Today’s news:

City honors Hillcrest rabbi

A Hillcrest street will soon be renamed for Rabbi Sholem B. Kowalsky, the late spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Hillcrest synagogue, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the distinction into law last week.

The renaming was sponsored by City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who represents the Hillcrest community.

Kowalsky, who died Jan. 18, 2007 at the age of 86, was an adviser to the Chief Rabbinate of Jerusalem and founded the Yeshiva of Newark in 1959. He later moved to Queens to serve as the rabbi at the Young Israel of Hillcrest – a post he held for 50 years.

During Kowalsky’s tenure at the Queens synagogue, it became the largest Young Israel in the city.

“For half a century, Rabbi Kowalsky was an influential spiritual leader who guided countless Queens residents,” Gennaro said. “Although Rabbi Kowalsky has passed, this street in his name will continue to guide Fresh Meadows residents and the Hillcrest Jewish Center congregation.”

Rabbi Sholem B. Kowalsky way will be marked on Jewel Avenue between 169th Street and 170th Street.

A date for the street renaming ceremony has not yet been announced.

“Rabbi Sholem B. Kowalasky was the catalyst for both the physical and spiritual development of the Young Israel of Hillcrest and the Hillcrest Jewish community as a whole,” said Rabbi Richard Weiss of the Young Israel of Hillcrest. “His unconditional commitment to Jewish communal life together with his love of people serve as a longstanding legacy for the entire Queens community.”

Alan Warshaviak, chairman of Queens Community Board 8, said he was honored to have Kowalsky as his rabbi.

“Rabbi Sholem B. Kowalsky served the Young Israel of Hillcrest congregation as its rabbi, the Hillcrest community and the wider Jewish community with distinction and honor,” Warshaviak said. “His myriad accomplishments affected not only those who knew him, but also affected people from all walks of life. This is a small honor for a man who has made profound contributions to the world community.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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