1,500 Attend Achiezer's Inspiring Dinner
March 1, 2016
This past Sunday night, February 28, 2016, an unprecedented and incredible evening of tribute took place at the Sands Atlantic Beach. Glancing around, the cross section gathered in the packed room was an inspiring sight to behold. 1,500 people young and old, rabbonim, elected officials, community members, friends and family - from all walks of life - joined together in unity. Bob, who has been working at the Sands for the past thirty years, noted, "In all my years, I've never seen this many people, or such a diverse crowd, come together to support one organization. I can tell it must be something really special."
All in attendance came bearing the very same testimony: "Achiezer is there for our community, guiding everyone who needs assistance throughout every step of the way." Whether matching people with the proper referrals, directing community members to the proper doctors for the treatment they so desperately need, coordinating meals and driving assistance, crisis management, emotional and financial support, and so many other fronts, Achiezer is truly the one-stop resource for all things community-related.
And so, in a thrilling and stirring program, that lasted just under an hour, all those gathered joined together to honor the Honorable Ben Weinstock, Shlomo and Raizy Hackel, Dr. Deborah Dienstag and Eliahu and Chaia Frishman, and to celebrate the success and efforts of all those involved with Achiezer.
With its dinner theme of We Are All Achiezer, Achiezer featured a premier of the Drama in Real Life film that left the crowd spellbound. The video was filled with heartfelt accounts of real members of our community whose lives have been touched by Achiezer. "Any time I need Achiezer, they're only a phone call away," and "We're all in this together," were the underlying factors behind all of these chronicles.
One of the most emotional highlights of the evening was the heartfelt and meaningful tribute to Mr. and Mrs. Howard and Susan Zemser, the parents of Justin Zemser, a"h, a Navy Midshipman whose life was cut short at the young age of twenty years old in the Amtrak Train #188 crash of May 2015. Rabbi Boruch Ber Bender, the president and founder of Achiezer, presented a beautiful painting of Justin to his parents.
In this moving tribute, Rabbi Bender related how it's special and remarkable people like the Zemsers that give the Achiezer team the chizuk to make it through the difficult days. "A couple like the Zemsers," he explained, "who experienced the indescribable pain of losing their only child, yet remained strong and, despite the horrific pain they endured remained focused on kovod hameis and prompt burial, and now spend their days connecting with G-d show us all how tragedy will not overtake us." The painting was given to the Zemsers as a token of gratitude on behalf of the community thanking them for teaching this invaluable lesson.
Throughout the program, the dinner attendees were honored to be addressed by several notable politicians. New York State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder addressed the crowd on behalf of the elected officials and Anthony (Tony) J. Santino, Hempstead Town Supervisor, spoke in honor of his good friend, the Honorable Mayor Ben Weinstock.
By the end of the evening, the captivated and engaged audience could not get enough. Achiezer received an email shortly after the dinner that stated it all, "Wow! That's all I can say! The dinner was perfect! You didn't miss a detail - down to the personalized mints! The proof was in how many people stayed for dessert!" Because when you pair the greatest community with the most dedicated volunteers, you get Achiezer. In the words of another attendee, "Despite not being a yeshiva with a natural constituent parent body, a crowd like this was evidence of how seriously our community embraces chesed."