Their Work? To ‘Spark the Spark’ of Jewish Pride on the Upper East Side

Tonya Westervelt came across the YouTube videos unintentionally. They were Tanya lessons — from the central text written by the founder of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi — given by Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski, co-director of Chabad of the Upper East Side. And they helped start her on the road to recovery from addiction.

Six months later, his talks motivated her to move to Manhattan to take part in the actual classes. Westervelt has been in recovery for a year and three months now. “It was like the sea split,” she said. “Everything moved out of my way.”

At an evening awards banquet on March 10, she joined hundreds of others whose lives have been touched by Krasnianski and his wife Chani over the two decades they’ve established themselves in New York’s well-heeled Upper East Side.


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