On Sunday, over 400 community members came together to pay tribute to the JCCRP and the devoted elected officials in our community. The Jewish Community Council of Rockaway Peninsula held its annual legislative breakfast on Sunday morning at the White Shul, and it was a roaring success. From high-ranking elected officials to local community members and even grateful clients who benefit from the organization’s services day in and day out, people from all walks of life came to express their appreciation and gratitude for the all-encompassing nature of the work done at the JCCRP.
The breakfast opened up with the emcee of the event, Mordecai Zvi Dicker, JCCRP board president, introducing Rabbi Eytan Feiner of the White Shul to deliver the opening remarks. In his usual fashion, Rabbi Feiner captured the audience’s attention with divrei Torah about hakaras ha’tov, the great importance of expressing gratitude. He not only highlighted the JCCRP’s crucial services, but also the significance of thanking the elected officials who advocate for the community on a regular basis.
Moshe Brandsdorfer, executive director of the JCCRP, presented the Community Chessed Partnership Award to Karen Friedman, former chair of the Caring Commission at the UJA Federation of NY. Moshe expressed, “The Beis HaMikdash was designed by Shlomo HaMelech to shine forth its light to the world; so, too, the UJA’s mission is to illuminate, impact, and enhance the world for millions of people.” Karen graciously accepted the award and spoke about her work with the UJA Federation and its aligned partnership with the JCCRP. Also in attendance was Alex Roth-Kahn, the managing director of the UJA Caring Commission.
David Greenfield, CEO at Met Council, presented the Distinguished Congressional Service Award to Congresswoman Grace Meng. David highlighted his deep admiration for the congresswoman and how his staff is always able to confidently guide constituents to the JCCRP for assistance. Congresswoman Meng accepted the award and spoke about her love for the State of Israel and the importance of fighting the BDS movement.
Stacey Pheffer-Amato, assemblywoman on the Rockaways, presented the Distinguished Community Service Award to her colleague Assemblywoman Melissa Miller for her selfless dedication in ensuring the needs of the Long Island community are always met. More frequently referred to as Missy, the assemblywoman proudly spoke about the work that is done at the JCCRP and her crucial work in the district and Albany.
NYS Senator Joe Addabbo presented the Distinguished Public Service Award to the Rockaways’ other local NYS senator, James Sanders. During the presentation, Senator Addabbo called up Richard Altabe, board member at the JCCRP, to speak about Senator Sanders. Richard spoke passionately about the fight in Albany over imposed education regulations on private schools. He profusely thanked the senator for advocating for the thousands of children in the community who attend yeshivot and private schools. Upon receiving the award, the senator discussed the great work of the organization and his firsthand knowledge of it due to his 30-plus years of representing the Rockaways.
The morning continued with speeches from Congressman Gregory Meeks, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Chaim Deutsch, and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. These speakers highlighted the beautiful community that we live in, the fight against antisemitism, their admiration for the JCCRP’s work, and the battle to protect the State of Israel at all costs.
NYC Councilman Donovan Richards presented the City Legislative Leadership Award to Councilman Barry Grodenchik. Councilman Richards lauded Grodenchik for his advocacy at the NYC Council to increase funding for food pantries. Councilman Grodenchik accepted the award and discussed the great work of the organization and his firsthand knowledge of it from the time of his working for Met Council in the Rockaways dating back to 1982.
And last but certainly not least, the director of social services at the JCCRP, Elisheva Trachtenberg, LMSW, was honored with the Distinguished Staff Member Award presented by former colleague and current board member Devorah Pelman. In her acceptance speech, Trachtenberg stated, “It is a privilege to be honored but I could never do this without the support of my wonderful family and coworkers.”
JCCRP Executive Director Moshe Brandsdorfer remarked, “The legislative breakfast was an amazing display of unity, pride, and achievement. The recognition given to the JCCRP’s services and accomplishments by our elected officials on a local, city, and state level was outstanding. We are so thankful to our honorees, elected officials, and community members for their ongoing support. We are an open door to anyone in the community in need of services or any assistance.”
The Legislative Breakfast is one of the few occasions during the year in which the local Jewish community has the opportunity to come together and demonstrate our strength as a community to the elected officials, city and state agencies, and other community partners. This was an opportunity for the entire community to thank individuals who have rendered services to the Jewish community. The JCCRP is thankful to those members of our community whose attendance and participation was the best advertisement for our community and a source of encouragement for the many individuals and institutions that work together with the JCCRP to make our community an even better place to live. To find out more about the JCCRP services or to sign up as a volunteer, please email email@example.com or visit JCCRP.org.