New York, NY - Gracie Mansion Celebration A Tribute To Jewish Heritage
Last updated on: June 30, 2016 03:18 PM
New york, NY - Several hundred people enjoyed kosher barbeque, scenic views of the East River and a chance to hobnob with Jewish movers and shakers from all across New York City at Mayor de Blasio’s annual Jewish Heritage Reception held Wednesday night at Gracie Mansion.
Both Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray peppered their remarks to the crowd with Hebrew phrases, with the mayor intoning “tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” while his wife spoke about the importance of tikun olam.
de Blasio was in high spirits, good naturedly repeating a joke he has shared on several occasion with two of his Israeli counterparts.
“I like to do a thing where I talk to the mayor of Jerusalem, in this case Mayor Barkat, and the mayor of Tel Aviv, Mayor Huldai, and I like to remind them in a kind of ribbing way, that within the city limits of Tel Aviv and within the city limits of Jerusalem there are not as many Jewish people as there are within the city limits of New York City. It’s very embarrassing for them, but I do it every chance I get,” quipped de Blasio.
The mayor noted that New York City values its status as home to the largest Jewish population in the world “by embracing, respecting and protecting the Jewish community.”
McCray spoke about her Thrive NYC mental health program, praising members of the Jewish community who share her vision for their “resilience, selflessness and strength,” and called the reception an opportunity to “celebrate all the ways our Jewish brothers and sisters are making the greatest city in the world even greater.”
A relaxed looking de Blasio seemed to enjoy the evening, lingering after completing his remarks as he chatted with guests and posed for numerous photographs.
Executive Director at Boro Park Jewish Community Council Yeruchem Silber, who worked with the mayor when he served on the City Council, called the mayor a true friend to his Orthodox Jewish constituents.
“The mayor has been very helpful to our community in many ways, expanding Pre-K to benefit our yeshivos, signing the security bill, building affordable housing and helping on the bris milah issue,” Silber told VIN News. “We don’t have to agree on every issue but we know that there is an open door.”
Cantor Joseph Malovany praised the mayor for his support of Jewish heritage while City Councilman Stephen Levin thanked de Blasio for hosting the reception, which drew a diverse swath of Jewish New Yorkers.
“We have such a strong and dynamic Jewish community in New York, especially in Brooklyn,” said Levin. “We know that the mayor has a strong commitment to the great tapestry of New York City, which the Jewish community is a big part of, and it is great to see everybody coming here together.”
Queens Assemblyman David Weprin spoke about the various types of legislation enacted in New York that favor Israel and the Jewish community, including Governor Cuomo’s recent announcement to boycott those who support BDS. Weprin said that he has been working for the past three years to enact a religious garb bill, which has yet to be approved by the State Senate.
“It would prevent any employer in the state from discriminating against anyone based on religious garb or facial hair, which would be big to members of the Chasidic community who are sometimes told that their beards interfere with uniform regulations at certain agencies,” said Weprin. “We have passed the bill three years in a row in the Assembly and are getting more and more support each year.”
Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services, said that he hopes by networking with members of various communities in the city he will raise awareness of his agency’s services.
“There is actually a government agency that is looking to help small businesses, to help people find jobs and to strengthen commercial corridors,” said Bishop.
Bishop said that he hopes that his meeting with COJO in Brooklyn several months ago will result in more Jewish businesses availing themselves of the city’s services.
“I have met with a lot of different organizations and the hope is that by building awareness through those organizations we will be able to reach out to the network of organizations that they connect with as well,” said Bishop.
While the reception may have been arranged to pay tribute to Jewish heritage, it was the mayor himself who seemed to be the guest of honor.
“We have a mayor that really understands our community that recognizes our issues and, no, he does not jump every time we say jump, but eventually he gets everything done,” observed Leon Goldenberg, a member of Agudath Israel of America’s board of trustees. “We are looking forward to him being successful; we are looking forward to him running again in 2017 successfully and we are looking forward to him make this city a greater and greater place.”
More of today's headlines“London - Former London mayor Boris Johnson abruptly pulled out of the race to become Britain's next prime minister on Thursday, in a shock move that upturned a political...” London - Brexit Campaigne Ex-London Mayor Johnson Abruptly Quits Race To Be Prime Minister “Ramallah - Five Palestinians, including two police officers, were killed in two overnight shootings in the West Bank, Palestinian police said Thursday. Police...” Ramallah - 5 Palestinians Dead In West Bank Shootings