An experienced voice from Queens will be chairing the House Foreign Affairs Committee after securing the support of his party’s colleagues last Thursday. Rep. Gregory Meeks, 67, who is also the chair of the Queens Democratic organization and serves the sizable Jewish communities of Far Rockaway and Jamaica Estates, as well as areas of Nassau County, will also be the first African American at this post. “I’m extremely honored to be elected Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” Meeks said in a statement, where he called to “bring diplomacy back.” “The new era of US foreign policy will not be just a return to normal, but an opportunity to broaden the committee focus and forge new coalitions to address global challenges.”

An experienced voice from Queens will be chairing the House Foreign Affairs Committee after securing the support of his party’s colleagues last Thursday. Rep. Gregory Meeks, 67, who is also the chair of the Queens Democratic organization and serves the sizable Jewish communities of Far Rockaway and Jamaica Estates, as well as areas of Nassau County, will also be the first African American at this post. “I’m extremely honored to be elected Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” Meeks said in a statement, where he called to “bring diplomacy back.” “The new era of US foreign policy will not be just a return to normal, but an opportunity to broaden the committee focus and forge new coalitions to address global challenges.”

Under normal circumstances, the lifting of Jonathan Pollard’s parole on November 21 would have resulted in much celebration among Jews who spent the last 35 years engaging in the mitzvah of Pidyon Sh’vuyim on his behalf. One could imagine the packed seats in Five Towns when Rabbi Kenneth Hain of Congregation Beth Sholom and Rabbi Yaakov Trump of the Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst hosted Eliot Lauer, who has been the attorney for Pollard for the past 20 years. Under the conditions of the pandemic, the two rabbis hosted Lauer on Zoom in a public lecture this past Sunday.

Less than two months remain before voters in the 24th Council District in central Queens will be the first in the city to conduct a ranked choice election. On Tuesday, February 2, 11 candidates will appear on the ballot for the seat vacated last month by Rory Lancman. In preparation for the historic election, Assemblymembers Nily Rozic and Daniel Rosenthal held an online lecture last Thursday with the advocacy group Rank the Vote NYC.