A few weeks ago a new organization was founded by singer Don Stern with the help of the Tzadik, Shloimy Reichberg, who runs the incredible organization Mekimi.
The idea to create MitzvaTantzers came to Don at the following event:
Recently Don was at a wedding of a friend, where the Kallah’s sister couldn’t attend the wedding. The sister, you see was in a hospital, bedridden and hopelessly fighting cancer. They family had setup a video with a web cam system so that the sister could watch the entire wedding from the hospital. For some unforeseen reason, the visual part of the video wasn’t connecting. During the ENTIRE wedding the whole family both men and women were busy running in and out of the hall trying to reach a technician to fix the issues. They could NOT get the video to work.
The story actually stars further back. Let’s go back in this family’s life a few months.
Tuesday evening at the supper table, a young couple is eating supper at her mom’s house. During the conversations the daughter mentions to her father that lately she has terrible pain in her leg. It feels swollen and with every step she takes the pain gets worse. Her father responds by saying that she should probably go check it out at the doctor.
A few days later the father is busy at work when suddenly he gets a phone call from his daughter. She is crying hysterically on the phone, and nothing the father is saying seems to calm her. She finally breaks long enough to tell him that the doctor said she has Cancer (Lo Olainu).
Can you try to imagine how the father felt in that moment? Well, you can’t, and you shouldn’t ever have to understand it!
Every day that goes by after that, every call from the doctor, the same thought comes up again. “Should I pick it up?” “What am I going to hear now? Good news? Or ch”v bad news?”
As the months go by, and the wedding date of the Kallah approaches, they realize that their daughter won’t be able to attend the wedding. She will be undergoing surgery in a few days in a hospital in Boston. As happy as their joy is for the Simcha, their pain for the terrible disease and the thought of their daughter/sister not being able to share in that is more.
It’s a day before the wedding when the father calls up one of the amazing organizations and explains his heartbreaking situation. They calm his worries and explain that they will set up a video system so that she can feel like she’s at the wedding.
The day of the wedding arrives. As Kabulas Punim is about to start the father receives a phone call from Boston. The video cannot connect and we don’t know why. The organization gets technicians immediately on it but it doesn’t seem to be a clear problem.
At the Chupa, everyone from young to old is in tears at this special time to ask Hashem for a refuah shleima for their beloved sister/daughter. As the wedding progresses from the chupa to the first dance, the video system is STILL having technical difficulties. Can you imagine how the first dance will take place? The entire Kallah’s family is shattered at the event and the Chosson’s side feels bad for the Kallah’s side. Both families have been waiting for the last 20 years for this moment, and it didn’t turn out the way they imagined.
I was there at the wedding, I was dancing in the ring with the family, and after 5 years of singing for Mekimi at least twice a week, I felt like I have to do something, but what? How?, With whom? I need a group for that… I must begin an organization for such situations… (we should never need it).
I went out and called the incredible Shloimy Reichberg and explained the situation. I would like to send our Holy, wonderful volunteers to weddings of families with similar situations. Shloimy jumps on board immediately and offers help in any way he can. With Shloimy on my side anything is possible.
I started making phone calls to friends I knew via Mekimi and they all said “Sure, this is amazing, you got my number, call me when you need me…” Now, since I am a bit in the music line I have contact with all the Jewish singers, and with many musicians, who also told me if you need me – call me!
We had our first wedding a few weeks ago in Boro Park. The Chosson was from Israel and the Kallah’s mother was extremely sick (She nebech passed away a week later – right after Sheva Brochos). The Chupa was in hospital AT HER BED. Most of us can’t understand how that feels. After the chuppa in the hospital the couple arrived at the hall and were surprised to find 5 more musicians, 2 lead singers and 4 choir singers from the famous Mezamrim Choir together with Chilu Posen singing. When dancing started I came in to the hall with another 40 guys, we came in groups of 5 at a time, and another 10 Woman volunteers at the ladies side. We all changed hats to the colorful hats that I bought for the organization.
There’s one thing I can tell you. There’s no way I would be able to imagine what we’ll be capable of doing. We took a Chosson/ Kallah, an entire family, and we danced till the sky. The entire hall was shaking. It’s impossible to explain in words WHAT we do. We can only explain HOW we do it!
This is what our organization is all about.
With virtually minimum expenses, we were able to start this amazing organization. The only expenses MitzvaTantzers has is to transport volunteers to simchas, purchase colorful hats to be misameach with, LOGO designing, and to arrange for babysitting for the woman’s division which is being coordinated by Don Stern’s wonderful wife.
MitzvaTantzers has groups of the most amazing volunteers in Boro Park, Williamsburg, Flatbush, Monsey, New Square, Lakewood, Monroe, and more…
You can contact them by email: MitzvaTantzers@gmail.com
Call or text 718-791-7854
Below are some pictures of MitzvaTantzers in action