By Tzippora Daneshrad
On Sunday evening, May 26, the Far Rockaway/Five Towns Community came together for an evening of recognition and hakaras ha’tov to all of the volunteers who dedicated their time and efforts to make Project Nivneh a reality. The event took place at the White Shul with a stunning dessert buffet catered by Sharmel Caterers and organized by Dina Rogoff.
The program began with opening remarks by Batsheva Katz who elaborated on the power of giving and the master kiddush Hashem demonstrated through Project Nivneh. Her welcome was followed by words of gratitude from Rebbitzen Hoberman of Long Beach who described her hurricane experience and the relief she received from Project Nivneh. Ettie Schoor, the founder and director of Nivneh, received a long standing ovation as she ascended the podium. She addressed the audience and thanked each person for coming as every individual in the room was part of an historical event and a chesed organization of monumental proportions. Mrs. Schoor impressed upon everyone that we should not wait for another Sandy to reach out to someone that needs our help. Project Nivneh’s Partners in Sandy program is testimony to the fact that you can make a difference in someone’s life and we should all continue doing so, as she concluded her address by saying, “Be a partner, be a friend, make a difference!”
The 400 attendees enjoyed a video featuring remarks from Nivneh families, partners, team leaders, and committee heads. Mrs. Malka Fishman detailed her and her family’s experience before, during, and after the storm. While they still have a long road ahead, she feels such gratitude from Project Nivneh and specifically her amazing Partner in Sandy, Golda Gross, for enabling her to have made it this far and for providing her with the emotional support to continue. The inspiring video was filmed by Yoel Hecht with the Herman Brothers handling the editing and production. Mrs. Naomi Billauer, another Nivneh family, expressed her deep gratitude to Project Nivneh for being there from the very beginning, anticipating their every need. They are thrilled to be able to move back home and will never forget the chesed they were able to witness firsthand.
The committee heads were all smiles when they addressed the unique opportunity Project Nivneh allotted them—the toy committee, food committee, and baby gear committee. Warehouse heads and the construction office volunteers provided a glimpse into what occurred in the months following Hurricane Sandy.
The atmosphere was enhanced with music by Baila Caller as feelings of achdus and ahavas chesed permeated the room. Participants in the event were inspired by what people can do when they join efforts and by the willingness and readiness of the 500 volunteers to join Project Nivneh. Above all, the night was for the families whose lives were impacted by Hurricane Sandy by rebuilding with such emunah and overcoming major challenges. Nivneh thanked the families for allowing them to help them and expressed much hoda’ah to Hashem for the siyata dishmaya enabling the project to succeed beyond all expectations.
The feedback following the event was extremely positive. Attendees were truly inspired and expressed their thoughts and appreciation. “I just came from the Nivneh appreciation night…You provided us with what we needed in an expedited manner and just as importantly with emotional support. We are, baruch Hashem, back in our homes and back to our regular routines. We will, however, always remember you and the Nivneh organization.”
“Last night was truly inspirational and just a wonderful event.”
“It was such a special evening. You are all truly wonderful.”
We all hope and pray that the community will not be tested again and that the chesed and ahavas Yisrael witnessed after Sandy will stand in testimony to the achdus of Klal Yisrael and should help bring Mashiach bimheirah b’yameinu. v