The gathering, coming on the heels of the recent government shutdown and further uncertainty in continuing government funding for organizations such as JCC, was encouraged by the message conveyed by the elected officials present. Councilman David Greenfield, who along with Councilman Brad Lander, received the City Legislative leadership Award presented by Maimonides Medical Center CEO Pam Brier, expressed strong support for a continued vibrant JCC. There are those that are called lights and sirens organizations proclaimed Councilman Greenfield. The JCC may not be flashy but they are a vital cog, helping thousands of individuals each year. And indeed the Boro Park JCC has emerged as a “one stop shop” for all the social service needs of the Greater Boro Park community providing over 20,000 client services yearly with access to government benefits, career counseling, crisis assistance, immigration , holocaust survivor services and much more. Many of the other elected officials conveyed a similar message pledging to continue supporting vital social service organization such as Boro Park JCC.
A special focus at the Breakfast was on the federal Head Start program. Ann Linehan, the Deputy Director of the office of Head Start at the US Department of Health and Human Services, received the Community Appreciation Award on behalf of the entire Boro Park community, for her tremendous support of local Head Start programs. In presenting the award, Mendy Handler, CEO of Project Social Care a prominent local Head Start program, praised Ms. Linehan as having touched the lives of all of us, including teachers, parents, and most of all students, especially those with special needs. He cited an example of a 3rd grade student who is succeeding due to her foundation she received at Head Start. In a moving response Ms. Linehan said that while we have national standards, Head Start honors the culture and uniqueness of every community.
Ms. Linehan further added that she has seen the Head Start programs in this community and that they “are terrific, embracing not just the child, but the whole family.” In addition to the award bestowed upon Ms. Linehan the Educational leadership Award was presented to Project Social Care Head Start and Special Education Associates, under the leadership of Mr. Handler and Joseph Streicher, by City Councilman Mark Weprin.
The highlight of the program was the riveting keynote speech delivered by New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. In a poignant address, Commissioner Kelly hearkened back to the dark days after 9/11 when the city was gripped by fear of another terrorist attack. The fact that we have not been attacked since is no accident said the Commissioner, but rather due to the vigilant efforts of the NYPD, especially the counterterrorism unit. The commissioner also contrasted, to tremendous applause, the present day situation with 1990 when there were 2,245 murders in the city, while this year New York City is on pace for just 330 murders, which would be another record low. Finally Commissioner Kelly highlighted the importance of police and community cooperation. That type of cooperation is embodied by people like Rabbi Berish Freilich to whom the commissioner presented with the ‘Distinguished Service to Boro Park” award, commemorating his 40 years of leadership and service to the Boro park community. Commissioner Kelly was introduced by the new CEO of Met Council, David Frankel.
The program commenced with Congressman Jerry Nadler receiving the National Leadership Award in recognition of his overall commitment to the Boro Park community, which was presented by Assemblyman Jim Brennan. BPJCC Executive Director Rabbi Yeruchim Silber highlighted the community’s appreciation and informed the assembled that the long awaited senior transportation vehicles that Congressman Nadler secured funding for will soon be arriving to serve the community–news that was received with applause.
Other awardees at the event included New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli who received the New York State Leadership award from Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, JCC Executive Director,and Rabbi Aron Wajsfeld was the recipient of the Rabbinic Leadership Award presented by Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Additional speakers at the event included Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, candidate for Mayor Joe Lhota, Manhattan Boro President and democratic nominee for Comptroller nominee Scott Stringer, Councilmember Tish James who is the Democratic candidate for Public Advocate, and Democratic candidate for District Attorney, Kenneth Thompson.
Menachem Lubinsky, CEO of Lubicom and long time board member of Met Council served as breakfast MC. The breakfast was sponsored by Maimonides Medical Center, Investors Bank, Center Light Health Care, Signature Bank, Astoria Federal Bank, Boro Park Center, and Apple Bank. The Boro Park JCC is a proud affiliate of Met Council and UJA-Federation of New York