PURSUER of Truth and Justice

Past Articles:

David Heskiel Discusses Neighborhood Security Issues with NYPD Deputy Commissioner Bob Ganey

David Heskiel, NYPD Clergy Liaison and Special Liaison to New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, is continuing his longstanding commitment to keep our community safe. Last month Mr. Heskiel met with NYPD Deputy Commissioner BobGanley at police headquarters to discuss neighborhood needs and security issues at length. Commissioner Ganley has a longhistory of being responsive to
community concerns in his capacity at the NYPD. Mr. Heskielnoted that he remains available to area residents to help address police and security matters as they arise.

CHAZAQ’S 17th of Tammuz
Program Unites the Community

The three weeks between the seventeenth of Tammuz and Tisha b'Av are days where Jews worldwide observe a mourning period over the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. This solemn time in the Jewish calendar begins and ends with communal fasts.

Many of our great sages have warned that people should not allow the fasts to go by with simply not eating and drinking. Rather, one must spend time doing some introspection to see how he or she can improve their character traits, relationships, and connection to Hashem.

As such, for years CHAZAQ has been at the forefront of uniting all segments of the community for all day lectures on Tisha b'Av at the Beth Gavriel Center in Queens. This year, with the fast of 17 Tammuz falling on a Sunday, CHAZAQ organized an all-day lecture series at the Agudah of KGH (located in YCQ) attracting men and women of all ages and backgrounds throughout the day along with many more viewing LIVE on Torahanytime.

“The purpose of this event was to promote unity,” said Yaniv Meirov, operations manager of CHAZAQ. “Instead of wasting their time on this day of mourning, we had people of all backgrounds joining together to hear rabbonimfrom various communities speak about loving one another, preventing lashon hara, and bringing the Geula– truly, the greatest way to spend the fast.”

For more information about Chazaq's fabulous work please visit chazaq.org.

Hachnasat Kallah Fund

Baruch Hashem, we have many brides getting married in our community, and unfortunately, some are in the need of assistance. Please take this wonderful opportunity to be part of the important mitzvah of Hachnasat Kallah, and help newly married couples from the community with the basic necessities required for setting up a new home. This is a mitzvah that one enjoys dividends of in this world, and more so in the next world.
If you are interested in participating, please make out your
tax-deductible donation to Ohel Simha Synagogue (Rabbi Choueka of Park Avenue shul). Please write on the bottom of the check “For Brides – Tax ID# 22-234-3984.” The Hachnasat KallahFund also accepts credit cards. For further information, please contact Alice at 732-546-6417.

Met Council Hires Food Czar to Fight
for More Food for Jewish Poor

Met Council already runs the largest kosher food distribution in the world and spends nearly $10 million on free kosher food distribution each year. Now, as part of their ongoing effort to provide even more and better food to the over 180,000 people every year they serve, CEO David
G. Greenfield announced the creation of a new role – Food Czar – to fight for more food for the Jewish poor. “As the voice of Jewish poverty, it is our job to fight for the neediest New Yorkers. That’s why I decided to create a new position to be laser-focused on what the neediest New Yorkers need – more food.”

After an extensive search, Met Council announced that Jessica Chait, formerly Chief of Staff to UJA-Federation’s CEO Eric Goldstein, has joined Met Council as their Managing Director of Food. As Food Czar, Jessica will be a leading spokesperson for Jewish hunger and an advocate for more funding and resources for Met Council’s network of 35 kosher food pantries and Rosh Hashanah and Pesach food distributions throughout New York. This new position will also support Met Council’s exclusive American Expressfood card program, which distributes over $1 million a year in emergency foodcards that are coded to only work in supermarkets.

“I am deeply committed to improving access to quality, nutritious food for low-income New Yorkers and to work on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of low-income Jews across this city,” said Jessica Chait.

Bay Democrats Endorse Ross Barkan for State Senate

Bay Democrats and District Leaders Ari Kagan and Margarita Kagan endorsed Ross Barkan for State Senate last month, providing crucial backing as the campaign season heats up. Ari and Margarita,
co-leaders of the 45th Assembly District in Brooklyn and founders of Bay Democrats, are widely-respected community leaders, sought after for guidance and support by numerous elected officials across the city.

Bay Democrats serves important neighborhoods in the
22nd Senate District such as Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend,and Manhattan Beach. Formed four years ago, the club is already a force to be reckoned with throughout Southern Brooklyn and is expected to play a key role in fueling the Barkan campaign's victory.

“Ross Barkan is a dynamic, talented, hard-working person who cares deeply about our community and brings people together,” said District Leader Ari Kagan. “His innovative approach, determination to reform government, and ability to find creative ways to solve difficult problems are impressive. Ross Barkan represents a change, a breath of a fresh air, and I am very glad to endorse his candidacy for State Senate.”

Agudath Israel Welcomes U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Protecting Religious Health Facilities

In a victory for religious freedom, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that a California law is unconstitutional. The law required all health care facilities to prominently advertise that abortions are available to those who seek them, and present information on where to obtain them.

Agudath Israel of America had joined a number of other groups in submitting an amicus curiae(friend of the court) brief in the case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, arguing that the law violates the free speech rights of religious health care facilities. The Supreme Court has now validated this position.

The Supreme Court’s decision does, however, leave open the possibility that the law could be reworded in such a way as to be constitutional. Agudath Israel takes the position that religious entities opposed to abortion should not be forced to advertise where abortions are available and will monitor further developments in this area.

Councilman Kalman Yeger Unveils Latest Park Renovations at Kensington’s Digilio Playground

Last month New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger presented another beautifully renovated playground to our community at DiGilio Playground, located at McDonald Avenue and Avenue F, on the border of Borough Park and Kensington. The ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the park’s newly-completed renovations, which include the removal of a rarely-used hockey rink, restoration of the playground, and an added six-foot fence around the park’s perimeter for security. The $2.8 million renovation was made possible through funding in the city’s budget secured by former Councilman David Greenfield.

“Our parks are our community’s treasures,” said Councilman Yeger. “I’m proud to be part of opening my second rehabilitated park since I joined the Council, but none of this could have been possible without the incredible commitment of former Councilman David Greenfield. DiGilio is yet another success story.”

Councilman Yeger was joined by former Councilman David Greenfield, New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, the City Council’s Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee, Councilman Barry Grodenchik, community leaders, and children from Mevakshei Hashem Day Camp.

“DiGilio Playground is a place to walk, run and play in the heat of our congested community,” said former Councilman Greenfield. I am proud to have funded its renovation and the renovation of all the parks in the district. This $2.8 million improvement will allow children and adults to enjoy the park for years to come. Councilman Kalman Yeger has worked tirelessly to ensure the swift and timely completion of the park. Together, we literally gutted and rebuilt the entire park and quadrupled the play area, including two state-of-the-art play areas for children, new adult exercise equipment, and improved lighting and security to improve safety. Thank you, Councilman Yeger for working hard to keep improving our neighborhoods.”

“The renovation of DiGilio Playground with reconstructed facilities for both children and adults will provide Brooklyn residents with a great place for sports, exercise, and relaxation,” said Councilman Barry Grodenchik, Chair of the City Council’s Parks Committee. “I congratulate Council Member Kalman Yeger, and former Council Member David G. Greenfield for their investment in this wonderful neighborhood park.”