Council’s Jewish liaison has Queens political roots

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City Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) has announced the appointment of Forest Hills resident Howard Pollack, who has years of experience serving Queens’ Jewish population, as liaison to the city’s Jewish community.

Pollack, 36, who worked for former Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz and most recently as chief of staff to state Assemblyman Michael Cohen (D-Forest Hills), will attend Jewish-related events on behalf of the speaker and meet with religious and secular Jewish leaders to bring their views back to the City Council.

“This is an especially crucial time for Jews in the city, Israel and throughout the world, and Howard will be a valuable addition to the city council staff,” said Miller. “He brings a broad range of experience in Jewish communal activities and governmental experience to this important position.”

Pollack replaces Greg Menken, who left for a post in Gov. George Pataki’s office.

“There are so many competing interests in the city looking for the attention of the City Council,” said Pollack. “I hope to bring to the speaker the interests and concerns of the Jewish community so he understands them and can aid them.”

As an aide to Koslowitz and Cohen, Pollack worked extensively with the borough’s Jewish groups, including the Jewish Community Council of Kew Gardens, the Educational Center for Russian Jewry, Project Lead, and the Central Queens YM-YWHA.

He served as treasurer of the Queens Jewish Community Council and was a member of the group’s board of directors until he was forced by conflict-of-interest rules to resign when he took the council position.

“We have known for a long time that Howie is one of the brightest guys both in the political world and in the Jewish community world and that he was going to become a star,” said Manny Behar, executive director of the QJCC. “We’re very happy to see that Speaker Miller realizes that too and we look forward to great things from him in his new position.”

In his first official move as liaison, Pollack and Miller joined 400 seniors at an early Passover seder organized by the Jewish Association of Services for the Aged at the Rego Park Jewish Center March 26.

He planned to hold a press conference with Miller on the steps of City Hall Wednesday to announce the drafting of a council resolution condemning the recent spate of suicide bombings in Israel.

While he said the situation in the Middle East “tops the list,” of concerns, Pollack also intends to be active on education, senior services and quality-of-life issues.

Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

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