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We Are All Achiezer: 2019 Stunning Gala Showcases Unprecedented Support for Bastion of Chesed
1/06/19



The annual Achiezer Gala, held this past Sunday, January 6, had arrived.
Based on the unprecedented turnout, one thing was clear: The attendees had been eagerly awaiting this event, which some called the "highlight of the year" in the Five Towns and Far Rockaway communities.
By 6 p.m., it was clear that the crowd would be like no other the community had ever seen at a function of this sort.
This was evidenced, as well, by the fact that for the first time in the history of The Sands Atlantic Beach, extra parking lots far from the main lot, were opened to accommodate the continuous flow of arrivals.
The Gala was elegantly catered by Elite Caterers.
Approximately 1,900 people converged on the banquet hall over the course of the evening, ready to express their support for a one-of-a-kind organization that has redefined chesed in our communities.
Dr. Azriel Hirschfeld, master of ceremonies, set the tone of the evening by stressing that the community's strong expression of support during this year's dinner campaign made clear that the support for Achiezer among the masses has never been stronger.
Tehillim was then led by Rav Yaakov Bender, Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, for all the cholim of the community.
Attendees then watched a video paying tribute to Dr. Richie Friedman z"l, in whose memory the dinner was dedicated. Dr. Friedman's father, Dr. Ira Friedman, his wife, Mrs. Cheryl Friedman, and his children were all present.
Dr. Hirschfeld then introduced the indefatigable founder of Achiezer, Boruch Ber Bender, who has carried the yoke of chesed in the community on his shoulders, never resting and never allowing himself to be satisfied with past achievements.
Rabbi Bender, speaking emotionally and from his heart, described how unity is achieved, stating that the outpouring of support, and the participation of so many people, demonstrated the sentiment of the community as a whole that they need Achiezer and have thrown their full support behind this citadel of giving.
Rabbi Bender poignantly listed, by name, the community members who passed away over the prior year. "This community and all of you that showed up," he said, "provides these families a feeling of nechama that we're there for them whenever they need us."
Rabbi Bender told an astounding story about a woman who had passed away. "The last time she was conscious," said Rabbi Bender, "she was crying from happiness, because she had been a recipient of the chesed of Achiezer and the community, and she felt so lucky to be part of it."
Rabbi Bender then introduced a new Achiezer initiative that will pair people up with others going through a similar illness or crisis, be it medical, emotional or financial. This idea was very well-received by the crowd.
A surprise award was then presented to Daniel Younger, a volunteer stricken with a muscular illness, who, despite his handicap, has shown genuine heroism by being involved in numerous chassadim, even participating in cases of meis mitzva. One time, Rabbi Bender shared, when Daniel was unable to move his hands, he still asked a volunteer for some dirt so that he could participate in a burial.
This description of such selfless caring and giving was met with a standing ovation from the packed audience.
The evening's honorees were then recognized, with each one's accomplishments being beautifully depicted on a video presentation. Mr. Michael H. Goldberg was honored as Man of the Year, Yossy and Miriam Lea Ungar were the Pillars of Chesed Awardees, Shalom and Leah Jaroslawicz received the Young Leadership Award, and Excellent in Medicine Awards were presented to Dr. Martin Kessler and Dr. Ari Hoschander.
This was followed by the formal dedication of the Edith Lowinger Achiezer Volunteer Network, installed by Ronald and Dr. Brucha Lowinger.
A musical interlude with Shulem Lemmer and Baruch Levine followed, paying homage to the Achiezer volunteers.
As music filled the air and the guests pondered the messages shared throughout the uplifting evening, the underlying theme was one of unity and coming together. Every person who exited The Sands that evening knew that they are never alone.
Because there are those who spend their every waking moment concerned about the community and concerned about the individual.
The message was unambiguous: We are all Achiezer.

 

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