By COLlive staff
Photos: Shimi Kutner/COLlive
Rabbis, city officials, directors of institutions, business owners and residents of Crown Heights gathered on Sunday afternoon to kick off the day of celebration marking the 10th anniversary of COLlive.com.
The reception held at the Jewish Children’s Museum was designed by event planner Chani Greenbaum and catered by Basil Hospitality Group with wines by Joseph Zakon and Eber’s Liquors & Wines store.
Participants mingled over artisan bread, cheese platters, pizzas, salads and gourmet cheesecakes as they discussed community affairs and toasted the people who are making a positive difference in the neighborhood.
COLlive.com was founded as a community news service in 2008, reporting about news, events and happenings in Brooklyn, Israel and Chabad-Lubavitch communities around the world.
“When we founded COLlive.com, we had a vision of it becoming the go-to source for news and happenings in Crown Heights and the global Chabad-Lubavitch community,” said Mica Soffer, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of COLlive.
“What we didn’t expect is how quickly and warmly the public embraced the website, making it a part of their daily life. We are grateful to Hashem, and our readers, partners and advertisers, for making COLlive.com a household name.”
Renowned author and Chassidus lecturer Rabbi Shais Taub reflected that message when he mentioned the story of the rabbi who forbade community members from speaking in shul, only to change his mind upon seeing less interaction between chassidim.
“The rabbi said, ‘I noticed that in the past month when we stopped sharing each other’s news, we became cold and distant. We were able to connect and help each other in business, in family and health…'” Taub related.
Rabbi Taub went on to say: “We have a way of connecting and knowing what’s going on in each other’s lives and be able to share our joys but also our pain.”
Comparing the Chabad news shared on COLlive to Chassidim in the past sharing when and where the Rebbe was farbrenging, Taub said, “We are expecting to one day check COLlive and it will say ‘Moshiach is here’ and we will get all the details where the Rebbe is farbrenging in the Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi.”
VIDEO: Rabbi Shais Taub speaks at the reception
“COLlive is the information center for our community, for the Jewish community. How the news is brought to us takes wisdom, clarity, objectiveness, integrity, and yes, kindness,” commented Devorah Halberstam, Director of External Affairs at the Jewish Children’s Museum and an NYPD liaison.
Praising Mica Soffer’s leadership, Halberstam said: “She is careful in her accuracy, in the safety of the community, in bringing social and political stories to light that affect us daily. A most notable part of her work is her empathy and kindness that she shares with individual stories of suffering, and has jumped through hoops to get them help.”
Tzirl Goldman, founder of Chasdei Soul II Soul which supports the education of children with special needs, agrees. “COLlive does a wonderful service to the community and especially to the organizations that serve the community,” she commented.
The reception was opened with a video from JEM showing a few of the Rebbe’s interactions and instructions to journalists and media personalities. The event was emceed by Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin, a senior editor at COLlive.com.
“Mazal Tov to COLlive,” said Deputy Inspector Francis Giordano, Commanding Officer of the NYPD 71st Precinct, who went on to summarize the security precautions taken over the month of Tishrei.
Giordano was joined by NYPD Deputy Chief Charles M. Scholl of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, Lieutenant Ira (Yitz) Jablonsky, police officers Tommy Nahill and Detective Vincent Martinos of NYPD Community Affairs division.
Speakers included renowned comedian and friend of Chabad Modi, Chanina Sperlin, Governmental Liason of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, and Rabbi Shea Hecht, Chairman of the NCFJE organization.
Participating in the “COLlive Day” were Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New York City Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, Council Member Kalman Yaeger, Pinny Ringel representing NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Pinny Hikind representing NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Rabbi Avraham Lieder, Director of the Ahavas Chesed organization, presented a chesed award to property owner and philanthropist Yossi Popack in tribute of his “increased deeds of kindness, charity and generosity to the community.”
“When I was a little boy in the 1950s, my grandfather would tell me about life in the 1910s,” Popack said. “There were farms and there were cows walking in the fields of Crown Heights. And it’s amazing to see where Crown Heights is today.”
Popack said, “There are so many people who are doing phenomenal things. You have the Yeshivos that caring for our children and Tzivos Hashem motivating them. You have organizations helping with medical issues and food. Everyone is working together, b’achdus and you are seeing all this, since COLlive came to the world.”
From the reception, participants went outside to join the COLlive Festival and Concert on Kingston Avenue with an all-star line-up of Jewish singers and musicians.