The 5 Towns Jewish Times

AHH Annual Gala The Celebration Of Chesed September 2

By Rochelle Miller

Much has been accomplished by Avigdor’s Helping Hand since the inception of this exemplary organization. Peruse the letters of appreciation on the AHH website; each tells a story of a family saved from the brink of despair. Attesting to the extraordinary efforts of Avigdor’s Helping Hand, its dedicated family of compassionate volunteers who selflessly give of themselves, these soul-stirring missives speak volumes of AHH’s lifesaving mission.

“Dear Avigdor’s Helping Hand,

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank you and your organization very much for the very generous assistance you have provided us with since the passing of our dear wife and mother, a’h. The past several years have been a very difficult and challenging time, emotionally and financially, for our family as I have struggled to provide for my family, as well as care for my wife and make her feel as comfortable as possible, under the circumstances.

Your very timely assistance has helped us immeasurably, made our lives much less stressful, and given us the ability and strength to carry on. It has also made it much easier for our community, which has carried much of the burden and responsibility in helping us during the past several years. May Hashem bless you and your wonderful organization with many more years of berachah, hatzlachah, good health, and happiness, and give you the ability and strength to carry on and help other people who are in the same situation as we are in. And in the z’chus of your tremendous avodas haKodesh and mitzvos that you do, may we all be zocheh to have no more sorrow, have only besoros tovos, and see the coming of Moshiach, bimheirah b’yameinu, Amen.”

This poignant letter of appreciation is representative of the notes penned from the heart — beautiful expressions of hakoras hatov AHH receives from the many families they have helped. Since its inception 13 years ago, Avigdor’s Helping Hand has, baruch Hashem, never had to turn a family away due to lack of funds. This is because the Labor Day BBQ, AHH’s gala annual fundraiser, ensures the organization’s continued ability to provide financial relief for grieving families in their darkest hours.

Often described as being “the most eagerly anticipated event of the year,” the Annual Avigdor’s Helping Hand Labor Day BBQ is an enchanting and elegant evening, featuring world-class cuisine, beautiful music, refined ambiance, and the gracious hospitality of Bilhah and David Moradi, who are hosting this not-to-be-missed event in their beautiful home for the twelfth consecutive year. Graced by the presence of our esteemed rabbanim, lay leaders, dignitaries, and AHH volunteers and supporters, it is truly a kiddush Hashem; a display of tremendous achdus for this outstanding chesed organization. Avigdor’s Helping Hand is grateful to the increasing number of wonderful corporate sponsors, whose support is key to AHH’s lifesaving mission, and to the many sponsors who have generously donated gifts for the fabulous Chinese Auction.

Each year, the AHH BBQ affords guests the opportunity to support AHH in its avodas hakodesh while spending a highly enjoyable evening amid great company. You are cordially invited to savor an elegant evening of world-class cuisine by the inimitable Michael Schick and relaxing music at the Thirteenth Annual Avigdor’s Helping Hand Gala Labor Day BBQ. Please note: This year, the event will take place on Sunday, September 2, at the Moradi Residence, 72 Muriel Drive in Lawrence.

This magical evening will feature an exciting Chinese Auction showcasing a stellar array of upscale prizes. Viewing the gallery of gifts that awaits you is a veritable aesthetic delight — stunning jewelry, state-of-the-art electronics, and magnificent art, featuring two paintings graciously donated by Huvy’s Art Gallery of Yerushalayim. And because it benefits those who are truly in need, everyone is a winner! You’ll find something for everyone!

What makes this event truly unique, however, is that it is a celebration of chesed in its purest form, a true legacy to the memory of Avigdor Glaser, zt’l, the extraordinary ben Torah in whose z’chus Avigdor’s Helping Hand was created.

To know Avigdor was to love him. A devoted family man, he was adored by his wife and their three children and beloved by his parents and siblings. He was a highly accomplished person who lived his life according to the tenets of the Torah and touched the lives of all who knew him. After studying in Yeshiva Merkaz HaTorah in Eretz Yisroel, Avigdor pursued his undergraduate studies at Queens College and then attended Fordham Law School, where he graduated at the top of his class. Personable and unpretentious, this gifted young man was a successful attorney at a prestigious law firm.

Tragically, Avigdor passed away on September 29, 2005, when he was only 30 years old, leaving his family devastated. His petirah left a tremendous void in the community. Overcome with grief, his family sought to create a charity that would perpetuate Avigdor’s life and be a treasured legacy for this precious ben Torah. The most fitting tribute to honor the memory of their beloved husband, father, son, and brother would be a chesed organization that comforted families experiencing chaos and unbearable pain in the aftermath of the death of a spouse. Thus was Avigdor’s Helping Hand established.

We all know of families that have suffered the devastating loss of the primary wage-earning husband or wife, leaving the surviving spouse and children bereft, broken, and in unbearable pain. They have lived lives similar to our own until tragedy indiscriminately struck, wreaking havoc on their lives.

For those who are left behind, the effects of such a tragedy are horrific: children bereft of their precious parents, wives without their beloved husbands, and husbands without their cherished wives. Even before the economic impact begins to engulf them, the magnitude of their suffering is too much to bear.

Even in cases where insurance or governmental assistance is available, it may often take weeks or months for these benefits to be processed and made available to the family. That is where Avigdor’s Helping Hand comes in.

Functioning as a disaster relief fund, Avigdor’s Helping Hand is a beacon of hope amid a sea of despair; a veritable lifeline for bereaved families in their darkest hour. Every detail is handled b’derech kavod u’b’derech tzniyus, with the utmost degree of respect and modesty.

“Everything is done in accordance to da’as Torah,” explained Eli Glaser, Avigdor’s father. “Our rabbinic board is comprised of chashuveh rabbanim, headed by our esteemed posek, HaRav Noach Isaac Oelbaum, with whom we consult whenever a she’eilah arises.”

To date, Avigdor’s Helping Hand has dispensed $6 million, made 775 weddings for orphans throughout the United States, and helped 350 qualified families who have suffered the tragic loss of a spouse. Each applicant is required to submit two letters with his or her application: one from their rabbi, the second from a chesed organization. The application is reviewed; rabbis and other references are called.

“Every application involves an intense due diligence process,” Glaser told the 5TJT. “We have established a committee to evaluate each applicant with the utmost degree of sensitivity and confidentiality. We step in immediately to provide a cash stipend to provide the spouse and family with financial support. Every application is reviewed with complete confidentiality, and all details are handled b’derech kavod and with dignity.” Featured on the website are letters from many roshei yeshiva, including Lakewood, as well as from chassidishe rebbes. The money is discretionary and may be used to offset any expense, such as food, housing costs, mortgage payments, childcare, utility payments, etc.

Truly an exemplar of chesed, Avigdor’s Helping Hand has introduced “Spreading The Joy: A New AHH Initiative” for sharing your simcha!

Are you making a simcha? Mazal tov! What better way of celebrating your simcha than by spreading the joy to those less fortunate?

Please join Avigdor’s Helping Hand in helping make chasunos for yesomim. In addition to the great merit of this tremendous mitzvah, this is also an opportunity for the yisom or yisomah to daven for you or your family under their chuppah. Complete confidentiality is ensured between all ba’alei simcha.

Every donation to Avigdor’s Helping Hand goes directly and completely to providing emergency financial assistance to the families. Unique in its noble mission, AHH operates with no paid staff and no overhead.

For the dedicated volunteers who give selflessly of themselves, AHH is truly a labor of love. “The devotion of our dedicated volunteers is immeasurable,” Eli says. “They are doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and women, hedge fund managers working long hours, with young families to support. Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase in the number of volunteers who have joined us. Each volunteer has a unique job to perform which is done with such dedication. They tell us of how their lives have changed, of the tremendous chizuk they are getting as a result of being part of Avigdor’s Helping Hand. Each and every one of these wonderful young people is our partner. They are the reason, b’ezras Hashem, for our success. It is because of them that every cent of every donation goes directly to help the widows and orphans. We have no overhead—everything is done in its entirety by volunteers. We are very grateful to our corporate sponsors for their generous support. It is very uplifting to note that a significant number of them are “repeating” corporate sponsors and we are extremely thankful to them all for being key to our success. We take great care to ensure that every detail is handled with the utmost discretion and the highest level of tzniyus. We are honored to be receiving tremendous accolades every day and have been guided by da’as Torah since the very beginning.”

“We are honored and fortunate that David and Bilhah Moradi will be graciously hosting our event in their beautiful home for the twelfth consecutive year,” says Eli. “They are an integral and treasured part of our AHH family,” Eli Glaser said.

Please show your support for this exemplary organization by gracing the event of the year with your presence. To help AHH in any way or to obtain additional information, please call 718-568-9720 or visit AvigdorsHelpingHand.org. Tizku l’mitzvos!

Rochelle Maruch Miller is a contributing editor for the Five Towns Jewish Times. She is a journalist, creative media consultant, lecturer, and educator, and writes for magazines, newspapers, websites, and private clients. She welcomes your comments at Rochellemiller04@aol.com.