Community Conversation about Benefit Programs set for next week in Lakewood

Four Lakewood organizations have banded together to host a series of “Community Conversations” next week. The four local organizations are The Lakewood Vaad, Agudath Israel of New Jersey, the Lakewood Resource and Referral Center (LRRC), and the Lakewood Community Services Corporation (LCSC), and they each have deep roots in Ocean County.

The topic of this Community Conversation will be learning about rules and regulations of benefit programs. The first public event will take place Wednesday, July 19th, at 8:00 pm at the Fountain Ballroom (Lakewood Cheder), 725 Vassar Avenue.

The topics covered during the evening’s panel will be in response to concerns raised by local families in need, who want to better understand the rules and limits of benefit programs that help families with healthcare, housing or food relief. With each benefit program having its own set of rules, the event will help ensure that no one, even inadvertently, makes a mistake when applying or recertifying for assistance.

The first presenter will be Mark Harris, Esq. Mr. Harris is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and is now a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, which has over 700 attorneys nationwide. Mr. Harris is  a member of the firm’s Securities Litigation and White Collar Defense & Investigations Group, and this is likely the first time someone of his caliber will address the community on this topic.

The second presenter will be Chaim H. Leshkowitz, Esq., who is both a CPA and tax attorney. Mr. Leshkowitz is the founder of Leshkowitz and Company LLP, in Manhattan, which has 55 tax and accounting professionals on staff. Mr. Leshkowitz has family in Lakewood and is familiar with the financial situations of young Lakewood families.

The final presenter will be Mr. Isaac Birnhack, a longtime Lakewood resident, who is a senior professional counselor at the Lakewood Resource and Referral Center. Mr. Birnhack is likely the number one expert with years of experience in compliance matters as they relate to benefits.

The panel will speak about how frequently a family must update their income, the impact of seasonal income, unexpected profit and losses, allowable business expenses, family gifts, modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) calculations and other important questions.

This event is one of several initiatives that The Lakewood Vaad has undertaken to spread awareness and provide guidance to Lakewood residents who are committed to full compliance with the law. In addition to this Community Conversation there will be other such events geared to specific audiences. A parallel effort being run by the LRRC has enhanced its capabilities to answer questions from local families in need.

“As a community, our highest value has always been integrity and honesty” said Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg of The Lakewood Vaad. “We are committed to assist Lakewood’s financially struggling families in receiving the assistance they need and deserve in a way that ensures that they remain true to our core values.”

Rabbi Avi Schnall, Director of Agudath Israel’s New Jersey Office expressed his gratitude to the esteemed presenters for their commitment to help the community. “We are hopeful that this event will be enlightening and will offer clarity.”

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  1. PLEASE make this important seminar available via video conference. It is important for everyone around the USA not just for local (Lakewood)residents. TY

  2. Some family on programs or that need to join programs such as loss of their job are embarrass to show up in person. Please make available via cd and live hook up.

  3. Everyone should go just to hear Isaac Birnhack. The guy is amazing, extremely knowledgeable and a major mentch. Yitz keep up your amazing work. You are a major asset to the community.

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