It’s the end of the fiscal year and every non profit is reaching out to capture end of year tax deductions and further its activities. One Chabad center in Manhattan is pitching it somewhat differently.
Chabad at Beekman Sutton, in the East Midtown area, counts former Mets player and 1986 World Champ Lenny Dysktra among its students. Dysktra ( known as “Nails” to his fans) has had a troubled few decades since his success on the field, and has recently been exploring Judaism with Chabad at Beekman Sutton in an effort to add meaning to his life.
His star power among New Yorkers of a certain age, says Rabbi Shmuel Metzger who teaches the Talmud Class he attends each week, is inspiring many members of the community to come study Torah- and hang out with the baseball champ at the same time.
A recent article in the New York Post portrayed the relationship between Dysktra and Rabbi Metzger – often colorful, fascinating, and mutually enriching.
Now Lenny Dykstra is serving as campaign ambassador for Chabad at Beekman-Sutton’s end of year campaign, helping the organization raise 80k in 30 hours to support its educational activities.
Donors are entered into a drawing to win dinner for two + Lenny Dykstra at Kosher steakhouse Le Marais, and ALL donations of $500+ receive a personally signed baseball from the baseball legend. Dysktra is even picking up the phone at Chabad’s East 53rd Street location, reaching out to friends to support the campaign and make it a home run for Chabad at Beekman-Sutton.
A residential enclave on the East River, Sutton Place is home to an established community of New Yorkers, many of who have achieved spectacular and often world-renowned success in their respective fields. Residents include well-known authors, academics, Wall Street and real estate titans and many others. Inviting them to take a closer look at traditional Judaism and the wisdom of Torah study requires personal relationships, compelling topics and mutual respect, all of which Shluchim Rabbi Shmuel and Raizy Metzger have been cultivating over a decade in the area.
An independent affiliate of Chabad of Midtown Manhattan and Rabbi Yehoshua Metzger, Chabad at Beekman Sutton is well-situated in the heart of Sutton Place and operates a top-notch Jewish Montessori preschool as well as open Shabbos and Holiday services, five weekly classes given by the Rabbi and Rebbetzin in Tanya, Gemara, Parsha, Likutei Torah and Jewish philosophy, large community holiday events that are attended by the entire community, and constant, tireless personal outreach.
Peter S, a native of Sutton Place who returns home regularly to visit, shared the following reflections:
“It is well known that Chabad shluchim courageously leave their comfort zones in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights to spread Judaism and Chassidic thought throughout the world…Chabad houses can be found in faraway places such as Cambodia and China, or pioneering destinations in remote areas of Nebraska or Saskatoon. Yet, sometimes starting a Chabad house close to home in certain parts of Manhattan can be just as challenging and obstacle-laden. I remember my mother OBM telling me once that she had championed Rabbi and Rebbetzin Metzger at a SAC (Sutton Area Community Association) meeting she attended when she heard there was some early resistance to their opening up a new Chabad in Sutton Place. Many were suspicious, others trepidatious, and others downright hostile. None of this discouraged the Metzgers in any way and when they organized the first Menorah lighting at Sutton Place Park several years ago, under the watchful eye of 1 Sutton Place, a building which- at one point in the 1950’s- didn’t even let Jews buy apartments within, so many joyous Jews came out to eat latkes despite frigid temperatures. It was the first time, they said, in so many years that they could experience such a beautiful communal Jewish event in public in the neighborhood.
“Now, with such pride in our community, I see all the amazing things the Metzgers do on a daily basis to spread the warmth of Yiddishkeit throughout all corners of Beekman-Sutton. What they have built from scratch has been so beautiful: a pre-school, a shul with services and Kiddush on Saturdays and holidays, Torah and Tanya classes, Bagels, Lox and Tefilin on Sundays, and most importantly, a warm Shabbos table to go to on Friday nights. It moves me to see that the light that the Metzgers so daringly lit several Chanukahs ago is shining ever so brightly thanks to their incredibly contagious enthusiasm, warmth, energy and devotion to fellow Jews near and far. I have seen people radiate with spirituality after experiencing a Shabbos at Chabad of Beekman-Sutton, some for the first time in fact, or others who return after a long hiatus from observance. Judaism is alive and well on 53rd street but most importantly in the hearts of so many thanks to my friends the Metzgers who never cease to inspire me with their good cheer through thick and thin – regardless of what adversity there might be in the world around us at any given time.”
To join in Chabad’s 30 hour campaign and WIN, visit www.homerun4chabad.com