[Video below.] Brooklyn, NY – Hundreds of communal figures, joined by elected officials and organizational leaders gathered at the Lipschitz Halls this past Sunday October 28th to celebrate the newly revamped Boro Park Jewish Community Council (BPJCC) under the leadership of the reconstituted board along with new Executive Director Rabbi Yeruchim Silber.
In recent years the Boro Park community has witnessed a major transformation from the first generation of post holocaust survivors to a vibrant Chassidic community with large families, many burdened with large tuition bills and other daily expenses that often need governmental and other forms of assistance. To meet those needs, the Boro Park JCC has emerged as a “one stop shop” for all the social service needs of the Greater Boro Park community serving over 7000 clients a year by providing access to government benefits, career counseling, crisis assistance, immigration , holocaust survivor services and much more.
And indeed virtually all the speakers at the tribute breakfast alluded to the vibrancy of the Boro Park community and the important role the JCC plays. Councilman David Greenfield, who represents the area, may have summed it up best when he emphatically declared “The Boro Park JCC is back. City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn who presented the City Legislative Leadership Award to City Council Finance Committee Chair Domenic M. Recchia, enthusiastically praised the JCC, stating to the delight of the audience, “The work that the JCC does is a mitzvah after a mitzvah” And on a more serious note, the Speaker closed her remarks with a sobering thought emphasizing that “If there aren’t groups like the JCC of Boro Park, people will go unserved.”
Other speakers and presenters also spoke to the vital need of the services provided by JCC. As Congressman Jerrold Nadler noted during his presentation to Health Plus Amerigroup, “A resourceful and vital JCC is going to be even more necessary as we see sustained attacks on the very role of government in providing help for people.”
Other awardees at the event included Maimonides Medical Center which was recognized as the premier source of health care in our community with a most colorful presentation by the indomitable Mr. Brooklyn, Borough President Marty Markowitz; Investors Bank who were celebrating their first anniversary of their Boro Park Branch which was presented to them by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli; Fred Kreizman Assistant Commissioner of the Mayors Community Affairs Unit received his award from Hatzoloh CEO, and long-time Met Council consultant, Rabbi David Cohen; and Peter Rebenwurzel who has served for nearly two decades as Chair of the Zoning and Variance Committee on Community Board 12, in addition to the many other causes he is involved in received the Community Service award from Dominick Stanzione, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Maimonides Medical Center, of which Mr. Rebenwurzel is a prominent member of the Board.
Perhaps the most poignant moment of the breakfast was the award presentation by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio to Mr. and Mrs. Avrohom (Alfred) Schonberger who received the Distinguished Citizen of Boro Park Award. After pointing out that a recent New York Times article on the growth of the Jewish Community also mentioned the extraordinary economic need in the community, the Public Advocate stated that the Boro Park JCC is addressing those needs, as well as individuals like Alfred Schonberger of whom de Blasio noted “defines generosity”. In accepting his award, Mr. Schonberger spoke about his upbringing in Budapest, surviving the holocaust, and how after surviving he and his wife decided to dedicate their lives to helping the poor and disadvantaged.
The breakfast concluded with special presentation to all the new members of the Board who have done a remarkable job, together with previous board holdovers Isaac Stern and Yitzchok Fleischer in revitalizing the JCC.
Met Council CEO William Rapfogel, who did incredible work, along with the Met Council staff, of keeping the JCC afloat during difficult times served as Program Chairman. The breakfast was sponsored by Maimonides Medical Center, Investors Bank, Center Light Health Care, MJHS, Signature Bank, Astoria Federal Bank, Health Plus Amerigroup, and KRM Kollel Supermarket. The Boro Park JCC is a proud affiliate of Met Council and UJA-Federation of New York.
CLICK BELOW FOR VIDEO: