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                        Young Israel Logo black copyNational Council of Young Israel Benevolent Association
       111 John Street, Suite 450, New York, NY 10038

       Phone: 212-929-1525        Fax: 212-727-9526


                                        1-888-YI-BENEV (888-942-3638)



Haskell Yadlovker,
President 1971-2009 (retired)

Rabbi Binyamin Hammer,
Managing Director

Philip Halbfinger,

Abe Kestenbaum ob"m,
Financial Secretary     


Abe Feld
Sheldon Meiner
Gabriel Plaut
Robert Spitz
Harry Weiser       

* * *

Download Information Sheet     

Please Click Here to Download the most recent Benevolent Membership Update Letter    

Please Click Here to Download a Grave Reservation Form


If you need help calculating the yahrtzeit date of a loved one, this link may provide you with a helpful resource

March 15, 2010 / 29 Adar 5770

 Dear National Council of Young Israel Benevolent Association member, Shalom Aleichem. This correspondence is an important update from the NCYI Benevolent Association. Please give a copy of this letter to a loved one for safe keeping. In May 2009, Mr. Haskell Yadlovker, president of the Young Israel Benevolent Association for more than 40 years, announced his retirement. Mr. Abe Kestenbaum, the long-time financial secretary, has announced his intentions to retire as well. Mr. Philip Halbfinger, the vice-president, has formed a new board to continue the work of the Association. We appreciate and express our hakarat hatov to Mr. Yadlovker and Mr. Kestenbaum for their tireless service. They have agreed to be available for consulting purposes. Our goal is to continue their dedication to providing the highest level of leadership. 

Officers of the 2010 Board, NCYI Benevolent Association

Philip Halbfinger, Young Israel of Queens Valley

Gabriel Plaut, Young Israel of Hillcrest
Abe Kestenbaum ob"m, Young Israel of Bensonhurst  
Robert Spitz, Young Israel of Hillcrest
Abe Feld, Young Israel of Hillcrest
Harry Weiser, Young Israel of Staten Island   
Sheldon Meiner, Young Israel of Staten Island

Transfer of  Benevolent Files

With the approval of the officers, the files and membership accounts have now been transferred into the computer system that is overseen by the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI). Maps of the cemeteries and plot reservations are included. All financial accounts and bank transactions remain separate from the National Council of Young Israel. From now on, direct all day-time inquiries and questions about the Benevolent Association to NCYI at 212-929-1525 ext 100. (Please do not call Mr. Kestenbaum or Mr. Halbfinger.) 

Rabbinic Leadership
As Director of Rabbinic Services at NCYI, I will now also serve as Managing Director of the Benevolent Association.
The following rabbinic liaisons have offered to assist:           
Rabbi Richard Weiss, Young Israel of HillcrestRabbi Yaacov Lehrfeld, Young Israel of Staten Island Rabbi Elchonon Zohn, Chevra Kadisha of Queens.

You can be assured that the services you have come to expect will continue under the new leadership.We especially want to thank Rabbi Peretz Steinberg, Mara D’Atra Young Israel of Queens Valley, for his past and continued leadership.   

What the NCYI Benevolent Association Offers You

The Benevolent Association offers the following complimentary basic funeral services to its members:

Funeral arrangements 
Hand-sewn linen shroud
Use of our chapel 
Plain pine coffin Dignified local transfer of remains to the chapel Hearse
Gravesite in a Benevolent Association cemetery

There will be no charges for these services,
provided you use the funeral homes we are associated with.  

All third-party costs are the family’s obligation. They include: grave openings, rabbi, tahara, shmirah, death certificates, gratuities, and limousine.  (Note: the family’s adherence to all halachic requirements determined by Orthodox Jewish law, including tahara and shmirah, is a condition of membership.) There could also be additional mileage charges for deaths that occur outside the five boroughs and for cemeteries outside the New York City area.  

In Your Time of Need

Your first phone call should be 1-888-YI-BENEV (1-888-942-3638) to be connected to an officer of the Benevolent Association.

Over the past 40 years, the Benevolent Association has developed an exclusive relationship and understanding with the following two funeral establishments. When you call them, tell them you are a member of the Young Israel Benevolent Association:

  1. Norman L. Jeffers (at Shomrei Hadas Chapels) Brooklyn, 718-853-4000, cell 917-226-5518
  2. Parkside Memorial Chapel in Queens 718-896-9000

If a family chooses a funeral home other than the two affiliated with the Benevolent Association, they will not be entitled to benefits from the Association. The Association will, however, consider reimbursing a limited financial outlay to a member in good standing if we receive a valid death certificate.

 Members in Good StandingThe NCYI Benevolent Association provides its services to members in good standing, which means that your membership dues must be current to both the Benevolent Association and to your Young Israel branch synagogue.  If you do not meet these two requirements, you will not be entitled to Benevolent Association benefits.   1.  If you aren’t sure if your membership is current, call NCYI offices, 212-929-1525 x100 to find out.    2. It is your responsibility to be a current member of your Young Israel branch synagogue.   3. If you are a member of the Benevolent Association and have re-married, your current spouse would       not be a Benevolent Association member, unless they had their own membership.   4. If your address has changed, or you are no longer a member of your former Young Israel branch         please contact NCYI immediately.  5. If you are a child or guardian in charge of the affairs of a member, tell us how to get in touch with       you for timely information. We next intend to contact your Young Israel branch rabbi to acquaint him with the NCYI Benevolent Association, its benefits, and who from his synagogue is a member. During your time of need, let him know that you are a member of the Benevolent Association to avoid any misunderstandings.    Cost of Membership in the NCYI Benevolent Association Your 2010 membership dues will be billed in May at $50 a year for all member families, whether their status is single or married. For many years, we have avoided raising the dues. But escalating costs are the reason for this $25 increase. Reserved GravesAs part of the Benevolent Association’s program, we offer gravesites in several cemeteries throughout the New York-New Jersey area. From now on, the one-time fee is $200 to reserve a grave which will give you the right to reserve that particular plot (it does not mean ownership). Bear in mind that your reservation is non-transferable and non-refundable. The only one who can be buried there is the person listed on the reservation document. If you decide not to use the grave, it will revert to non-reserved status, and the $200 fee will be forfeited.  Unreserved GravesWhen a wife or husband or child passes away, and that member did not reserve a grave, the Benevolent Association will allow the surviving family to choose a Benevolent cemetery for burial, but not the gravesite. In that case, the officers of the Benevolent Association will study the map to locate the next available grave in which to bury the deceased. The Association’s policy is to not go out of order when selecting a plot for a person that has no reserved gravesite. The exception would be when it is the policy of the Benevolent Association to have a formal separation of men and women. At this stage, if the family decides to reserve a specific gravesite for the deceased, the fee will be $200. If a living spouse or family member wishes to be buried next to their loved one, they will have to reserve that plot with the Association at an additional cost of $200. To make the arrangements, contact the NCYI office.Family MembershipsThe Benevolent Association offers family memberships, defined as husband, wife, and their children age 20 and under. Once children reach the age past 20, they are not considered part of the “family membership” and will not be entitled to the benefits of the Association. To reach us for general information or about membership, call our NCYI offices from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at 212-929-1525 x100.  (Please do not call Mr. Kestenbaum, or Mr. Halbfinger). 24-Hour HotlineIf you need to reach us in an emergency, dial 1-888-YI BENEV (1-888-942-3638) to be connected to an officer of the Benevolent Association. He will do his best to help you during your difficult time. 


Rabbi Binyamin Hammer
Director, Rabbinic Services, NCYI

Managing Director, Benevolent Association