It’s been said that all it takes to bring together a Satmar Chassid and a YU graduate is a flat tire on a Friday afternoon. It has been proven that all it takes to bring a diverse community, like ours, together are acts of chesed.
Achiezer, the only one-stop resource organization serving the Five Towns/Far Rockaway and surrounding communities, is preparing for a unique display of achdus at its first ever Evening of Recognition Dinner, slated to take place on June 2 at The Sands Atlantic Beach.
The event will be different than any the community has ever seen—thanks to the unique nature of the organization behind it. Achiezer is an organization that provides every type of resource that any community member may need, by maximizing the strengths of all members of the community. Achiezer gives the Five Towns/Far Rockaway community a medium to reach across party lines, disregarding yarmulke styles and shul affiliations, to help friends, neighbors, and community members in need—whatever the need may be.
The dinner itself will include an impressive cross-section of community members from every corner. They are all coming out to pay tribute to an array of diverse individuals, who have given their all to the community, each in their own way.
The honorees include:
Mr. and Mrs. Alan Botwinick. Residents of Bayswater and a partner at Roth and Co. public accounting firm, Mr. Botwinick has served as Achiezer’s treasurer virtually since its inception. Under his careful and exacting guidance, Achiezer has earned commendations from donors and organizations across the country for what one admirer termed, “Achiezer’s pristine financial reputation.” Mr. Botwinick played a particularly critical role in overseeing Achiezer/CAF’s post-Sandy fundraising campaign, which distributed nearly $8 million with zero overhead.
Rabbi Yehiel M. Kalish. A fairly new resident of Far Rockaway, Rabbi Kalish is a familiar figure to many for his exemplary work in Agudath Israel of America. Immediately following Hurricane Sandy, Rabbi Kalish, unasked, parked himself in Rabbi Boruch Ber Bender’s Achiezer office to spearhead an international fundraising campaign. For six weeks, Rabbi Kalish did not return to work at the Agudah, devoting himself exclusively to rebuilding our community—a still-ongoing effort that has dramatically assisted over 900 families in our neighborhood.
Dr. Norman Saffra. A resident of Lawrence, Dr. Saffra serves as chief of ophthalmic surgery in Maimonides Medical Center, and is currently one of the most sought-after eye surgeons in the country. Dr. Saffra has made himself available to the community in an unbelievable way, never refusing to treat a patient in need, regardless of time of day or ability to pay.
Mr. and Mrs. Reuven (Ronald) Spirn, Esq. A Cedarhurst resident and esteemed eldercare attorney, Mr. Spirn works hand in hand with Achiezer in guiding community members through knotty legal issues and seemingly impossible bureaucracy. A featured lecturer at Achiezer’s well-attended eldercare conference, Mr. Spirn makes himself available for legal counsel on a regular basis—and considers it a privilege to do so.
Mr. and Mrs. Moshe Ratner. A resident of Woodmere, Mr. Ratner is the CFO of the companies responsible for owning and managing Gourmet Glatt. Mr. Ratner has been a vital partner in Achiezer’s food voucher and budgeting initiatives, through which tens of thousands of dollars in food vouchers are distributed and families are helped to create a viable financial plan for the future.
Mr. Phil Goldfeder. A Far Rockaway resident, Mr. Goldfeder is better known as Assemblyman for the 23rd district of the New York State Assembly, a district that includes Far Rockaway and Bayswater. Even prior to his election to office, Mr. Goldfeder distinguished himself in consistently going above and beyond the call of duty to assist the community in any way possible. As an elected official, he continues that incredible record of selflessness in an even greater capacity.
The dinner chairmen include Mr. Ben Lowinger, Mr. Moti Hellman, Rabbi Zvi Bloom, Mr. Azriel Ganz, Mr. David Sokol, and Mr. Jay Gelman, as well as honorary chairman Rabbi Hershel Billet (rabbi, Young Israel of Woodmere) and Mr. Michael Krengel. Journal chairmen are Mr. Meir Krengel and Mr. Alon Goldberger. Put together, the chairmen themselves represent a broad cross-section of the community—and that is just a representation of the evening to come.
Achiezer invites everyone in the community to come out and join this unforgettable evening, which will also provide an enormous amount of information about Achiezer and the numerous ways that each individual can get involved.
Ask anyone; our neighborhoods are special. We work together, we face hardship together, we triumph together, and on June 2 we will join together. v