This April, Mahwah will get a formal introduction to the Hindu Samaj Temple, an ornately-decorated building on Route 202 that members say has been somewhat of a mystery to the rest of the community since it was built in 2008. The introduction will take the form of a dance spectacular that will raise money for the Mahwah Marine Moms.
Earlier this month, volunteers at the temple announced they formed the SAHARA Outreach Committee, which has the “sole purpose of serving the broader community by lending a helping hand.” Its first big event is a Spring Dance Spectacular April 1. Dancers from Mahwah and surrounding towns will perform Indian Classical, Spanish Flamenco, Italian Tarantella, American Tap, American Swing, Irish Step and other types of dance.
The event is free and open to the community. SAHARA is asking people to donate whatever they can to the Marine Moms in baskets that will line the performance space inside the Temple’s community center the day of the performance.
“Our first priority is to do good,” Shailja Rastogi, chair of the committee, said. “We want to open our doors and have everyone come to see this great event.”
The SAHARA group was formed after the dance spectacular, which was originally scheduled in January, was canceled because of inclement weather. The event was supposed to be a part of the Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Winterfest Celebration. Proceeds of this year’s Winterfest charity events went to the Marine Moms.
“We were so upset when the original event was canceled,” Priti Bhargava, a SAHARA volunteer, said. “We knew once we formed the group that we wanted the proceeds from this event to go to the Moms.”
Terry Wendrychowicz, the founder and president of the group, which sends care packages to American soldiers overseas, said she was “honored” to be the recipient of the event’s collection boxes. “I think this is an amazing way for our community to come together.”
The committee says the event is also a way to better weave the temple into the greater Mahwah community. The Temple serve about 2,000 families, but they come from an 8-10 mile radius, volunteers say. So, many who live much closer are unfamiliar with it.
So, after the dance spectacular, volunteers will give tours of the facility. “I can understand that people might be hesitant to just come here out of the blue, because it is a different culture. I am the same way with cultures I am unfamiliar with,” Rastogi said.“But I think this can be a great opportunity for the community to realize that it can come here to do something great and different, like this dance benefit.”
Get more information about the Spring Dance Spectacular here.