If you stop random people in Queens and ask them to describe the CHAZAQ organization, you will most probably receive a unique response from each individual.
In fact, we recently asked some local residents for their thoughts and here is what they had to say:
Azriel Goldman from Kew Garden Hills- “I would describe CHAZAQ as an organization that organizes lectures throughout the community, in a number of different shuls…”
Linda Israelov from Rego Park- “CHAZAQ organizes all these wonderful classes and programs for married women to help us build a stronger foundation in our marriage and to have a better understanding of our children…”
Mike Danielov from Forest Hills- “CHAZAQ has a nice afterschool program for teenagers like myself. We chill, have Kosher meals, learn torah with great Rabbis and teachers, and have a good time with friends.”
Naftali Hisiger from Kew Garden Hills – “You want me to describe CHAZAQ in one or two sentences??? It’s nearly impossible, but they do tons of chessed, and tons of different things like organizing shiurim and trying to spread Torah around Queens….”
Yocheved C. from Fresh Meadows- “CHAZAQ has a great radio station (chazaqradio.com
)…We have the music blasting all day long and the shows are very informative…”
Esther Harris from Jamaica Estates- “CHAZAQ is an organization that tries to unify the Jewish community in Queens by organizing different lectures with inspiring speakers…. They also have a monthly magazine and weekly newsletters among other things… All this is being done with the vision of building a stronger future for our community….”
Boris from Forest Hills- “CHAZAQ is doing good job… What they do, I not sure, but my grandson always talks about CHAZAQ, CHAZAQ, CHAZAQ. And he likes it. So keep up the good job…”
Yitzchak Yosef Rosenberg (aka YY) from Flushing- “I always used to think CHAZAQ was a kiruv organization for public school teens…..but once I started getting involved with CHAZAQ, I see they are constantly doing things for everyone in the community; the lectures, the women’s programs, the teens division, the magazine, the radio…. mamesh building a stronger future!”
There you have it, eight community members with a different angle on what CHAZAQ is all about.
So what is CHAZAQ? What is their mission statement?
In the words of Rabbi Ilan Meirov, founder and director of CHAZAQ, “CHAZAQ is an organization whose goal is to be mekarev rechokim and give chizuk to krovim (To do outreach with those distant from their Jewish heritage and strengthen those who are close). We strive to unite all segments of the Queens community – and beyond – and we look to provide inspirational programs for men and women of all age groups using any means possible, be it LIVE shiurim, marriage workshops, a magazine, a radio station, and so on.”
“But”, Rabbi Ilan adds, “our main focus is currently on Jewish boys and girls that attend public school”.
Working together with his close friends Rabbi Yitzchok Oelboum (son of the renowned Posek, Rav Noach Isaac Oelboum shlit”a) and Mr. Isaac Abraham Esq., the trio has dedicated much time and energy raising awareness of the dire situation taking place amongst local public school teens.
“So many precious souls are being lost every single year”, Rabbi Ilan laments. “I see with my own eyes how so many of them are getting involved with the wrong things, rachmanah litzlan, eventually leading to depression, crime, drugs, and even worse, believe it or not”.
“Everyone in the community must realize that it’s our collective responsibility to keep these boys and girls off the streets, bring them to a safe environment, and educate them about their illustrious heritage”.
CHAZAQ’s dedicated staff has worked tirelessly in making their dreams a reality thanks to the overwhelming support of community members. “But so much more must be done” Says Rabbi Ilan’s younger brother Yaniv, “because we are only reaching a small percentage of the teenagers that are in need of our guidance.”
The CHAZAQ staff is now preparing for its 2nd annual dinner scheduled for Monday evening September 15th at the Leonards’ of Great Neck, honoring various influential figures in the Jewish world including Rabbi Benzion Shafier of the Shmuz and Knesset Member Rabbi Nissim Ze’ev, amongst others. CHAZAQ is an organization that relies on the communities support and this year’s dinner is vital in helping them continue their tremendous work in the community. “Together we can make a big difference and build a stronger future!” Yaniv says with enthusiasm.
By: Rachel Eliyahu