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For Immediate Release: Contact:
Monday, March 8, 2004 Corey Bearak (718) 343-6779
Kalman Yeger (212) 453-9598

Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty

sponsor @ Samuel Field Y

NYC Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum headlines Legislative Forum 2004, Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 28 Adar 5764, announced Corey B. Bearak, Chair of the Executive Committee, and Jeffrey Gurdus, President of the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council ["NEQJCC"].  The event, hosted by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehabilitation, Queens Region-Hadassah, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New York and The Samuel Field/ Bay Terrace YM&YWHA, takes place 9:30 a.m. at the "Y", 58-20 Little Neck Parkway in Little Neck. This year=s forum will focus on Senior Issues and Concerns. The Met Council "Project Handyman" van will also be parked outside the Y for legislators and members of the public to inspect this program to help make home repairs. Hadassah's National Vice President Dr. Sandra Alfonsi will introduce Mrs. Gotbaum.

"We are pleased to present Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum," stated Mr. Bearak, who arranged the program. The event is free and open to the public.  Legislative Forum 2004, an annual program of the NEQJCC and the Y, also invites the Borough's legislators to meet and greet their constituents.  In the past years, the breakfast attracted many community and civic leaders in addition to members of the Councils' member-organizations.

William E. Rapfogel, CEO of Met Council, said: "Our City faces critical issues this year and we welcome the opportunity to facilitate this important dialogue with elected officials."

Mr. Gurdus stated:  "We look forward to working cooperatively with our fellow sponsors to present this Legislative Forum and other events to benefit Northeast Queens communities."

NEQJCC Executive Director Gail Eisenberg added: "This forum presents an important opportunity to show decision-makers the strength and unity of the Jewish community."   Y Executive Director Steve Goodman noted:  "By coming out on March 21, we can be sure that our voices will be heard when critical decisions that impact on our community are made."

The Forum begins with the serving of a light breakfast - this year courtesy of Parker Jewish Institute - at 9:30 a.m. and usually concludes in under two hours.  People wishing to attend are advised to make reservations by March 18.  Call the NEQJCC at (718) 225-6750 extension 247. 

Mr. Bearak said NEQJCC, an association of 30 synagogues and other religious, education, fraternal and community organizations, covers Bay Terrace, Bayside, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Holliswood, Hollis Hills, Jamaica Estates, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village (north).   "Our projects include a "Pre Passover Food Drive," neighborhood development, Jewish continuity, Lay Leadership, social action, promoting involvement and volunteer opportunities, fostering intergroup understanding and building a multi-cultural coalition," said Mr. Bearak.  "The Council combats anti-Semitism and discrimination, sponsors forums with major public figures, Jewish cultural events, open discussions with local Rabbis and represents community concerns.  The Council publishes a (4-fold 8.5 by 14-inch) brochure, You Can Have It All, touting life in northeast Queens communities, including a map locating its member synagogues and institutions.  Its website, www.northeastqueensjewish.org, features a community calendar."

Mr. Gurdus said annual programs include its Installation of Officers and Awards Breakfast each fall, the lighting of the largest Chanukah Menorah in Queens, a Purim Carnival at the Samuel Field Y, and its Legislative Forum each Spring.  In 2002, the Council, together with Queens Region Hadassah and the Consulate of Israel, hosted the Ben Yeduda Street Comes to Bayside, an Israeli Gifts Fair, Sunday, October 27 at Bayside Jewish Center, which attracted thousands of visitors who purchased direct from Israeli merchants and listened to Israeli entertainers.  A beneficiary of UJA-Federation, the NEQJCC works closely with the Queens Region-Hadassah, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New York, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and the Samuel Field Y, noted Executive Director Gail Eisenberg who can be reached at (718) 225-6750 x247 or via email at gail@northeastqueensjewish.org. 

The Samuel Field YM-YWHA, a not-for-profit Jewish social service organization, provides a comprehensive program of social services and education, recreation and Jewish culture for families, children, teenagers, single parents, adults and seniors, primarily residing in northeast Queens and Great Neck, regardless of race, creed or religion.  The Y's commitments to the needs of special populations include quality programs for the mentally retarded, the learning and developmentally disabled, people suffering from dementia and related memory disorders and a mental health service for older adults experiencing emotional and psychological disorders.

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