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Flatbush Cojo Holds Its
40th Annual Breakfast

On Sunday March 3rd, Flatbush Cojo held its 40th annual community legislative breakfast. The event was hosted by Larry Spiewak, Cojo Chairman of the Board, David Heskiel, NYPD Clergy Liaison and Cojo board member, Ari Baum, Cojo Treasurer, and Rubin Margolis.

This year’s honorees included congressman Pete King, NY State Senator Andrew Gounardes, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstien, NYPD Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill, Leon Goldenberg, and First VP of Cojo, Scott Lorin MD, President of Mount Sinai Brooklyn.

Many community leaders and organization heads joined as well, including Sam Sutton and Ronnie Tawil from Sephardic Bikur Holim, U.S. senator, Max Rose, Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who is a very strong and steadfast supporter of our community, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, and NYPD Deputy Commissioner Bob Ganley, of NYPD 61st Pct. Head Inspector King and numerous elected officials gathered to discuss various important community issues and ways that we can all work together for a safer and more productive working relationship with our elected leadership, NYPD, and our community members.

Flatbush Cojo is an important organization in our community. This organization helps thousands of families in need, facilitating numerous social services and a host of programs that are very beneficial, including programs dedicated to helping with housing, healthcare, and financial security. Flatbush Coho also distributes holiday food packages, and runs a camp scholarship fund.

Mesila Teams with SBH
to Get Families on Track

Last month Sephardic Bikur Holim (SBC) and Mesila, the worldwide organization promoting financial stability, joined together to sponsor a fascinating and well-received event to enhance the financial skill sets of SBH’s “captain volunteers.” It’s not surprising that the two organizations teamed up, as both are recognized as sharing the goal of helping families in our community achieve wellness and peace of mind.

The thirty captain volunteers who attended were riveted by the fascinating presentation and joined enthusiastically in the following discussions. Rabbi Elie Levy, director of Mesila Brooklyn, opened the evening with a brief introduction to Mesila and the two divisions currently operating in Brooklyn: the Education Division, which brings Mesila curriculum into the schools, and the Financial Coaching Division, which helps families to gain control of their finances.

Next, Teddy Serure, one of Mesila’s star coaches, took the podium and explained in greater depth how the coaching process with the families works. He gave a concise overview of the three stages involved: Awareness– getting a clear picture of the family’s financial situation, Change– enhancing income and streamlining expenses so as to achieve a healthy budget, and Maintenance–building a multi-year budget, including saving and planning for the future, and debt repayment where applicable. He gave a sampling of the techniques and language that are employed during the process, and offered real-life examples of some cases that he’sdealt with, and described the transformations these families underwent.

After Mr. Serure’s delivery, there was a lively
question-and-answersession, followed by an opportunity for the captains to speak directly with the Mesila director and coach, and toshare ideas and strategies of how to help families in the best way possible.

Feedback from attendees was very enthusiastic. The SBH volunteers were quite impressed by the powerful tools Mesila has to offer, and they have already begun referring some clients to Mesila. The event was indeed the start of a fruitful relationship, for the benefit of Klal Yisrael!

Organizations and communities interested in bringing the Mesila message to their constituents are welcome to contact Mesila Brooklyn at 212-784-6780 or

Flatbush Shomrim
March News

March 4, 10:00am– After observing a suspicious male entering multiple driveways in the area of Ave. Z and East 14th, FSSP members alerted the 61 pct., which then arrested the individual and charged him with criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

March 6, 1:45am– Our night crime team observed a suspicious male trying to gain entry to numerous vehicles. After said individual broke into a car and removed property, he attempted to flee by entering a building on Ocean Ave. and Quentin. Our members followed him and activated the system and
61 pct. made the collar. After running his name, he was found to have an open warrant for a past GLA as well.

March 9, 11:30pm– Members out on night patrol caught anindividual breaking into a vehicle in the area of East 2 and Avenue O. After being arrested, this recidivist was found to have more than a dozen priors, including burglaries and possession of narcotics.

Agudath Israel of America Applauds
the Chestnut Ridge Board of Trustees

Agudath Israel of America notes with appreciation the recent zoning law change in the Village of Chestnut Ridge. This new set of zoning laws, passed by the Village last month, makes it possible for local faith communities, including Orthodox Jews, to establish houses of worship in residential areas, subject to meeting Village requirements. This matter has been contentious in Chestnut Ridge, as it has been in a number of municipalities over the last 25 years.

Agudath Israel notes that the model employed by the Chestnut Ridge officials is one that recognizes that communities have differing needs, that even within communities there may be different ways of fulfilling the same objective, and that working together with the local community ina collaborative effort has been the only way to come to amicable solutions and avoid costly and time-consuming litigation.

Under the leadership of Mayor Rosario “Sam” Presti, the Village of Chestnut Ridge adopted a three-tier zoning system for houses of worship, in which the zoning requirements increase correspondingly to the use-capacity of the planned house of worship.

“Mayor Presti and the Chestnut Ridge Board of Trustees did the right thing,” said Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Vice President of Government Affairs and Washington Director. “By taking a controversial issue and coming up with a solution that can work, they showed that they care for the rights of each individual in their community.”

Agudath Israel’s Washington Office played a key role in crafting and promoting the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, legislation that protects against undue discrimination against houses of worship and other religious entities in local zoning laws.

American Jewish Delegation Meet with
Egyptian President El-Sisi in Historic Visit

A high-profile delegation visited Egypt as part of a mission to meet with Egyptian President el-Sisi. The delegation compromised of two dozen prominent American Jews, members of the Anwar Sadat Congressional Gold Medal Commission. The mission was coordinated by New York City based political firm the Friedlander Group. As a result of this historic meeting with President Sisi, various historic initiatives are being implemented.

The mission's highlight was thehistoric meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh el-Sisi that took place in the Presidential Palace in Heliopolis. The delegation had an open discussion with President Sisi on variety of topics including Middle East stability, terrorism, and other issues of mutual interest.

"President Sisi is a leader in the Arab World who courageously advocates moderation and inclusion, reminding us of the pivotal role that he plays in the Middle East. President Sisi’s participation will further reinforce the message of belief and hope that the vision of a Middle East where tolerance, not terror, can flourish. This message is both possible and urgently needed,” said Ezra Friedlander, leader of the delegation.

A direct plea from Joseph Douek, NYC Planning Commissioner, to President Sisi regarding the sad state of Cairo’s Bassatine Cemetery saw immediate results. The cleanup process of the second oldest cemetery in the world started literally within 24 hours.

Various members of the delegation shared their perspective with President Sisi: Eli Epstein underscored the great importance that the American Jewish community places on enhancing ties between the United States and Egypt. Leon Goldenberg highlighted the participants’ relationships with members of Congress. Isaac Dabah boosted the importance of economic developments, and Rabbi Elie Abadie delivered the benediction in Arabic.