Our Update # 27
Shabbos Hu Melizeik
On Shabbos, Parshas Va’era a healing of a different kind was permeating the atmosphere at Bushkill Inn and Conference. From sumptuous food to a unity that filled the heart and soul of its attendees, Dror’s Annual Shabbaton was a weekend to remember.
A Tale of Two Shabbosim
In addition to Dror’s Annual Shabbaton, our volunteers arranged for their very own Shabbos get together, in an effort to discuss how they can further assist the families of Dror. Spending an informative and beautiful Shabbos at New Jersey’s Crowne Plaza, the team of volunteers expressed their concerns toward the plight of Dror’s affected individuals. They understood the difficulty for families that don’t have their fathers at their side, and pledged to assist these families even for daily routes to therapists or other destinations. The Shabbos was led by Dror’s esteemed board member, Harav Yisroel Hager. R’ Yakov Dovid Klar, of Dror’s family support program and Shia Langsam were keynote speakers at the Shabbaton. Our Dear friend Avrumy Halperin from Canada entertained the collaboration of volunteers throughout the Shabbos. Our heartfelt mazel tov wishes are included below. Throughout the Shabbos, the vibes of chesed were evident, as was the Ahavas Yisroel of every individual present. On Motzei Shabbos, Beri Weber entertained the crowd with a music and lyrics performance, accompanied by a sumptuous Melave Malka buffet. A Special Thank You to Lazer Neuhaus for organizing the event.
Where There’s Solace, There’s Hope
Dror has arranged a support team for inmates who are scheduled to start a prison term. Former inmates are paired with those who are just entering the system, based on location. The intention of this arrangement is to prepare the inmates on what to expect, offering much needed advice to allay their anxiety. This method of communication provides Chizzuk and the feeling of camaraderie from someone who understands the system from a bird’s eye view.
A Happy Ending
“You helped in our time of suffering, like angels on a mission.” ( Click here for full text of appreciation letter) Such were the words of thanks expressed by the family of a recent individual for whom Dror was B”H instrumental in having his case dismissed. The tireless intervention of our new legal team member, Gaby Laniado, along with personal court appearances of Yoel Asher Labin, and the efforts of Chaim Freund, resulted in tremendous Yad Hashem in having someone be spared the anguish of prison. May we witness many more happy moments in our mission.
Kosher Food: The Aftermath
We’ve previously mentioned the possibility of kosher kitchens for state prisons. At their most recent visit to Albany, the Dror legal team representatives were informed that as of this week construction for the kitchen has begun. The prisons’ kosher kitchens are on schedule to be completed by April, being the only source of hot Fleishig (Meat) meals for Jewish inmates in state prisons.
There has been a recent surge of awareness featured in regard to the plight of inmates and their families in our community. The Hamodia featured articles mentioning families who are going through the challenge, and recently Rabbi Labin was approached by Dovid Lichtenstein to speak on his radio show on behalf of Dror, giving the Jewish media a little bit of insight into the world of incarceration and beyond. R’ Labin shared the initial inspiration to start Dror, based on a personal account of witnessing a dear friend go through the struggles. He reiterated that, although Klal Yisroel was at the ready to help these yidden, there was no organized headquarters to properly fill the need. He also stressed the fact that all of Dror’s staff members were volunteers, none of them taking dividends or payroll from the donations which are received. Mr. Lichtenstein referred to R’ Labin as the ‘Rebbe of the brokenhearted’, praising him for taking upon himself such a position of Chesed Lishma. What left its mark on the listeners was the mention of pure Mesiras Nefesh on behalf of the inmates in their darkest hour. Although they’ve been tainted by legality issues, their adherence to the stringencies of Yiddishkeit are taken in the highest regard. Some inmates in solitary confinement gave up their daily walk, among other privileges, for the sole mitzvah of putting tzitzit, although no one would be the wiser if they hadn’t. One father told his child to try to be better than him, breaking down in tears at the series of events that led him to prison. They want to be better role models, and in a sense, they really are.
Dror and the Stems Grand Opening
Stems celebrated the Grand Opening of their new party planning showroom, in affiliation with Sparks on February 21st. The theme of the evening was a grand gala dinner, with all proceeds generously fundraised for Dror. Special thanks to Gershy Doppelt and Yoeli Hershkowitz, the food and decor team par excellence, for arranging such a beautiful collaboration on behalf of our cause. Featuring Yoely Lebovitz, among other entertainers, the show stopping food, decor, and fine wine were the culmination of an evening of grandiose excellence. When a beautiful atmosphere meets a higher calling, the word of the day is: awestruck.
Mazel Tov Mentions
Shmiel Yakov Hecht: May you experience many Simchos and Brachos in your new home, to be filled with only happiness and joy.
Eli Moskowitz: May the recent marriage of your daughter be an ongoing source of much Yiddish Nachas.
Mayer Fischel: May the recent engagement of your daughter be the start of only good tidings.
Shia Hershel Singer: In congratulations to your recent wedding, we wish you a new beginning of pure happiness.
Avrumy Halperin: May the recent marriage of your son be an ongoing source of much Yiddish Nachas.