By COLlive reporter
Photos: Sholem Srugo
Hundreds of Crown Heights residents gathered on Motzei Shabbos at the Oholei Torah ballroom for a community Melava Malka event.
The full sit-down dinner marked the 50th anniversary of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council (CHJCC), the local representation of the community. It was billed as a way to look forward to the future of the community.
The program featured an address by Rabbi Simon Jacobson, bestselling author and Dean of the Meaningful Life Center. He described the early roots of the Crown Heights neighborhood, formerly “Crow Hill,” and told of how the Rebbe’s vision saw the neighborhood through some difficult times, before its current resurgence.
CHJCC Chairman Zaki Tamir chaired the evening, and Dovid Efune, editor of the Algemeiner, discussed the growing power of the Orthodox Jewish community in New York City and beyond.
New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, who represents the 35th District and Crown Heights, spoke of her support of the community, through institutions like the Community Council and the Shalom Senior Center, one of her favorite organizations.
Cumbo said she is very proud of the work on the soon to be built housing and sports complex at the site of the former Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights. The Armory will provide much-needed affordable housing in the area as well as a recreation center for all the residents of Crown Heights.
Cumbo praised the work of longtime community activist Chanina Sperlin of the CHJCC, describing how he was instrumental in getting a Jewish liaison appointed to Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s office, something which he had not done before.
Rabbi Eli Cohen, Executive Director of CHJCC, was joined by three young leaders: Avi Lesches – Director of Economic Development at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Aaron Kalmenson – Human Resource Manager at Buggy in Crown Heights, and Shlomie Hecht – Team Leader at Citi Habitats Real Estate.
Together, they addressed questions and practical steps that can be taken to build the community further. They invited everyone present to join in the work of the Council, in such areas as advocacy, caring for the needy, community relations and housing.