By Steven Liker
It was a full house at Congregation Ohab Zedek in Belle Harbor for the special “Rebuild Belle Harbor” concert. After a challenging year of recovery from Hurricane Sandy, the community in Belle Harbor and beyond came out to celebrate the chanukas ha’bayis of its shul. The concert featured Benny Friedman, Shloime Dachs, Aryeh Kunstler, Avraham Rosenblum, and the Rambam High School Choir. All proceeds from the concert will go towards rebuilding Ohab Zedek, which suffered $1 million of damage in the storm, and to individuals in need following the storm. Some 400 people packed the majestic block-long shul to celebrate and assist one of the longest-lasting Jewish communities in the Rockaways/Five Towns area. The lively singing and impromptu dancing at the event underscored the emotion that filled the room.
Families that grew up in the neighborhood came together from all over in the few weeks after the storm and decided to make this event happen. Jason Berg, Nachi Feit, and Aryeh Kunstler spearheaded efforts with my assistance and that of Barbara Berg, both longtime members of Ohab Zedek. “With over 90 percent of members of the Belle Harbor Jewish community having returned, the time was ripe for celebrating and doing something to help the community,” commented one of the organizers. Rabbi Tsvi Selengut, rabbi of Ohab Zedek, said the event was “not just a fundraiser but an event of thanks for having returned so quickly and so successfully.” “Belle Harbor is back and better than ever,” Rabbi Selengut concluded. There were laughs and cries throughout the event as everyone took in the fact that Belle Harbor has finally returned. This Jewish community, which was established over 90 years ago, showed that they are not going anywhere.
For more information about helping Ohab Zedek or if you would like to spend Shabbos in Belle Harbor, please contact Rabbi Selengut at Selengut@gmail.com or 201-658-2478. v