Chabad Honors Supporters at Mortgage Burning Party
By Carol Hutchison

Joy bubbled over at the Chabad House in champagne cups, beating hearts, and flowing chocolate as more than one hundred assembled on June 3rd to pay tribute to Tom and Darlynn Fellman, Milton and Marsha Kleinberg, and Phil and Terri Schrager. The occasion? One hundred twenty three thousand dollars of mortgage debt erased!

Late in October of 2008, Milton and Marsha Kleinberg invited a handful of people to their home and spearheaded this effort to erase Chabad’s mortgages.  “Especially in these difficult economic times we must ensure that valuable resources go directly where they are needed.  A mortgage dissolves these assets”, he reasoned. “We must get rid of them”.  Phil and Terri Schrager offered a hefty matchin fund and Tom and Darlynn Fellman jumped in with a generous donation!

A heartfelt presentation was made to the Schragers by Jill Sideris, whose father, Jerry Rosen, initiated the Chabad House building campaign in 1998.  She “felt honored to thank Phil and Terri for completing the project Dad started”.  Jill expressed the sentiment that Chabad is firstly a “House” where everyone is always embraced and helped. 

Phil explained his connection to Chabad. “Whenever there is something, Rabbi is always the first person you talk to.  You’ll see – if you have a problem… there’s a death in the family… I hit a speed bump this year and one of the first people who made contact with me was him. Distance doesn’t inhibit him from doing what he feels needs to be done; he goes wherever he’s needed. Religion is not necessarily a boundary for him, either.  He helps people in all walks of life… It’s a pleasure for Terri and me to be able to do whatever we can to help this wonderful place.”

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Gary Javitch, a Chabad devotee presented a gift to the Kleinbergs. He described some recent Chabad events which “call to my attention how very important Chabad is”.  Milton, who literally burned the mortgage papers shared warmly. “I’m not an observant Jew…Born a Jew, always a Jew and very happy to be part of this place”.
Denny Lewis partners with Chabad.  He claims “they make humanity a better humanity. They make the city a better city. Their being [in Omaha] has lifted our community, whether you know it or not.”  He presented a gift to the Fellmans.

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All donors will be recognized on a permanent display currently being designed.

This event concluded the first phase of the project.  The ultimate goal of this campaign initiated by Milton Kleinberg is to wipe out the remaining $73,000 of Chabad’s second mortgage to enable all of Chabad’s funds to be translated into direct assistance for our community.  For more information or to participate please contact Mr. Kleinberg at 397-3311 or Rabbi Katzman at 330-1800.
The varied gamut of attendees inspired Cori Oxman who commented,” This is really a tribute to the work of Chabad- dedication and commitment to strengthen our Omaha Jewish community.  Jews affiliated with all movements and affiliated with none attended. Our new mayor and several former mayors’ wives participated as well.”  

Rabbi Katzman’s message was universal:  The Rebbe taught, "Do more Mitzvos." Do whatever you can to spread the light. There are so many different ways that it could be done. Sometimes we tend to focus too much on the immediate but we need to look at the bigger picture.  In reality, you know what it means – that we have to broaden our horizons and be embracing of everyone and everything – all the good things, obviously.

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