Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz Donates Van to Disabled Family That Lost Contest


herzfeldThe Herzfeld family of Teaneck, New Jersey, whose four children are all afflicted by a chronic, degenerative muscular disease, did not win a contest for a free handicapped accessible minivan that they entered, but they won thanks to the generosity of a special baal tzedakah.

Earlier in the year, Mrs. Esther Herzfeld shared her family’s story in an annual contest run by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. That contest was first reported on in the frum media by  Mrs. Herzfeld asked the public to vote for her family in the hopes of winning the much-needed vehicle.

After the Herzfeld’s did not win, Los Angeles philanthropist and baal chessed Reb Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, who was touched by their saga, graciously sponsored a van for the family.

Over the past decade, all four of the Herzfeld children have been diagnosed with an unknown muscular condition, with one child completely unable to walk, two with extremely limited mobility, and another who walks with difficulty.

With over 90,000 votes, the Herzfelds garnered the highest number in the aforementioned contest, but they were not chosen by judges to win one of the NMEDA vans.

Rechnitz overnighted a check for the full purchase price of the van.

Donations to the Herzfeld family may be made out to Bergen County’s United Way with the words “Herzfeld Family Fund” written in the memo line or on the face of the check. Checks can be mailed to Bergen United Way, 6 Forest Avenue, Paramus, New Jersey 07652 or to Congregation Beth Aaron, 950 Queen Anne Road, Teaneck, New Jersey 07666.

{Dov Newscenter}


  1. We have filters… PLEASE matzav. Can you make this view-able for the many people that have filters and cannot access You Tube??

  2. I have no words for a great person like Mr. Rechnitz. He is like Eliyahu Hanavie in our days that helps out in time of need. I would like to introduce him to a person I am collecting money for. She is a single never married girl in her 50’s. Had years ago a brain tumor. Lives in Manhatan ,she is constantly having treatments and different surgeries. She needs money to cover help to go along with her to hospitals and to help her in the house with cleaning. She cant even cook for herself. She has a 94 year old mother living in Israel who is sick herself. Basically she has no one. Hope he gets to hear about her. I do not want to post her name on public sights.

  3. I don’t get it. If they garnered the largest number of votes, how could they not have won a van? Something sounds very fishy to me. Doesn’t highest vote count = winner?

  4. Nothing fishy to me. I don’t know how the contest worked but it may have been set up to narrow it down to a few finalists, or maybe the votes were so close a board judged. If you know their story – and the stories of others in the contest, including others from acheinu who should have a refuah shleima – you wouldn’t dream of there being anything untoward.

  5. basiccly the top %10 stands before a judge who decides who needs it the most.for full coverage on the contest and the campaigning including the father being interviewed many times,refer to kol mevaser at 212-444-1100