Over the past number of years, the Queens Jewish community has been hit with an increasing number of addiction cases that have led to severe issues, including death on more than one occasion. Rabbi Yaniv Meirov, CEO of the Chazaq Organization, has not taken this issue lightly.

The organization has coordinated various speaking engagements on the topic, and took a more proactive approach this past Tuesday afternoon with a formal meeting of experts in the field. The simcha hall of Ohel Simcha on 72nd Avenue hosted a symposium led by Sean M. Byrne, Executive Deputy Commissioner for New York State's Office of Addiction Services and Support. His colleague, Tracey L. Collins, Director of the Office of Government Affairs and Federal Policy, was on hand, as well as Zoraida Diaz, the Regional Director for NYC's Field Office Office at the State's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. The meeting included the presence of Zvi Gluck, CEO of Amudim Community Resources; District Leader Shimi Pelman; Adam Suinov, Jewish liaison to Council Member James Gennaro; Rabbi Mayer Waxman, Executive Director at the QJCC; Aaron Cyperstein, Managing Director, Legal & External Affairs at Met Council; Diana Rachnaev and Daniel Rachnaev, co-founder at Yesodot; Lydia Musheyev, Lior Kleinman, and others knowledgeable in the area.

By Shabsie Saphirstein