-being of the Bergen County community. The dinner, themed “100% Impact,” emphasized that every small gesture of chesed adds up to ensure that anyone who needs help can receive it.
“All of our honorees have a profound and close connection to Project Ezrah and give 100%,” Rachel Krich, Project Ezrah’s executive director, said. “I am lucky to work with them throughout the year and excited to share their stories with the broader community.”
Erika and Yahoo Rabin are deeply connected to Project Ezrah’s work. Erika Rabin said that she watched her parents struggle when she was a child, and she wished there would have been an organization like Project Ezrah to help them. The Rabins have incorporated Project Ezrah into their lives in a special way: they make a donation every week, right after Havdalah. “I like to start my week with a mitzvah, and what is easier than tapping a button to donate?” Yahoo Rabin said. Recurring donations are a great way to make a difference in the lives of the local families Project Ezrah helps.
The Kirschners are a part of the inaugural Young Leadership Giving Circle, a group of leaders who have committed to an annual pledge of at least $1,000 for three years. In addition, Emma Kirschner saw a need to help people gain access to mental health care and helped launch Ezrah L’Nefesh, a program that will help families receive financial support for mental health care needs.
Rena and Rabbi Elliot Schrier were honored with the Rabbinic Leadership award. The Schriers have worked closely with Project Ezrah.
“I can tell you that I live in a community where it is intuitively and widely understood that part of being a member of am Yisrael, part of being a member of a kehillah kedoshah, is caring for others in moments of need,” Rabbi Schrier said. “When you live in a Jewish community, you support the mikvah, because every Jewish community needs a mikvah. When you live in a Jewish community, you support the eruv, because every Jewish community needs an eruv. And when you live in Bergen County, you support Project Ezrah, because every Jewish community needs a Project Ezrah.” He also talked about the importance of maintaining community support for Project Ezrah, even during trying times for the global Jewish community.
For more information on Project Ezrah, to donate, or to get involved, go to www.Ezrah.org or email email@example.com.