Saturday, February 22, 2020

The annual Project Ezrah dinner is taking place this Motzei Shabbos at Keter Torah in Teaneck. If you live in Bergen County and are a member of a shul, you received your invitations, viewed emails about the dinner, heard from your local rabbi about it, and perhaps received calls and emails from friends and neighbors exhorting you to attend or support this unique organization.  The JLBC is joining that chorus and asking you to make your last minute reservations and go. And if you can’t, please send them a donation…as much as you can afford.

Project Ezrah’s original mission is still going strong—finding jobs for people in our community, in meaningful numbers.  They help people help themselves. Their clients are counseled, get resume advice, retraining if needed, and are coached every step of the way. They also learn to network and may even find new careers that offer better opportunity and promise.

Since 2001, Project Ezrah has grown far beyond acting as an employment agency.  They help people get out of debt; teach them manage their finances, offer tuition assistance, and even dress their clients for success.  The work they do has touched so many families that the numbers are truly astounding—and steadily rising, as there have been more mortgage defaults in our community in the last four years than in the last 40 years combined.

We may not know who Project Ezrah helps, and they aim to keep it that way. They are very discreet and shun publicity. But we all know neighbors who are in trouble, and when they are in trouble, we are all in trouble. Project Ezrah helps many of those people, and when they do, they knit our diverse and varied community into one. If we are only for ourselves, who are we? And if we don’t help Project Ezrah now, when will we help them?

Think of the challenges Bergen families face with a cost of living going through the roof. Even if you make between $150-$200K a year, with four kids in yeshiva, you can hardly pay the bills. There are widows and divorcees with children in the neighborhood who can barely keep it together. Project Ezrah helps them all, and now it’s time to help Project Ezrah.  Why not step up to the plate—the dinner plate—this Motzei Shabbos?  Make that reservation, send in your check and help us honor an organization that makes a difference where it counts. Right here at home, in our neighborhoods.

We also must sadly offer our condolences to the family of Ted Mirkhani of Teaneck. His untimely passing is a loss for our community, as he was an enthusiastic supporter, past dinner honoree, and close friend of Project Ezrah. May his memory be a blessing!