Young Slate Commits to Funding a Grant Office for the Community

Among the eight candidates running for the Va’ad Hakohol is a united group of young men campaigning for change. Their first task? Raising private funds to establish a dedicated grantseeking and writing office.

As election day for the Va’ad of Crown Heights nears, one group of candidates stands out from the rest.

Among the eight candidates running for the position of directors of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council and Va’ad HaKahal is a united group–a slate–of young men campaigning for change.

The slate is composed of five candidates: Zalman Friedman, Dovid Leib Halon, Berel Hildeshaim, Meir New, and Shmuel Rosenstein.

All five candidates are actively involved in Crown Heights community life. As employees or employers, shulgoers, and parents, they feel deeply connected to–and invested in–the success of the community.

“We’re here not just to improve our own quality of life. We’re here because we want to improve it for our friends, families, and the greater community,” shares Dovid Leib Halon. “We’re here to deliver results.”

Five Candidates, One Goal

Whereas candidates typically run alone, this group is united in a common goal: To ease the burden on our community members in whatever ways we can by leveraging the resources available to the CHJCC in our capacity as members of the Va’ad.

Their first task? Raising private funds to establish a dedicated grant seeking and writing office.

“A grant office will allow us to pursue funding that will benefit the CHJCC and thereby the community,” says Meir New. This office will be responsible for finding new opportunities, identifying avenues for expanding existing budgets, and applying to any available grants that could be of service to the community.

“This will allow us to fund important projects that can improve our schools, provide better health services, and support local businesses. We’ll be actively seeking out resources that benefit everyone in Crown Heights,” New explains.

It’s not just the funding that matters, the candidates add; its about making that funding easily accessible, too.

“The community council is an important resource that can help a lot of people,” notes Berel Hildeshaim. “We want people to know what it offers, and to make it a place that everyone in the community feels comfortable walking into, knowing they will be assisted to the best of our ability.”

Meet The Slate Members

Zalman Friedman

Age: 37

Shul: Anshei Lubavitch

Occupation: Director, It’s Good To Know

Zalman Friedman is the director of “It’s Good To Know,” Rabbi Manis Friedman’s brand and online presence, and has successfully built up an international following of over one million people.

He also helped found and serves as a Board Member and children’s program director at Anshei Lubavitch, a young shul in East Crown Heights with a membership of approximately 150 families, and played a key role in the shul’s recent purchase of their new building on Albany Avenue.

Why do you want to serve on the Va’ad HaKahal/JCC Board of Directors?

I want to give back to the community that I love. We want to minimize the shortcomings of Crown Heights. There are tremendous organizations doing a tremendous amount of fantastic work, but sometimes it feels as if everyone is in their own lane. If we can come together as a community with proper leadership then that can unleash a tremendous amount of power that can benefit everyone.

What do you consider to be the biggest problems facing our community?

Affordability and cohesiveness. We are here together but alone, and that has to change. Many of us are overwhelmed by the challenges of life, financially and family and with the support of the community it can make life more enjoyable.

What would you do to solve them?

Collaborate with the amazing people working toward these goals and support them in this work. Work diligently consistently, and honestly with an open communication system where information is shared to the community. A lot of God will come from this.

Dovid Leib Halon, LCSW, MS. ED.

Age: 33

Shul: Anshei Lubavitch

Occupation: Counseling Provider

Dovid Leib Halon is the founder and manager at Learning Learners, a special education agency that provides hundreds of children in Crown Heights with crucial therapy and tutoring services.

A licensed psychotherapist, Dovid Leib holds a degree in social work and has many years of experience working with and helping children, young adults, and parents in the community.

Why do you want to serve on the Va’ad HaKahal/JCC Board of Directors?

There is a very motivated group of young people coming together to offer the best support possible for the Lubavitch community in Crown Heights. It’s time for the next generation to step up and shape the kind of community they live in, and that’s something I want to be a part of.

What do you consider to be the biggest problems facing our community?

1) Housing Prices: It’s very hard for most people to buy houses.

2) Intergenerational Communication: As the community’s leadership and population age, there are concerns about passing on traditions, values, and leadership roles to the next generation.

3) Governmental Liaisons: Lack of proper representation of our community’s needs to local officials and governments.

What would you do to solve them?

1) Design a home purchasing program for young families who commit to living in Crown Heights.

2) Design and encourage the use of pathways of communication between the older and younger generations.

3) Gather accurate information from all members of the Crown Heights Jewish community regarding our needs, and present them to local officials and governments. The young generation who are raising their families here are dealing with issues the older one did not. It’s time for us to focus all possible resources on tackling them.

Berel Hildeshaim

Age: 31

Shul: Tzeirei Anash

Occupation: E-commerce Business Owner

Berel Hildeshaim is a businessman and entrepreneur born-and-bred in Crown Heights. Today, he runs successful e-commerce and software businesses that employ many local yungerleit.

Berel has extensive experience in streamlining processes through the use of technology. He intends to bring his knowledge in building business systems to the CHJCC to ensure efficiency in securing and distributing funding for all eligible community members.

Why do you want to serve on the Va’ad HaKahal/JCC Board of Directors?

To advocate for the needs of the community.

What do you consider to be the biggest problems facing our community?

  1. Affordability
  2. Physical safety
  3. Mental health

What would you do to solve them?

Affordability: Streamline whatever government funding or grants that are currently available, as well as find and secure new sources of funding, making them accessible to every eligible member of the community.

Physical safety: Advocate for the safety of the community by communicating with elected officials and obtain any relevant grants that enable us to improve community safety.

Mental health: Streamline grants as well as bring awareness to services that are already available to community members.

CHJCC Services: Bring greater awareness to the services that are currently offered by the CHJCC, and make the process of obtaining them quick, easy, and comfortable.

Meir New

Age: 37

Shul: Beis Gimpel

Occupation: Rabbi, Program Coordinator, and Office Administrator

In 2011, Meir New founded Aliyah Girls, an organization to support teenage girls. In his roles as president and founder of the organization, Meir has helped hundreds of teenagers–both those in crisis as well as those simply seeking a sense of self and community.

Meir also serves as administrator and program manager at Neshamos, Inc., where he has spent the last 7 years working to change the paradigms around mental health in the frum community.

Why do you want to serve on the Va’ad Hakahal/JCC Board of Directors?

As a lifelong resident of Crown Heights, I’ve grown intimately familiar with our community’s needs and challenges. My involvement with Aliyah Girls over the past decade and my work at Neshamos have given me an even deeper look at the issues our community faces and a very thorough understanding of our needs. I hope to bring these insights to my service with the CHJCC.

It would be a privilege to serve on the Va’ad HaKahal, standing alongside these inspiring individuals.

What do you consider to be the biggest problems facing our community?

1. Costs of living

2. Loneliness

3. Disillusionment of the youth

Other issues I care about are: Torah Relevancy, Support for Women, Support for Youth, Marriage Support, Parental Support, Abuse Prevention and Education.

What would you do to solve those problems?

1. Obtain Grants: Establish a grant seeking/writing office to identify and pursue any and every grant available to the community.

2. Buying Groups: Create buying groups which can negotiate lower rates on basic living items.

3. Support Programs: Create support programs in shuls that encourage a stronger sense of community and shared responsibility for each other. Train people in basic mental health first aid.

4. Women’s Programs: Support existing programs and shiurim for women, and initiate new ones.

5. Youth Centers: Open up robust youth centers for boys and girls.

Shmuel Rosenstein, MS. ED.

Age: 36

Shul: Anshei Lubavitch

Occupation: Clinical Supervisor of Special Education Services for Yeled V’Yalda at Oholei Torah

Shmuel Rosenstein co-supervises a department with over 20 special education providers that serves 100+ children. He has worked in education for over ten years as a Title I teacher, P3 provider, and as a SEIT. Shmuel also serves as the gabbai of Anshei Lubavitch.

Shmuel earned a BA in Psychology and an MS in Education/Special Ed from Touro University.

Why do you want to serve on the Va’ad HaKahal?

My ultimate goal is to bring kavod to the Rebbe and Lubavitch.

As the community grows and branches into smaller communities, class shuls, etc., it has become more difficult to find an overarching sense of community. I want to bring back this sense of community and help everyone feel like they are part of the Rebbe’s schunah.

One vital aspect of this is ensuring that the families who make up this community are not left behind.

What do you consider to be the biggest problems facing our community?

(1) Housing Crisis and Costs of Living: There is an inadequate amount of existing apartments and homes, and much of what is being built is not geared toward our community. This is all on top of high tuition rates and the extremely high price of food.

(2) Youth: Our youth and teenagers are struggling to find their place in our community. Many of our pre-teens and teenagers are struggling with real issues such as loneliness, depression, and addiction.

(3) Safety: Although it has gotten better over the years, we’ve recently backslided and we must ensure that every person feels safe walking down the streets of Crown Heights.

(4) Cleanliness: I would love to see our streets nice and clean without garbage all over.

What would you do to solve them?

(1) Housing: To make sure we are using all tools at our disposal to get government-subsidized and affordable housing. We also need to work with local askanim and businesses to ensure that there are adequate rentals available, and that new, family-friendly developments can get off the ground.

(2) Youth Programs: We must obtain funding to create healthy outlets where young people can express themselves. We should also have a mentor/mentee program set up to help our youth.

(3) Government Liaisons: We must cultivate and strengthen our relationship with the NYPD and local politicians in order to provide protection to our streets. We must also hold them accountable when things go south.

(4) Garbage Collection: We have alternate side parking 4 or 5 days a week in Crown Heights and there is still garbage all over the place. We must think of other solutions, such as putting garbage cans on every street corner and having people doing community service or being paid by the city to clean up the garbage.

Elections for the Va’ad HaKahal/ CHJCC will take place June 2, 2024 at a location which will be announced closer to election day.

Each voter will be able to vote for a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 7 candidates. Candidates will be elected for a 3-year term.

Voters must reside within the following boundaries: Washington Ave to Rockaway Ave, and Snyder Ave to Atlantic Ave., and will be required to present State ID such as a passport, Driver’s License, etc. If the State ID does not have their current address listed, then they would need to provide proof of address like a utility bill.

Your Voice Matters – Vote for a Better Crown Heights

On June 2, 2024, cast your vote for the slate of young leaders dedicated to making real change in our community. By electing Zalman Friedman, Dovid Leib Halon, Berel Hildeshaim, Meir New, and Shmuel Rosenstein to the Va’ad HaKahal/CHJCC, you are supporting a vision of a more connected, resourceful, and thriving Crown Heights.

Together, we can ease burdens, enhance community services, and secure a brighter future for all. Let’s make Crown Heights a place where everyone feels supported and empowered.

Join us then and vote for progress.

For more information or to connect with the slate, email us at [email protected] and follow our updates on X/twitter @campaign4ch.

Your participation is crucial – let’s shape our future together!

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  1. We need young motivated yungeleit to take on the Vaad Hakohol and boost the community.
    I wish them much hatzlacha!

  2. although i find that in general young people have a lot of energy, but very little experience…

    i nevertheless find this group to be quite attractive.

    mostly i am impressed by the individual named berel hildesheim, who seems to have his head on right…

    one of the things he brought up in the get to know the candidates was the famous – or not so famous quote of the rebbe, that regarding how to go about in aspects of the shchuna, one needs to take lesson from williamsburg…

    i think they are doing lots of good things in the way things are run in williamsburg, and would be wise to learn from them.

    i think he is interested in contributing to the wellbeing of the community, and would bez”h do well.

    there were also some other good young guys, who come accross as well grounded individuals, like Meir New, who seems to have the right mindset.

    i hope these young guys succeed, and i hope they bring blessings to the community.

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