On October 27, as the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approached, the Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula held a Legislative Breakfast in The White Shul Ballroom, catered by Sharmel Caterers, for over 550 attendees. The breakfast was set to begin at 9:30 a.m. The beautiful virtual journal was projected near the entrance, allowing all to see the appreciation and support of community members, for all of the honorees, Heroes of Hurricane Sandy, and the JCCRP. JCCRP’s executive director, Nathan Krasnovsky, emceed the event. Nathan initially joined forces with the JCCRP when the Met Council sent him over to assist with Hurricane Sandy relief. Once the JCCRP took note of the remarkable dedication and capability that Mr. Krasnovsky brought to the table, they immediately brought him on board as executive director to rejuvenate the efforts and impact of the JCCRP.
Rabbi Eytan Feiner, Rabbi of Congregation Kneseth Israel (The White Shul), shared beautiful words of Torah with the crowd. He then segued into presenting Mr. Yanky Brach with the Community Builder Award.
Scott Stringer (Manhattan Borough President) and State Senator James Sanders Jr. awarded City Councilman Donovan Richards with the City Legislative Leadership Award. Councilman Richards helped bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to the JCCRP in Red Cross funding to assist hurricane victims in our community.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder was presented with the State Legislative Leadership Award by the Democratic nominee for Queens Borough President, Melinda Katz. Assemblyman Goldfeder worked hard during the storm and during its aftermath, proudly representing his constituents to city and state agencies.
Assemblyman Goldfeder presented Pesach Osina with the Public Service Award. Congressman Gregory Meeks also presented him with a personal Congressional Award. Mr. Osina, an aide at the New York City Council, is an invaluable community member. Osina served as a liaison to LIPA for our community during the storm.
Roberta Leiner, Senior Vice President, Agency Relations of the UJA-Federation of New York, accepted the Hakaras HaTov Award from the Chairman of the Board of the JCCRP, Richard Altabe, on behalf of the UJA. The UJA provided tuition relief, support to yeshiva educators, funds to several local shuls for repairs, and funding to the Met Council to process over 350 cash grants to homeowners in need. Overall, UJA awarded our community with well over a million dollars in funding.
Richard Altabe also presented the next award to Peter Brest, COO of Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council). Met Council did numerous acts of kindness for our community, including $100,000 in emergency food assistance, Metro Pair to rebuild homes, and securing a team of security professionals to patrol the neighborhood during the first Shabbos of the blackout. David Frankel, CEO of Met Council, spoke briefly about the JCCRP’s good work.
Nathan Krasnovsky jokingly asked Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney to have his team of able-bodied police officers guard the exits to ensure that everyone enjoyed the presentation. Breakfast attendees felt extremely moved while watching the film. One participant expressed, “I never realized how much work the JCCRP does for the community; I never realized how much help so many people in the community need.” The video portrayed the irreplaceable work the JCCRP does for those in any kind of need in the community and that the JCCRP acts as a one-stop-shop for community resources.
Jonathan Dembitzer, vice president of the board of the JCCRP and police liaison, presented Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney with the Humanitarian Award. Dembitzer expressed the community’s gratitude toward the Deputy Inspector and his team.
State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. was the first to present awards to the Heroes of Hurricane Sandy: Sh’or Yoshuv, which turned into a safe haven for families in need, providing three hot meals a day, drop-off laundry service, and free supplies for those who were affected; Congregation Kneseth Israel (The White Shul), which fed hundreds of families, as well as providing temporary office space for Dr. Lightman and the JCCRP; and the Young Israel of Wavecrest and Bayswater, a light to our community, servicing anyone who came to them throughout the turbulent time of Sandy.
Nathan Krasnovsky presented the next award to Project Nivneh. Project Nivneh was spearheaded by community members to help rebuild homes that were damaged and destroyed by the storm. Project Ninveh was founded by Ettie Schoor. Mordechai Dicker, board president of the JCCRP, presented Achiezer and Rabbi Boruch Ber Bender with their award. Achiezer was instrumental in coordinating the Sh’or Yoshuv relief site as well as directing the flow of emergency relief communication to the entire community. Mr. Dicker gave Hatzalah the next award, thanking them for their unending dedication and dependability. Lastly, Dicker awarded Rockaway Citizens Safety Patrol. The unrelenting RCSP, working in tandem with our outstanding local police officers, ensured our safety during the storm’s aftermath.
Finally Hillel Adelman, board member of the JCCRP, presented awards to COJO of Flatbush, Ohel, Red Cross, and the Sanitation Department. COJO of Flatbush was honored for the amazing assistance they provided to our community in the immediate aftermath of the storm and for months thereafter. Ohel has been an invaluable resource to our community for years and their team of highly trained mental-health professionals have been instrumental in providing assistance from the second the storm hit. Josh Lockwood of the Red Cross accepted the award, remarking about the incredible work of the JCCRP. Saving the best for last, Mr. Adelman awarded the Sanitation Department with a well-deserved award. The award recipient, Deputy Chief Moss, gave a heartfelt acknowledgment. He mentioned the tireless work his team put into cleaning up our city throughout the night, ensuring that we would get back on our feet as soon as possible. He thanked everyone at the event who expressed their gratitude to him, mentioning that it was a kindness he was surprised to receive and that it could go a very long way to appreciate and thank your local sanitation workers for all the hard work they gave to us in the aftermath of the storm.
Following the Legislative Breakfast, the JCCRP has received amazing feedback: City Councilman Richards said “it was the best JCCRP breakfast ever.” Dr. Eli Shapiro declared that the JCCRP is “back and better than ever.” Josh Lockwood, CEO of Red Cross said he was “humbled by the recognition of the JCCRP.” Assemblyman Goldfeder said it was “an amazing job and a very successful event.” Chaim Leibtag and Rav Feiner said it was a “big Kiddush Hashem.”
A tremendous hakaras hatov goes out to all of the JCCRP Legislative breakfast sponsors: 718 Insurance, Addabbo Family Health Center, Apple Bank, Atlaz Computers, Cross River Bank, Far Rockaway Kosher Pizza, Kosher World Supermarket, Lawrence Supply, Margert Community Corporation, PIP Printing and Marketing Service, Prism, Quality Healthcare, Russo’s Pharmacy, Simply Sushi Café, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, and The Jewish Home.
The JCCRP is a proud affiliate of Met Council and a beneficiary agency of UJA Federation of NY. The JCCRP provides a range of services for any clients who need assistance in social services or resource directing within the community. Please contact the JCCRP for further information. Located at 1525 Central Avenue (entrance on Foam Place), Far Rockaway, NY, 11691. Call the JCCRP at 718-327-7755 or learn more or watch the video presentation at www.jccrp.org. v