By Richard Altabe
JCCRP Chairman of the Board
Baruch Hashem, our Far Rockaway community is a thriving hub of yeshivas and shuls with the streets on Shabbos filled with people young and old. Approximately 5,000 children attend our community’s amazing schools and our many shuls and minyanim are filled with young families. Our peaceful existence in this outermost corner of New York City is made possible through the dedicated work of elected officials, members of city agencies, and community askanim. This Sunday, October 26, you have the opportunity to thank these dedicated individuals by attending the annual JCCRP legislative breakfast.
This year, the JCCRP is honoring six worthy individuals who tirelessly work on our behalf.
Police Sergeant Keith Gallagher. Sergeant Gallagher of our local 101st Precinct lost his home during Hurricane Sandy. That same year his wife had a baby and his mother passed away. Yet Sergeant Gallagher was there for us. Working closely with both the RCSP patrol and the JCC, he responded to our needs even when he was off duty. He is committed to maintaining the safety and security of our community.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. Melinda Katz is a passionate supporter of the JCC and its food pantry. Since becoming borough president last year, she has made it her legislative priority to insure that our pantry continues to grow in its capacity to serve all those in need. In addition, she has been a strong advocate for our JCC and the Queens JCC and is passionate about the importance of the role JCCs play in the Jewish community.
Legislator Howard J. Kopel. Though Howard Kopel is a Nassau County elected official, we are thankful that he has made the completion of the 50-year 878 project his legislative priority. 878/Rockaway Turnpike is the only link we have to reach the rest of Long Island and NYC by car, and it is woefully over-utilized. We appreciate his ability to work with Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder to become our bipartisan dream team to fight for improving the traffic on our roadways.
Rabbi Mordechai Kruger. Rabbi Kruger is well known for his efforts in raising funds to support families in our community who are in need. The Bayswater neighbors fund has come to the aid of many, helping make ends meet during these past few trying years of financial decline and post-hurricane. Not satisfied with distributing funds, he created Pathways to Parnassa, an organization dedicated to helping people in our community find work. In the past year that he has volunteered weekly to run this program out of the JCC offices, he has assisted over 200 individuals.
Pathways to Parnassa teaches every client the most important survival skill of our times: how to find and keep a job. Regardless of one’s age or background, whether entering the workforce for the first time, finding a new opportunity or a new career, there are specific skills that make the difference between success and despair. Our community, in which so many are aware of the pain that comes from being unemployed, or underemployed, now has a resource that enables each client to identify the right job, to take the right steps to get hired, to develop professionally, and to make a change when the time is right. And it is available to all regardless of their ability to pay.
David Lobl. David Lobl is the Jewish liaison to Governor Andrew Cuomo. He has made sure that our governor is aware of the issues we care about, whether it was coordinating the governor’s recent trip to Israel during Operation Protective Edge or making sure our local agencies received grant monies after Hurricane Sandy to help rebuild and provide support to homeowners trying to recover their losses. David was named one of City and State’s rising 40 under 40 in 2012 and is making a Kiddush Hashem each day as our community’s man in the governor’s office. Honoring David is our way of honoring our governor who has done so much to aid our community’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
Congressman Gregory Meeks. Congressman Meeks has been a strong advocate for Israel throughout his tenure in Congress. This past summer, he stood up for Israel and its right to defend itself from Hamas terror. While others criticized Israel for its military response to Hamas, Congressman Meeks traveled to Israel in the middle of the war so that the world could see through his eyes the horrific terror tunnels Hamas built. Our Congressman has always been a strong supporter of our community and our JCC.
The JCCRP honorees are there for us all year, working to better our community. Attendance this Sunday morning for a couple of hours at Congregation Kneseth Israel, beginning at 9:30 a.m., is a small way for us to show our hakaras ha’tov for those who are osek b’tzorchei tzibbur. It is also a way to show support for the great work that the employees at the JCCRP do each day, under the expert direction of executive director Nathan Krasnovsky, to help serve the social service needs of our community.
The JCCRP is a proud member network agency of the UJA-Federation of NY and is also proud to be an affiliate of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. To RSVP for the breakfast or for more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.jccrp.org/breakfast, or call 718-327-7755, ext. 6113.