Stringer Celebrates Community
The Center for Jewish History was the setting September 26 for a brief yet warmly moving celebration of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan during which Borough President Scott Stringer honored four outstanding Jewish leaders. Each received an official “Proclamation” declaring September 26, 2011 as his or her honorary “day” in Manhattan. Honorees included United States Representative the Honorable Jerrold Nadler, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Alisa Robbins Doctoroff, and Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, M.D.
First to be “proclaimed” was Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who has represented the 8th Congressional District since 1992. The district covers the West side of Manhattan, including Ground Zero, and parts of Brooklyn. Stringer began his political career working in Nadler’s office. Calling him “mentor” and “friend,” Stringer declared September 26 “Jerry Nadler Day in the Borough of Manhattan.” He spoke of the Congressman’s intelligence and dedication.
Nadler, always a strong supporter of Israel, was very direct: “security for Israel,” said the Congressman “is not negotiable.” Nadler has spoken adamantly against the Palestinian Authority unilateral bid for statehood. He called the suggestion that Palestinian refugees would not be allowed to return to a Palestinian state “another stage in the struggle against Israel.”
With the music of the Ramaz High School Chamber Choir still ringing in the audience’s ears, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, spiritual leader of Kehilath Jershurun, the home congregation of the school, brought ample good humor – and a bright white Giant’s cap – to the event. He graciously noted the connections among the honorees, complimenting each of his fellow honorees. Lookstein expressed his gratitude to Stringer for his outreach following the July 11 fire that destroyed his congregation’s sanctuary. “This is my Christmas Eve,” said the octogenarian rabbi, but assured that when Scott called, he had no hesitation in being available.
Calling Alissa Doctoroff as “an extraordinary woman,” Stringer spoke about the United Jewish Appeal’s President’s work promoting Jewish life through educational and cultural activities. He cited her involvement with Jewish education on multiple levels, including her positions as President of the Abraham Joshua Herschel School and committee chairperson at the Jewish Theological Seminary. The Honoree expressed her pride in the critical relationship between the Jewish community and the City of New York, and her gratitude for “Scott’s advocacy.”
Elie Abadie, Senior Rabbi of the Edmund J. Safra Synagogue, lecturer, professor, and practicing physician, accepted his honor “as a representative of the Sephardic community.” He spoke of the community’s its long and involved history in American life, and its rich contributions to education, business, science, and culture. Calling the United States a “beacon of freedom to all oppressed people and a shining example of hope, liberty and justice for all,” the Rabbi prayed for America’s “sustainability.”