On Sunday, November, 13, over 600 people joined together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Young Israel of Staten Island at the Excelsior Grand in the New Dorp Section of Staten Island.
The event was beautifully catered by Signature Caterers, and recognized the institution’s ideals of charity, compassion for the underprivileged, and dedication to community service.
Synagogue President Dr. Louis Emmer welcomed the crowd and explained that the vision for the 50th anniversary celebration is, “A celebration of the past and present blending together to build a strong vibrant future. Young Israel of Staten Island, a leader in the Young Israel movement proudly services the Jewish Community here in Staten Island and looks forward to continuing in that role for the decades to come.”
50th anniversary dinner chair and past president Moti Schwartz, Esq., and his committee have worked tirelessly to organize the 50th year celebration. Mr. Schwartz described, “the work of his committee as a labor of love. The Young Israel of Staten Island, is more than a simple congregation offering prayer services, it is a spiritual center, a home away from home, serving the diverse needs of our membership. From dawn to dusk, our doors are opened, from toddlers to seniors 365 days a year. Young Israel of Staten Island daily has a place for everyone.”
The highlight of the evening was learning about Young Israel of Staten Island’s rich Legacy. Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield senior Rabbi spoke about the importance of Torah and community building. Rabbi Lehrfield explained how the Young Israel of Staten Island since its inception under Rabbi Jay Marcus continues to be the premier flagship Young Israel Congregation in North America. Rabbi Lehrfield noted that the, “Young Israel of Island continues to be the leader and innovator in Synagogue and community programing, its successful award winning youth department is a national model, studied and copied by many major Congregation in the United States.” What prides Rabbi Lehrfield the most is the various high level Torah classes offered by the Young Israel of Staten Island and the great charity and advocacy work by the members of the Young Israel. “You name it, COJO to Bikur Cholim, Tomchei Shabbos, Hatzallah, Eruv and the schools, etc., all have in their leadership members of the Young Israel of Staten Island. As a Rabbi, I am proud of the charity and kindness from these members who are great community leaders.”
Mendy Mirocznik, President of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island, explained, “that if Staten Island is fashionable and a great place to live and raise a family we can directly attribute that to the Young Israel of Staten Island. It is Young Israel of Staten Island, its esteemed Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield and members who work around the clock 24/7 to make this community the best place in the world. We look forward to a bright future and to the next 50 years.”
The Guests of Honor was Rabbi Yaakov and Leah Lehrfield, the Amudei Chesed Award was given to Fran and Milton Pfeiffer, the Amudei Chayil Award was given to Roselynn and Alan Zachter, a special Memorial Tribute was made to Danny Shepetofsky, A”H and the Young Leadership Award was given to Rebecca and Effie Silberman. Two high schoolers, Tali Speirer and Jonathan Burack were recipients of the New Horizons award for their active volunteerism.