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Chabad Center of Passaic County

  Phone: 973-694-4970

Email:  Jackie Gross

Email: Ellyn Komito-Casey


June 14, 2017

The Adventure


“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure.  There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” Jawaharla Nehru

As we take our summer break from Friendship Circle 2016/2017, our hope is that we played a special part in your adventure this year and you will allow us to continue to be a part of many more of your adventures.   Please feel free to reach out to us with suggestions for programs you would like to see for the 2017/2018 year.  Our lines of communication are always open.  While you are relaxing poolside or on the beach, or in your backyard, please feel free to drop us a line or maybe even a picture of you and your family enjoying some time together. 

On June 5th, we culminated the year with a wonderful evening of appreciation and awards.  It was a packed house of dedicated volunteers, families, speakers, sponsors, and friends.  It was a beautiful garden of friendship for sure!  We still have many certificates to hand out to those volunteers that were unable to attend the evening.  We will hold them for pick up in the lower level of The Chabad for a few weeks.  Please be sure to pick up your very well deserved certificate. 

Moving forward…..while many parents struggle with the often 7-10 day gap between the end of summer programs and commencement of the new school year – parents of children with special needs find this period especially challenging. The Friendship Circle is busy planning an End of Summer Camp so that children and teens with special needs can have their break transformed into an exciting camp experience, filled with activities, sports, and FUN!  Our phenomenal volunteers, along with our registered nurse, will be focused on encouraging the children’s participation and enjoyment under the guidance of our highly qualified staff members.  Join us August 28th – August 31st; 9:30am – 1:30pm at The Chabad Center of Passaic County; 194 Ratzer Road.  The cost per day is $20.00 and lunch will be served.  

Enjoy quality family time.  Be safe and be well.


Your Friendship Circle Team,

Jackie, Chani, and Ellyn 



12th Annual Volunteer Evening of Recognition

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Outstanding Senior Awards 

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Past Presidents Liz Hecht and Arnella Margolin with incoming Presidents Dovid Schwartz, Brooke Taback, and Emily Friedman.  Missing from picture, Kiki Arochas 

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2016/2017 Dedicated Friendship Circle volunteers with Rabbi Gurkov and Chani Gurkov

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Your Friendship Circle Team

Ellyn Komito-Casey, Chani Gurkov, Jackie Gross 

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  Upcoming event to put on your calendar

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May 1, 2017

The Journey  

I read a quote once and it has really stuck with me; “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it”.  This rings so true for me this year.  Having started working with The Chabad Center and The Friendship Circle this past August, I was thrilled to begin a new journey that I wasn’t sure where the destination would be.  I can honestly tell you that while we finish up this year and that being my "destination", I am 100% filled with joy! Thrilled with joy of planning many fun and successful events such as the Sports Series, the Swim Event, A Matzah Workshop, Karate, and Yoga.  In addition, we honored amazing women from the community at The Queen's Tea for their hard work and dedication to The Chabad Center and Friendship Circle.  Along this journey I have met amazing families that I  hope we may continue to provide support, companionship and mentoring for your children. 

As we wind down the year, we are busy planning our Volunteer Evening of Recognition to be held on June 5th.  We will be honoring our dedicated volunteers who brighten the lives of children with special needs through love and friendship. We will be honoring six Outstanding Seniors who with their longevity exemplify what it takes to be a Friends at Home Volunteer.  We have six volunteers to be awarded the New Volunteer On The Block award.  This award is for our first year volunteers who have gone above and beyond for their special friends.   In addition, we have our Special Award Of The Evening honoring our Mitzvah Madness Girls for their hard work and dedication holding a fundraiser to raise $1,500 for The Friendship Circle!  Our special speaker for the evening is Joseph (JB) Bensmihen, MSW, RG.  JB lives with cerebral palsy and was instrumental in changing laws for individuals with disabilities in Canada as a young boy.  He is currently an advocate for competitive employment for individuals with disabilities and was a candidate for the US House of Representatives from Florida.   

Look for your formal invitation to arrive in the mail shortly!  Please remember to RSVP to this event so we can save you a seat.  This is a semi-formal event. Salads, appetizers and an elegant dessert buffet will be served.

We will be holding a summer camp the last week of August.  If you or anyone you know are interested in attending or volunteering at the camp, please let us know.  

Your Friendship Circle Team,

Jackie, Chani and Ellyn 

Smiling Faces at The Queen's Tea


Mrs. Bella Mendel

Friend of the Friendship Circle of Passaic County 


Mrs. Staci Heske/Miss Jessica Heske

Young Leadership Award 


Mrs. Jennifer Metz-Langbaum

Friend of the Chabad Center of Passaic County 


Upcoming events to put on your calendar

May 21st YOGA 10:30am, lower level at The Chabad Center, Wayne

May 21st Music with Tony 2:00-3:30pm at Bais Yosef, Passaic

June 5th  Volunteer Appreciation Evening of Awards 7:00pm at The Chabad Center, Wayne 




March 13, 2017

Busy, Busy, Busy 


As I write this newsletter for March 2017, I am in awe of all the events which were planned for our Friendship Circle friends and families.  Even the Moms got a night out!

We finished our very popular Sport Series, we had our first of many Swim and Snacks Event at Spa 23, we started a self-defense and exercise series with Special Dragons, a Mad Science Pre-Purim Pizza party was planned and we provided some much needed "MOM" time at Art and Creations Pottery Studio. 

In the months ahead we can look forward to another Special Dragons self-defense and exercise class on March 19th, our first ever YOGA morning with Shirley Veale on March 26th along with a Model Matzah Bakery later that same day. 

A very special event presented by The Jewish Women’s Circle, The Queen’s Tea, will be held on Sunday, April 2, 2017.  This is a wonderful afternoon held at The Packanack Lake Clubhouse overlooking the beautiful Packanack Lake.  This year's  Royal Women are:  Mrs. Bella Mendel, Friend of The Friendship Circle of Passaic County;  Mrs. Staci Heske and  Miss Jessica Heske, Young Leadership Award; and  Mrs. Jennifer Metz-Langbaum, Friend of the Chabad Center of Passaic County.  The featured speaker is author, Judith Alter-Kallman.  She will be sharing her story of Holocaust survival as told in her book “A Candle in the Heart”.  You can pre-purchase her book at The Chabad for $20 and Judith will be available for signings at The Queen’s Tea. This event directly benefits The Friendship Circle. 

I am thrilled to introduce to you our Mitzvah Madness Girls.  A few of our volunteers were playing in the All Star game recently at The Wayne PAL when they held a Mitzvah Madness sale earning more than $1,100 which they donated to The Friendship Circle of Passaic County! Emily Bolson is a 12 year old at George Washington Middle School who has an autistic cousin and loves volunteering at The Friendship Circle.  Sydney Levitt (12) and Skylar Levitt (11) are at Schuyler-Colfax Middle School and learned about The Friendship Circle through their brother Zack who participates in The Friends at Home program.  When we asked Sydney Levitt what she likes about The Friendship Circle she said, "As much as it makes the kids feel good, it makes us feel happy when the kids are happy". Together with their friends Olivia Black (13) and Bella Black (11) they made bath bombs, vintage custom tees, held raffles, sold candies and baked goods during the game. The money raised will go toward providing many quality programs for your kids.  

We are so proud to have such fine volunteers in our program.  Words cannot express our gratitude. 

Please continue to check our Facebook page for more information on upcoming events.  I hope you feel connected with our Facebook posts and newsletters.  If you ever have a question or concern, please don't ever hesitate to reach out to one of the coordinators.  

"Be mindful. Be grateful. Be positive. Be true. Be kind."  Roy T. Bennett

Your Friendship Circle Team,

Jackie, Ellyn and Chani 


 The Mitzvah Girls donating the money they raised for The Friendship Circle to Rabbi Gurkov 


March 19th  Special Dragons Exercise 4:00-5:00pm at The Chabad

March 26th  YOGA 10:30am at The Chabad 

March 26th  Model Matzah Bakery  2:30-4:00pm at Bais Yosef in Passaic

April 2nd  Queen's Tea 12:00 noon at The Packanack Lake Clubhouse

May <TBD> Therapy Dog Visit at The Chabad

June 5th Volunteer Appreciation Night 7:30pm at The Chabad


The Friendship Circle of Passaic County
194 Ratzer Road
Wayne, NJ 07470-5441