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entries tagged with: Yehuda Kohn


Ben Porat Yosef to buy former Frisch building

The Frisch School has entered an agreement to sell its old building at 243 E. Frisch Court in Paramus to Ben Porat Yosef.

Ben Porat Yosef announced last week an agreement to buy the old Frisch building in Paramus, which has housed the elementary day school for two years.

The details of the sale, from The Frisch School, have been worked out, according to BPY’s vice president, Yehuda Kohn, but the closing is still a way off. But as of Aug. 1, Kohn said, BPY would assume full responsibility for the 70,000-square-foot building at 243 E. Frisch Court.

“There are no words to describe how this worked out for us,” Kohn said. “Having everybody under one roof in this particular facility — which fits us magnificently and is in a tremendous location for our constituencies — is a dream.” The school had previously planned to split its older and younger grades between its original campus at Cong. Sons of Israel in Leonia and a proposed second campus at the Jewish Center of Teaneck.

The building is in generally good condition, Kohn said. However, the yeshiva would like to “modernize” it. Immediate building improvements include a new roof and an evaluation of electrical systems.

Though BPY and Frisch have publicly announced the transfer of ownership, the schools are in only the first stages of negotiating the terms of the sale, according to Martin Heistein, president of Frisch’s board. He would not comment on the amount under discussion, but real estate listings revealed a $14 million asking price for the building.

Proceeds from the sale will go toward paying down the debt on Frisch’s current campus, also in Paramus, Heistein said. He did not comment on what the amount of debt is.

“We’re very pleased that the sale of the building will be mutually beneficial to both institutions,” Heistein said. “The former Frisch building has wonderful memories and we are thrilled that the building will remain a Jewish school for our community for years to come.”

BPY isn’t the only school in the building, however. Bat Torah–The Alisa M. Flatow Yeshiva has been Frisch’s primary tenant in the building since 2008, and BPY has been subletting from that school. According to Kohn and Bat Torah’s principal, Miriam Bak, the two are likely to continue a relationship that will keep Bat Torah in the building.

“Now that we’ve finalized our agreements with Frisch, we’re trying to finalize with Bat Torah,” Kohn said.

BPY intends to continue leasing to the all-girls high school, he added. “As long as they can still fit, we’d like to have them for as long as possible,” Kohn said.

Class size may eventually become an issue. BPY expects an enrollment of at least 215 students during the 2010-11 school year, approximately 40 percent growth from the 2009-10 year. It has entered what Kohn called “a vigorous growth phase,” and that growth is expected to continue.

The schools have divided the building well so far, said Bak, with Bat Torah operating on the ground floor and BPY using the top two floors. The schools share the auditorium, cafeteria, labs, and gym.

Students from Bat Torah have babysat for BPY children during evening programs and earned chesed hours by tutoring the younger children. Students from BPY, in turn, have been invited to attend school plays at Bat Torah.

“We wanted to make this work,” Bak said. “We’ve made it into a very pleasant relationship.”

She noted that her school has received interest from “one or two places available and anxious to have us” but for now the school is “happy where we are.”

“We intend to remain in the building as long as they accommodate our needs,” Bak said.

Though Frisch had leased the building to Bat Torah and BPY for the past two years, it continued to list the property for sale. The school had not set out to sell its former building to another Jewish institution, according to Heistein, but he appeared pleased that it would continue to function as a Jewish school.

“The Frisch School desired to sell the building for the highest price,” he said. “It was merely fortuitous that it is going to another Jewish institution.”


Teaneck teens benefit Bet Elazraki Children’s Home

Events net thousands for Israeli children’s home

Clockwise from left are Pulse 5 members Yonatan Potash, Matan Mann, Joseph Horowitz, Ezra Koppel, and Jared Auslander. Lyn Ofrane Photography

A boy band from Teaneck staged a concert on June 14 that raised more than $20,000 toward guitars, drums, percussion instruments, recording devices, and a sound system for the music therapy program at Emunah’s Bet Elazraki Children’s Home in Netanya, Israel, which houses 220 newborns to 17-year-olds from abusive backgrounds.

The bar-mitzvah-age musicians comprising Pulse 5 — Jared Auslander, Joseph Horowitz, Ezra Koppel, Matan Mann, and Yonatan Potash — worked with their private music teacher, Ben Hyman, for months before the event at Englewood’s Space Odyssey, and the boys’ parents solicited individual and local corporate sponsorships.

Five days later, on Father’s Day, Teaneck 12-year-old Eitan Sklar raised precisely $2,171.18 for Bet Elazraki through a yard sale.

The band members are all neighbors. Yonatan, Jared, and Ezra attend Yavneh Academy of Paramus, Joseph is a student at The Moriah School in Englewood, and Matan goes to Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford.

“There are a lot of details to the story, since five boys are in the band and five families are behind them,” said Channa Potash, Yonatan’s mother. “Months of band practices, mom meetings, organizing, fundraising, etc., went into its success.”

The Space Odyssey’s owners, Elvira and Jim Grau, provided the venue and support staff at a steep discount and have offered to repeat the event next year. Bet Elazraki director Yehuda Kohn will pay tribute to Pulse 5 by dedicating the facility’s summer program to music.

Music teacher Hyman, 29, said that it was Joe Horowitz who suggested organizing a concert for charity as a bar mitzvah project. The idea quickly snowballed.

“The boys wanted [the beneficiary] to have something to do with children and music,” said Joe’s mother, Debbie Horowitz. Her inquiries to Emunah revealed a need for $10,000 for Bet Elazraki’s music therapy facilities. “It was a known entity that we felt would garner wide support, and Emunah set up an online link and gave us brochures.”

Photography, publicity, printing, and snacks were provided gratis by area businesses.

“The songs they chose were not typical ones that you hear 13-year-olds play,” said Hyman. The 11-song set list included numbers by Green Day, the Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dropkick Murphey, AC/DC, Deep Purple, The Police, Oasis, and Michael Jackson — plus one classic Israeli tune, “Od Yavo Shalom” (“Peace Will Come”).

“We had a feeling that it might sell out, and that feeling turned out to be true as the night before the concert, we officially sold the room to capacity,” said Hyman. About 400 tickets were sold.

Matan’s mother, Aliza Mann, opened the show by introducing Emunah President Mindy Stein.

Jared Auslander is the first of the group to see Bet Elazraki in person, during his bar mitzvah trip to Israel this month. He said Pulse 5 is planning a graduation concert next year. Performing in front of a crowd doesn’t faze him anymore. “When you’re on the stage, you have to relax. Once the first song is done, you’re fine.”

Yard sale nets $2,000+

Additional funds are on their way to Bet Elazraki courtesy of a yard sale sponsored by Yeshiva of North Jersey student Eitan Sklar, 12. It all started with his Emunah charity box, explained his mother, Sariva Sklar.

“Rather than allowance, he gets merit money for good grades. He got $20 for getting a 100 on a difficult test and he rolled it up and put it in. We said he didn’t have to put in the whole amount, and he said, ‘I don’t need it, and they really do,’ even though he didn’t know a lot about Emunah.”

She asked Ronnie Faber, a local Emunah field representative, for a video so Eitan could learn more.

“I wanted to start my bar mitzvah year with a special project,” Eitan said. “My mom showed me an Emunah video of three adults, who were children at Bet Elazraki. They did not come from good homes, but when they came to Bet Elazraki to live, their lives changed for the better. Many of them are adults and have happy families of their own now.”

Eitan then asked what else he could do to help.

“Eitan really loves stuff, and we tried to orient that toward the positive, encouraging him to get rid of some of his stuff, and other people’s stuff, and give the revenues to Bet Elazraki,” said Sklar. Through the Teaneckshuls Yahoo group, they asked for donations of toys, books, handbags, and housewares. Then they placed newspaper ads for a week before the sale.

“We figured if he made $350 it would be great, but he wanted to raise $1,000,” said Sklar, noting that most shoppers at the sale were not Jewish. Because of the enthusiasm of the sales crew, she said, which also included the Sklars’ friend Linda Karasick and Eitan’s siblings and cousin, the total climbed to $2,171.18.

Eitan, who credited the success to his mother, said he modeled his pricing technique on the TV show “Pawn Stars.”

“If the person who gave [the item] to us had bought it for $10, I would say to the buyer, ‘Well, he bought it for $10, so how about you buy it for $5?’ And we’d settle on $3. I wasn’t going to fight over the price.”

Emunah President Stein came to the yard sale along with Executive Director Carol Sufian. “Eitan ... accomplished what few adults could accomplish, and his desire to help those in need is an inspiration to all of us,” said Sufian.

Eitan hopes to visit Bet Elazraki next June in celebration of his bar mitzvah.

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