The Queens Jewish Community Council (QJCC) hosted their food pantry distribution on Sunday, September 18. I, alongside Yaakov Serle, joined staff, volunteers, and elected officials to ensure that needy Jewish families would have a joyous Rosh HaShanah. As we passed out parcels to clients, I was taken back by how many faces were familiar, representing our various Orthodox communities.

The Israel Heritage Foundation has made a distinct name for itself in the Conservative sphere. This past Sunday evening, September 18, in celebration of Rosh HaShanah, the organization once again invited former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an expected presidential candidate in 2024, for a VIP reception at Mike’s Bistro in Manhattan.

With no known credible threats for the high holiday season, calm and smiles were on hand this past Wednesday, September 21, in the auditorium at One Police Plaza when the renowned headquarters for the NYPD once again filled with Orthodox Jewish community leaders for a return to an in-person Annual High Holiday Briefing. In addition to the Mayor, police commissioner, and chief chaplain, in attendance were Richie Taylor, Inspector, Commanding Officer, Community Affairs Outreach; and his deputy commissioner, Mark Stewart; Chief of Department Kenny Corey; Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey; Chief of Staff to the Police Commissioner Oleg Chernyavsky; Chief of Brooklyn South Michael Kemper; Chief of Brooklyn North Judy Harrison, and Chief of Staten Island Gin Yee.

When a once-hopeful applicant to CUNY’s Queens College was denied acceptance, he opted to stand outside of the campus’ main gate with a megaphone in hand to amplify his racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, and anti-Islamic statements. “These statements are contrary to our shared ideals and cause damage to our community,” wrote Chief Diversity Officer and Dean of Diversity Jerima DeWese in a campus email on 9/1 at 4:50 p.m., following an international media upheaval that began with a call for help.

Following the international uproar stemming from the Queens College Megaphone Maniac, local legislators stood up for the values of the Jewish community with a strong presence. On Tuesday morning, September 20, a steady stream of elected officials lined the corner of Melbourne Avenue and Kissena Boulevard, just outside of the Queens College Student Union building in Kew Gardens Hills, to decry anti-Semitism and introduce legislation that aims to identify and track hate on college campuses statewide. The bill, sponsored by local Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal and State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, is a valiant effort to recognize Queens College’s 4,000 Jewish students – the eighth largest Jewish campus population in the nation and the largely religious neighborhood that the college calls home.

Yom Tov preparations were in full swing this past Tuesday afternoon at the Lev Aharon Community Food Pantry in Kew Gardens Hills, operated as a joint venture between Met Council and Chazaq. The distribution was historic in that it welcomed New York City’s Comptroller Brad Lander and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams to the Queens neighborhood for their first visits. Often represented by their Jewish liaisons Pinny Hikind and Simon Sebag, respectively, this circulation allowed their reps to join legislators ahead of Rosh HaShanah.