By a Crown Heights Girl
For many teens, summer in Crown Heights can be lonely and boring. The new Aliya Girls center on Empire Boulevard, however, is bustling with activity. The Girls Loft is a long-awaited venue where young Lubavitchers can connect and relax while surrounded by positivity and guidance.
Upon entering the spacious, sunlit room, I was greeted by a group of teens chatting over pizza, french fries, and iced tea. Bits and pieces of a potpourri art project were scattered across the table.
“Now that school is out, and most of our usual crowd is away at summer programs, we use the space as a counselor’s’ lounge. Each night we have dinner and an evening program for young women working in the area.”
Chaviva New, the director of Aliya Girls, explains. “The Aliya loft becomes a social scene for girls staying in Crown Heights for the summer, left without their usual group of friends.”
As I walked around the room, I was amazed at the diversity of the crowd. There were girls from as far away as Bnei Brak, Argentina, and France, chatting together with girls from Bnos Menachem and Bais Rivkah. It was evident that strong friendships had formed between the regulars—and these were girls who met just a few weeks earlier.
Rochel, an 11th grader who is working in a CGI near Crown Heights, tells me about the programs she’s attended at Aliya Loft. “I like that there’s always something going on. So far, we’ve had a handwriting analysis session with Yaakov Rosenthal, trips to the city, karaoke nights, crafts, and learning, just to name a few. My personal favorite was the photoshoot we had, featuring clothing from Top Fashion. It’s great to have something to look forward to.”
“We are here for everyone. Some girls come to socialize, some girls come to join our events, and some come for help.” says Chaviva. “The Loft is a space where girls can relax after a long day, learn a little, and feel like they’re a part of a community. We are very proud of this space and very grateful to Mr. Yossi Popack for all his help.”
I’ve been involved with Aliya Girls in the past, and I’ve met great girls from all ends of the spectrum. Aliya hosts all sorts of events and the crowd they attract is diverse. There’s something there for everyone..
For example, some girls join the Shabbos meals, others join the Parsha classes, a few for the game nights, while others just attend the yearly Lag Ba’omer bash—and each girl, no matter if she’s dressed in a uniform skirt or pants, is welcomed with the same warmth and acceptance and challenged in a constructive way.
Now that Aliya Girls has its own space they can solidify the Aliya family and have a greater impact on people. The Loft will be an open center for girls complete with a kitchen, furniture, art supplies, computers and a professionally trained staff. They are planning a wide range of programs for the upcoming year.
Aliya Girls aims to build a community for the young women of Crown Heights, a venue where people can connect and be supported, no matter their background, religiosity, or family history. This organization will address a major need in our community—and you can be part of it.
Aliya Girls is raising $25,000 for the Girls Loft and needs for your help! Please help out at www.gofundme.com/aliyagirls
* Stay Tuned for the Grand Opening of the Girls Loft
**Aliya Girls would like to thank Bentzion Caterers, Crown Kosher Butcher, Sushi Spot, Table One Caterers, House of Glatt and Sauce N’ Cheese for their generosity in assisting the Counselor’s Lounge with dinners. And a big thank you to R’ Moshe Rubashkin for opening his home to Aliya Girls.