Valley Chabad gala celebrates chai life year
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Valley Chabad gala celebrates chai life year

More than 350 guests celebrated at Valley Chabad’s gala, “Celebrate 18. Celebrate Life,” on June 5 at the Rockleigh Country Club. The party marked the 18th year of Valley Chabad’s community-based services to the Pascack Valley and Saddle River communities, and it honored key members for their support of its educational and outreach programs.

The evening began with a musical “To Life” tribute by Valley Chabad cantors Mottie and Yoni Zighelboim and their band, with welcoming remarks from Jayne Petak of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, and from Rabbi Dov Drizin, Valley Chabad’s executive director. Hindy Drizin presented the awards, noting Valley Chabad’s mission of outreach and community service to people of all ages and across all Jewish denominations.

Bernie and Bernice Gola received the Chai Life award for their decades of service and as champions of humanity. Bernice Gola talked about their commitment to the Valley Chabad community and to helping others, born of her husband’s own wartime experience. Bernie Gola, a Holocaust survivor and philanthropist, frequently talks to students and adults about his experiences.

Warren and Esther Feldman were given the Shem Tov award for the impact of their many years of service to Valley Chabad and their community. The Feldmans stressed the love of family and appreciation of community that powers their ever-growing list of philanthropic achievements.

Lawrence and Elana Bibi and their three children were the Young Leadership award recipients for service, learning, and education. They were cited as exemplary members of a new generation with a drive for outreach and community involvement.

Teen honorees Maddy Gold and Mitchell Bloom were the Our Future award winners. Both are graduating high school seniors and outgoing CTeen leaders; they share a passion for service. Maddy Gold, an avid student and athlete, thrives on learning about her identity and giving back. Mitchell Bloom, a varsity quarterback, has been a leader on and off the field in volunteerism.

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