[PHOTOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE]
Flatbush was the scene of a convergence of political power on Sunday, as elected officials paid tribute to the Flatbush Jewish Community at the Annual FJCC Leadership Forum.
There was a constant flow of elected officials for over two hours, reflecting the political strength of the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, formed just over a year ago in 2013. The FJCC leadership forum included many prominent community leaders including executives of some of the foremost Jewish social service and communal organizations in New York.
Headlining the event was New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, NY City Public Advocate Letitia James, NY City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Speaker of the NY City Council Melissa Mark-Virverito, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Local officials included State Senator Simcha Felder, State Senator-Elect Jesse Hamilton, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, Councilman Chaim Deutsch, Councilman Mathieu Eugene, Councilman David Greenfield, Councilman Alan Maisel, and Councilman Mark Treyger.
Malcolm Hoenlein, Honorary Chairman of the FJCC, and Executive VP of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations spoke of the importance of the unity represented by the FJCC and introduced the congressional members, who both praised the FJCC and its leadership for their contributions to the community and the city, and expressed their support for Israel in Washington, and sanctions to pressure Iran. Shimon Lefkowitz, executive board member FJCC, introduced Josh Mehlman, chairman of the FJCC, to chair the event and thanked him for coordinating the forum.
Leading off the event was Assemblyman Dov Hikind who was lauded by the chairman for his 32 years of leadership and support for our community, and institutions, and as an advocate in Albany for important legislation that has made a real difference for so many.
Avi Schick, Executive board member FJCC and prominent attorney who spent years in top positions in the offices of the Governor and Attorney General, introduced NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who praised the FJCC and pledged to work closely with the Flatbush Coalition to enhance the role his office plays in support of the Orthodox Jewish community. Chaskel Bennett co-founder FJCC introduced State Senator Simcha Felder and Councilman David Greenfield who both expressed appreciation for the unity that the FJCC has brought to the greater Flatbush/Midwood communities. .“The FJCC’s time has come. Flatbush has finally found its voice. A strong voice” stated State Senator Simcha Felder. Senator –Elect Jesse Hamilton pledged to be an advocate in Albany for our community, as did Assemblyman Felix Ortiz.
NY City Councilman Chaim Deutsch spoke of his work on our behalf in City Hall, and introduced Speaker of the NY City Council Mark-Viverito as a strong advocate and friend to our community, who made the FJCC the very first stop after being elected Speaker. The Speaker announced that she is leading a delegation of NYC Council Members to Israel in February.
Public Advocate Letitia James, who is second to the Mayor in City Government, thanked the FJCC leaders for working with her to make the city a better place for all.
Executive board member FJCC, Peter Rebenwurzel introduced Borough President Eric Adams who pledged to continue the close work with the FJCC, and announced he’s running for mayor in eight years. Leon Goldenberg, executive board member FJCC, introduced NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer as a close friend and confidante. The Comptroller thanked the FJCC leadership for supporting him when he was down by 20 point before the election last year. “Now, most people walk away at that point. But the people around this table endorsed me at that critical point. When people ask, ‘what is this organization [FJCC] all about?’ Mention the summer of ’13, and mention my name.”
Mr. Goldenberg introduced Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz who spoke of his work to provide funding to our community programs. Council members Alan Maisel, Mark Treyger and Mathieu Eugene reviewed their work in the Council, and expressed thanks for the FJCC for its leadership.
Rockland County Majority leader Aaron Wieder stressed the importance of each and every vote, explaining that he just lost his assembly race by only 61 votes.
This annual gathering brought out dozens of Jewish activists and respected leaders from all across NY State’s thriving Jewish communities and speaks to the power of unity the FJCC has generated.
The FJCC was established to represent and unite the greater Flatbush/Midwood communities on communal, civic and political concerns.
PHOTOS BY HILLEL ENGEL
(YWN Desk – NYC)