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Linden’s Congregation Anshe Chesed Invites Prospective Members’ to Shabbaton

03/21/2024 12:58:30 PM

Mar21

Harry Glazer

There are many reasons why young families attended Congregation Anshe Chesed in Linden for its Prospective Members’ Shabbaton last Shabbat.

The shul has a growing young couples/young families community, a dynamic rav and rebbetzin who have infused the historic shul with new energy and new programming, and a recently renovated, stylish new mikvah on the premises. The shul is situated in a community with two well-regarded kosher restaurants, a newly opened kosher grocery and a kosher Rita’s Ices. In addition, the community is a short distance from Elizabeth, which offers the JEC and Bruriah K-12 yeshiva system, a kosher grocery, four kosher restaurants and an active YM-YWHA in Union County just over the border. The neighborhood also has school-provided busing to the Kushner and Netivot yeshivot.

The Prospective Members’ Shabbaton attracted five families, coming from Monsey, Teaneck, Brooklyn, Washington Heights and Passaic. Their weekend in Linden included Friday night dinner at community members’ homes, a group Shabbat day lunch at the home of Rabbi Yossi and Rebbetzin Emma Katz, an afternoon Gemara Megillah shiur by the rabbi, a family shalosh seudot, and a parent-child learning session coordinated by the shul’s youth program coordinator, Adina Falk.

 
Shul exterior.

Participating families also got to learn more about the shul’s enticing “Linden, NJ Incentive Program.” As shul member Rebecca Falk explained to The Jewish Link, the incentive program includes these three features:

A $2,200 value move-in package consisting of one year’s benefits: Free membership to the YM-YWHA of Union County which allows access to daycare, after-school programming, day camps, gym facilities and more—Free membership to the Ziga Roshanksi Mikvah: Free appointments for one year—Free family membership to Anshe Chesed including High Holiday seats.

Incentives from the Federation of Greater Metrowest: Additional $1,800 tuition grant for new families sending their children to a MetroWest school. Details at njdayschools.org/1800_grant—Qualifying families may participate in the “Tuition MAX” program which caps tuition at 18% of family income.

 

Anshe Chesed Leadership Grant: Qualified applicants who would like to play a leadership role in the community may apply for up to $10,000 per year for their first five years living in Linden.

 
Shul interior.

The shabbaton was planned by a committee of five—Rebbetzin Katz, Samantha Van Houter, Janet Liebowitz, Leah Kaufman and Rivka Gross. The committee promoted the shabbaton through a variety of means, including ads in The Jewish Link, social media posts, a booth at the Orthodox Union’s community fair, and community outreach by the rabbi and rebbetzin.

Committee members are very pleased with the successes of the shabbaton. “We had not had a shabbaton since before COVID,” said Van Houter. “This was a fresh start for us. We were looking for young couples starting out their journey so we could show them what a warm and welcoming community we are. Each of the couples got to meet many people in the community over the weekend. And there were many opportunities to ask questions and see the community.

 

“We had very positive feedback from all of the couples who visited. They expressed how they felt welcomed, and could see that Linden is genuinely a good community. In fact, as Shabbos was ending, I approached one of the couples and asked how their weekend was going. Immediately they responded: ‘Great! How do we find a place to live here?’ It was very heartwarming to know that the magic works so quickly.”

“The point of the shabbaton was to invite people in, to explore the community in a way that they wouldn’t feel pressured,” shared Rebbetzin Katz. “It gave us a chance to prepare information for them, to put our best foot forward, and to let them meet others who are considering our community, which is an exercise in community-building.

 
Crowd gathered at Congregation Anshe Chesed Sukkot event.

“We were really excited about all the families who are considering our community. The couples told us what they were looking to learn on the shabbaton, and we structured the program accordingly. The lunch at our house let all the families considering Linden to meet each other and ask direct questions. Overall, we are really, really happy with how the shabbaton went.”

 

To learn more about the Linden community, check out anshechesed.org or email Rabbi Katz at
Rabbikatz@anshechesed.org

Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784