By Chanita Teitz

I’ve written about the topic before, but it is something to keep repeating. There are many milestones, some small, like baby steps, and some big and a little unbelievable.

We have reached a major family milestone — our oldest granddaughter, Tova, has gotten engaged to Moshe. When did she grow older? When did her parents reach the age we were when they got married? When did we grow older? This new stage is exciting and a berachah, and seeing our grandchildren start out on their own and start a new link in our family will provide many wonderful memories.

So, when we reach a special milestone, it is with gratitude that we thank Hashem for this berachah. I am especially thankful for the wonderful relationship I have with Tova and my other grandchildren. The younger ones want sleepovers and stories while the older ones want help with homework assignments. And as they get older they want our advice. How cool is that? They think we’re smart.

Mazal tov to Tova and Moshe, to my daughter and son-in-law, and to the chassan’s parents. May all of Klal Yisrael be blessed with simcha. And don’t forget to be thankful!

Bais Yaakov of Queens kindergarten students and parents enjoy a Mommy and Me workshop.

BYQ Preschool Shares Pre-Chanukah Funday

Bais Yaakov of Queens kindergarten had a wonderful time at their Mommy and Me workshop on Thanksgiving day. Excitement was in the air as mothers and grandmothers visited BYQ. In honor of Rosh Chodesh Kislev, the kindergarten students shared a morning of fun and activities. The sound of laughter was heard as children decorated Chanukah cookies and created Chanukah necklaces and crowns. Morah Reena Greenberg led the children and adults in Chanukah singing and dancing. Kislev is off to a lichtige start at BYQ!

Chazaq Celebrates 13-Year Anniversary With Gala Dinner

The bar mitzvah marks a new stage in the life of a Jewish boy, taking him from a minor to an adult, with responsibilities to shoulder for the remainder of his life.

On Wednesday, December 4, the Chazaq organization celebrated its 13-year anniversary with a gala dinner at the Leonard’s Palazzo in Great Neck, telling the capacity audience that “now we will take upon ourselves greater responsibilities to take the community to even greater heights.”

The beautiful event formally began at 6:30 p.m. for the guests, but a few hours earlier for the Chazaq staff that came to set up. Guests were welcomed by Chazaq’s warm staff to a beautifully adorned hall. One really gets a sense of the positive morale shared by the Chazaq team by seeing their inspired work. Chazaq CEO R’ Yaniv Meirov was all over the place, directing guests, socializing, and generally infecting everyone with his contagious smile. The mood of the event was congenial due to the camaraderie of the participants.

The event began in the side hall with a delicious shmorg which surely whet everyone’s appetite. During this time, the main hall was abuzz as the night’s entertainers prepared. The slated singers included Chaim Mayesz and several surprise guests.

At 7:30 p.m., the guests were invited into the main hall for the night’s formal dinner. The tables and chairs were elegantly arranged for the occasion, and the hundreds of guests took their seats. Meirov took the microphone to welcome everyone and thanked all the guests for their demonstrable support for all of Chazaq’s work. He then turned attention to the focus of the night, the dinner’s esteemed honorees.

The first award was presented to Margaret Teitz Nursing and Rehab Center. Meirov spoke of their extraordinary service for the community since the early 1970s and how they are constantly improving and reaching new heights. Meirov presented them the prestigious community service award and was joined on stage with Mr. Shalom Zirkiev and Mr. Ben Yunatanov, two esteemed members of Chazaq’s board of directors, to present the heads of Margaret Teitz with the award.

The next award was presented to Mr. and Mrs. Mickey Aboff for their genuine dedication for Jewish causes, especially in West Hempstead where they started a branch of Chazaq in their community. Their son Robbie was given the “Mr. Chazaq” coffee mug from Meirov, earning him this distinguished title for all his hard work in being Chazaq’s events coordinator, inspiring thousands throughout the year.

Mr. and Mrs. Avraham Pinchasov received the Pillar of Chesed Award for their genuine support to Chazaq’s cause of inspiring Jewish children in the public-school system. In a similar vein, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Koptiev were awarded the Youth Leadership award for their continued efforts towards various community programs which endeavor for our youth.

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Plaine received the Hakarat HaTov award for their support of Chazaq for nearly a decade. Finally, Rabbi Tomer and Rebbetzin Zino were awarded the Community Builder award for their tremendous dedication to the community. Rebbetzin Zino has been a popular director of Chazaq’s Jwave Teen Division for girls, inspiring scores of girls to change every year. Rabbi Zino is a rabbinical student at Chazaq’s kollel and rabbi of the Tiferet Shalom minyan.

The night progressed wonderfully. The guests were treated to beautiful music performance by the Bukharian Boys Choir and a surprise appearance by Tal Vaknin who joined Chaim Mayesz in electrifying the audience with their music.

After the awards ceremony concluded, the crowd learned about some of Chazaq’s life-changing programs. “Over 15,000 different people came to Chazaq lectures, not in the last 13 years, but in the last 12 months alone,” said Meirov. “In addition, Chazaq touched the lives of over 1,250 public-school students in the last year alone, guiding 258 of them to a yeshiva setting.”

“In the last three years, Chazaq has guided over 800 public-school students to attend yeshiva,” said Meirov to an arousing ovation by the capacity crowd.

Charlie Harary was the guest speaker at the event, sharing powerful anecdotes in defining a true leader. In doing so he expressed his personal feelings about the Chazaq staff who “give their heart and soul in order to inspire and assist anyone who comes their way.”

Many distinguished rabbanim, community leaders, and elected officials made a special appearance to show their gratitude for Chazaq’s great work in the community, offering their blessings for many more years of continued success.

By the end of the event, it was clear that Chazaq had the continued support of its guests. The guests left the hall knowing that Chazaq will continue to address the community’s many needs and innovate programs to advance everyone to the next level. If they have accomplished so much before their bar mitzvah, could you imagine what they will, G-d willing, accomplish after? With a united effort, the sky’s the limit.

Upcoming Events

Queens Jewish Center’s 5th Annual Yahrzeit Lecture in Memory of Rav Joseph Grunblatt, zt’l, Sunday, December 15 at 9 a.m., 66-05 108th St., Forest Hills. An elaborate breakfast will be served. The speaker is Rabbi Mark Wildes, founder and director of Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE), a highly successful Jewish outreach and educational program that engages and reconnects unaffiliated Jewish men and women in their twenties and thirties with Judaism and the Jewish community.

Topic: “The Fading American Jew and the Torah Imperative of Kiruv.” Reservations: $25 for members / $30 for not-yet-members. Sponsorships: $50 (includes 1 reservation) and $100 (includes 2 reservations). RSVP deadline: Wednesday, December 4; call 718-459-8432, email, or visit

Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills Blood Drive, Monday, December 16 from 4 p.m.–10 p.m. at 150-05 70th Rd., Kew Gardens Hills. Your donation will help to save up to three lives. Please share this lifesaving gift! Thank you for caring!

Shiur Ha’chodesh for Women By Women, Wednesday, December 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Etz Chaim, 147-19 73rd Avenue, Kew Gardens Hills. Presented by Rabbi Israel D. Rosenberg Educational Institute of Congregation Etz Chaim. Raizi Chechik, head of school, MDS. “Mother, Moneylender, Mystic: A Medieval Story.” Suggested donation: $6. For further information, please contact Hadassah Waxman at or 718-261-0766.

Sivan Rahav-Meir speaking on Eight Paths to Illumination, December 21 at 8:30 p.m. at the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates, 83-10 188th St., Jamaica Estates. Presented by the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought.

Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or email


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