A get-out-the-vote message and a call to invest in the community highlighted the annual installation breakfast and awards ceremony of the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council Sunday.
"It's so important that our voice be heard, merely by pulling a lever down," said Michael Miller, executive vice president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New York. "That is our responsibility as Americans, as New Yorkers, and most importantly as Jews."
Miller was one of four people to receive awards from the Jewish council, which represents synagogues and Jewish organizations from across northeast Queens. The ceremony took place at the Holliswood Jewish Center Sunday morning.
Miller was recognized for his service to the New York City region. Steven Goodman, executive vice president of the Samuel Field YM&YWHA based in Bay Terrace, was honored for his service to the northeast Queens Jewish community, and Harold Goldberg, a community activist, was honored posthumously for his service to the Jewish community throughout Queens.
"Sometimes it takes a person to leave us to realize how much they meant to us," said Manny Behar, executive director of the Queens Jewish Community Council, who presented the award.
Jonathan Bearak, a 14-year-old student at the Summit School in Jamaica Estates and the son of Corey Bearak, chairman of the executive committee for the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council, was honored for his work creating a website for the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council.
"It gives me the greatest joy to see my work being viewed on the Internet," he said.
Goodman said 25,000 people participated in Samuel Field Y programs at 18 sites throughout northeast Queens this year.
"We have been able to convey the core values of this community and the values of the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council," Goodman said.
Goodman outlined those values as sharing, inclusion, mutual respect, love of neighborhood, and civic responsibility, and called for Jews throughout northeast Queens to place a high priority on civic life.
Elected officials attending the event Sunday morning included state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose), City Councilman Sheldon Leffler (D-Hollis), state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Bayside), City Councilwoman Helen Marshall (D-East Elmhurst), and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, who swore in the council's officers, Joseph Varon, Jeffrey Gurdus, Helen Zaro, Ethel Levine, Leonard Stieglitz, and David Bearak.
Several candidates for political office in 2001 also turned out for the ceremony. Jeff Gottlieb, chief of staff to Councilman Morton Povman (D-Forest Hills), Morshed Alam of Fresh Meadows, Barry Grodenchik, and Jim Gennaro, are all contenders for Povman's City Council seat, which Povman will have to vacate next year due to term limits.
Reach reporter Michelle Han by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.