Brooklyn. The weather was picture-perfect, the food was plentiful, and the atmosphere was warm and congenial at the Our Place Deluxe Dairy Extravaganza, held recently at the home of Avrumi Lieberman in Flatbush. Over 200 people enjoyed a lavish dairy spread, learned about the many services offered by Our Place, and took part in exciting raffles with prizes including baseball tickets, dinners at T-Fusion, Mike’s Bistro, and Pizza Time, a Mountain Fruit shopping spree, and a luxury car rental for a day.
“Our goal was to attract an even larger group of community members and get them involved in Our Place,” said Yossi Yurowitz, longtime administrator and senior counselor at Our Place. “Many of them were shocked to know all the services we provide, all the places we have. The average balabus in Flatbush may not be aware of everything that Our Place does and our goal was to reeducate this group and let them know what we do.”
As Our Place continues to grow and add more programs, the number of teens served continues to rise annually. A group of Our Place board members circulated among the crowd, sharing Our Place’s many success stories. The evening began with the recitation of Tehillim for Israel, led by Our Place board member Shimon Lefkowitz, and a ten-minute video, titled Our Kids Speak, featuring interviews with several Our Place teens who shared their stories.
“For the longest time people had their heads in the sand, hoping that this problem would go away. But today it is just one degree of separation—everyone has either a close friend or a relative who is now in this parashah,” explained Yurowitz. “This problem is here to stay and is the nisayon of this dor. It isn’t going away so let’s step up and address it.”
In recent months, yet another danger has cropped up on the Brooklyn landscape with the opening of a missionary center on the 1900 block of Coney Island Avenue, putting troubled teens in even greater jeopardy.
“If we don’t give these kids the services, the therapy, the pool tables, and the trips, then the missionaries will,” explained Yurowitz. “We are aligning ourselves with BJX and engaging in community awareness, making people aware that our at-risk kids are more vulnerable now than they ever were.”
This was the first Our Place formal event in Flatbush in the last two years.
“This was really more of a friend-raiser than fundraiser,” observed Rabbi Aryeh Young, director of Our Place. “It is amazing how Moshe Binik’s small dream 16 years ago has blossomed into Our Place, with four different programs and multiple facilities throughout the community.”
The event was emceed by Yurowitz and Zvi Gluck, director of crisis intervention at Our Place, with food catered by Upper Crust of the Five Towns and sushi donated by Eden Wok of New Rochelle, which sponsors weekly dinner at both the boys’ and girls’ Our Place locations.
“It was great to see how many people came out to learn more about Our Place,” said Yurowitz. “As the night went on, they just kept on coming and the community support that we received is very much appreciated.”
Monsey. It was a night to remember for the 250 men who spent an evening of competitive sports, swimming, and more in Monsey as they raised money for Our Place, the Brooklyn-based organization that provides services, counseling, and drop-in centers for troubled teens from all over the world.
The Ultimate Barbecue and Poolside Volleyball Tournament for Men took place at the home of Yosef Zupnik and offered a full spread of grilled food, sushi, and more and featured 16 volleyball teams from Monsey and the Five Towns, each one bringing in a minimum of $5,000 in funds for Our Place.
The event kicked off with Tehillim for the situation in Israel led by Rabbi Daniel Coren, director of Monsey’s Project Inspire, and was sponsored by Main Event Sponsor, MYDA Advisors, as well as EMStar, Capital Funding Group, Chem Rx Pharmaceuticals, Safrin Associates, Deerwood Real Estate Capital, Sterling National Bank, and Herzog Wine Cellars, with longtime Our Place sponsor Eden Wok of New Rochelle sponsoring the event and donating sushi for the evening.
Our Place director Rabbi Aryeh Young was effusive in his gratitude to the Monsey community for its overwhelming support. “Our Place’s children are all of Klal Yisrael’s children, wherever they may be,” said Rabbi Young.
Rabbi Young shared the story of a young girl who was a troubled teen and spent many hours at Our Place. “Today she is married with a family of her own,” noted Rabbi Young. “There are so many of these cases of kids who have difficult stories and Our Place is here to ensure that they regain their footing as they travel down the road of life.”
The fundraiser lasted well over five hours as participants swam and enjoyed the delicious fare and the many giveaways, but the highlight of the event was the volleyball tournament, with Menachem Lieber’s “the Five Towners” walking away with the win. Each player on the winning team will enjoy a night out in New York City, including dinner at Mike’s Bistro and an overnight hotel stay in Manhattan.
“Everyone had such a good time that no one wanted to go home,” said Rabbi Young. “People commented that they had never seen such an amazing, popular, fun-filled event in the Monsey community before and we are working on a similar event to take place soon in the Five Towns.”
Rabbi Young thanked Chaim Greenfield, Naftali Zelman, and Boruch Abramoff who were instrumental in co-chairing the event, Yossi Brachfeld of Evergreen who generously provided much of the food for the evening, and Ari Schiffer who served as the event’s private chef.
“I can’t thank the residents of Monsey enough for showing us such unconditional support,” said Rabbi Young. “We hope to continue having a warm relationship with the Monsey community as we continue our quest to help troubled teens, wherever they may be.”
To find out more about Our Place, visit www.ourplaceny.org or call 516-512-4494. ϖ