Colors: Blue Color

Rabbi-turned-comedian was an outspoken supporter of Israel
with what a friend called a Talmudic outlook on life – and had a Queens connection too

Jackie Mason, the rabbi-turned-comedian whose feisty brand of standup comedy led him to Catskills nightclubs, West Coast talk shows and Broadway stages, died Saturday. He was 93.

It’s an exciting time for couples at Emet Outreach. As part of Emet’s programming expansion, the organization is creating a new Couple’s Division to offer greater educational and social opportunities for its growing roster of dedicated couples. Over the past 18 years, Emet has been fortunate to participate in the weddings of hundreds of students. This new division aims to meet the needs of a wide range of couples – from newly engaged, to recently married, to those who are raising families. Shay Yonaiev, a former team member from Emet’s early days, is now joining as Couples Director. Aside from his long-standing relationship with Emet, Shay has a degree in Industrial Psychology and brings his “people skills” after years of serving the corporate world in human resources. In that capacity, Shay will also serve as HR Director, as Emet recruits more staff members for their various divisions.

To Jackie Mason, Queens – more specifically Kew Gardens Hills – was a home away from home. His revered brother, Rav Dov Berel (Bernard) Maza z”l, led Beis Medrash RE”M, opposite Bet Midrash TOV at 68th Drive and 147th Street, and Cong. Emunah Shleima, also in Kew Gardens Hills. RE”M, an acronym for his saintly father Rav Eliyahu Mordechai Maza, meant that Mason would forever be connected to Kew Gardens Hills, visiting at times. Mason, along with his Yiddish locutions, held dear his love for cantorial renditions, sometimes belting them out on stage, occasionally choosing to begin with a Keil Malei. At times, he was seen at the Young Israel of Forest Hills for S’lichos leading up to the High Holidays, as verified by community member Howard Schoenfeld, among others.

 Last Tuesday afternoon, US Rep. Grace Meng took time from her busy schedule to see firsthand the amazing work of the partnership between the Chazaq Organization and Met Council on Jewish Poverty at the Lev Aharon Community Food Pantry in Kew Gardens Hills. Meng was joined by her friend and ally Linda Lee, the Democratic Nominee in the race for City Council in District 23 to replace CM Barry Grodenchik.

It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed since the passing of the Hakham, Rabbi Yaa’qob Menashe. Indeed, many of us never imagined making it through a year without the Hakham’s advice, insights, Torah, teachings, and leadership. His passing has left a void in the hearts of so many, but his teachings continue to live on through the Torah he has disseminated through recorded shiurim and lectures, the ATorahMinute and NonStopTorah websites, and the books he has published on Halakhah and life events.

The untimely passing of Gavriel Simcha Daitchman, 32, left the greater Jewish community of New York in shock this past Sunday evening. Gavriel, who grew up in Kew Gardens Hills, happily lived with his wife Rivka, nee Warman, and their bubbly daughter Molly in the vibrant community of North Woodmere. Together, they built a house of Torah filled with all the joys and excitement befitting a budding family.

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