An impromptu T'hilim recitation Sunday night brought together men and women of the Queens community in heartfelt prayers to the Almighty. The signature spirituality and warm atmosphere has become a trademark for Hashevaynu in Kew Gardens Hills, the fastest growing Ashkenazi shul in the area. The reading was led by the heartfelt passion of Zalman Pollack as each posuk reverberated throughout the walls of the shul built by the Teitz family. Amongst the crowd were the mara d’asra Rabbi Yehuda Zakutinsky and his esteemed son Rabbi Avi Zakutinsky, a maggid shiur at the shul.

On a recent Wednesday evening, Tomchei Shabbos of Queens held its 11th annual volunteer night of appreciation. Dozens of dedicated TSQ operatives made an appearance at this special event to receive a token of appreciation from the administration of the longstanding supplemental food resource for the impoverished. Once again, local families contributed to the delicious dinner options. This year, the event was produced as a grab-and-go buffet, providing an endless array of fleshig options for the volunteers who find time to organize and deliver much-needed essentials to those in our midst who struggle financially. An ArtScroll title was also made available as a special gift to the well-deserving volunteers.

The onset of the Yamim Noraim has made for a longstanding tradition of coordinating efforts for public safety with local police departments. Beth Gavriel Bukharian Congregation had the privilege of hosting such a meeting in the third floor beit hamedrash of their Forest Hills facility, where New York City Council Member Lynn Schulman convened an informational and practical gathering.

Earlier this summer, the QJL presented a unique scavenger hunt on Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills sponsored by local illusionist Yoel "Magic" Spielman. Before the school year began, the search concluded when Yehuda Aryeh Teichman and his father Shraga emerged as the sole local to find the stashed prize. The treasure chest was nestled in the bed of the Sunoco station's outdoor advertising signage with the brand's arrow pointed directly toward the prize. Yoel lived up to his end of the bargain and proudly handed the winner $500 in singles! What fantastic end to a summer's long search! Now, I can rest easy knowing that I no longer hold the state secret!

With summertime nearly behind us, busy school days are the future for community families. On Sunday, August 20, a grand finale was held for Summer Seder, a six-week initiative of Congregation Charm Circle and Chazaq that kept Torah learning strong and vibrant when school was out. The event included inspiring words, soothing tunes, and delicious treats. The diversity of Kew Gardens Hills has been readily apparent for many years, and Summer Seder was no different, with an eclectic mix of Sephardim and Ashkenazim enjoying the beauty of Hashem’s Torah. Each Sunday and Wednesday evening, teens and young professionals commingled over burgers or sushi while expanding their Torah knowledge. As word spread of the program’s success, organizers opted to open its doors to the community and within no time the shul’s seats quickly filled.