On Tuesday night, the Township of Teaneck promoted its first Orthodox Jewish firefighter to the position of lieutenant, assigned to lead the first platoon. Lenny Hanauer, a lifetime Teaneck resident, a graduate of Yavneh Academy and Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC), as well as a current Frisch and Ma’ayanot parent, has been a paid Teaneck firefighter for the past eight years.
Due to its size, Teaneck retains a professional firefighting team, rather than an all-volunteer-force, though Hanauer has been a volunteer firefighter in River Edge for 25 years.
“I first met Lenny at TABC 30 years ago,” said Teaneck’s Deputy Mayor and JLNJ Co-Publisher Mark (Mendy) Schwartz. “I’ve been a volunteer firefighter alongside Lenny in River Edge since 1998—he joined in 1994—and have been learning from him ever since. Lenny is also an instructor at the Bergen County Fire Academy. Recently, his son Seth, a Frisch senior, has joined us at the River Edge Fire Department.”
An active community member in Teaneck and at Congregation Arzei Darom, Hanauer can often be seen jogging around Teaneck. “He is one of our unofficial ‘mayors’ of Votee Park, always greeting each walker and runner with a smile,” said Schwartz. His promotion ceremony was attended by his wife, Meredith, and children, Amanda and Seth, as well as Meredith’s parents, friends and many smiling well-wishers.
Hanauer has also turned firefighting into a family affair. “Lenny turned to a [professional] firefighting career later in life, then transferred this passion to his son,” Teaneck resident Karen Orgen said.
Teaneck’s Debra Blaiberg also shared that she has huge respect for anyone who puts their life on the line to save others. “Lenny has been working for Teaneck for a long time and he absolutely deserves this promotion. It’s quite exceptional to have a shomer Shabbos paid fireman. It was a privilege to watch him in action last year, although I would rather I hadn’t had to,” she said, recalling a fire in 2018 in a home on Sherman Avenue, to which he was one of the firefighting responders.