Shalom Task Force 2016 Annual Brunch

November 23, 2016

Please join us on Sunday, December 4, at the Shalom Task Force Annual Brunch, at the Sephardic Temple, 775 Branch Blvd, Cedarhurst,  NY, when we will pay tribute to our esteemed honorees.


Shalom Task Force Legacy Award in memory of  Gustave Jacobs z’l

Community Leadership Award           Rabbi Aryeh & Mrs. Elana Lebowitz

Legal Services Award                         Lois Raff Bieler

Mental Health Services Award           Tina Machnikoff

Dedicated Service Award                    Sharon Fogel


In 1992, responding to the shocking revelation that there were women in the Orthodox community being victimized in their own homes, Nechama Wolfson, along with a group of women, created the Shalom Task Force Hotline.  This was a revolutionary and monumental feat at a time when the problem of domestic abuse was not acknowledged.  The groundbreaking confidential hotline was the very first hotline dedicated to Orthodox victims of abuse.   Since then, more than 19,000 callers have benefited from the advice and support of the highly trained advocates.  As Rav Pam z’l said at the inaugural Rabbinical Conference, “… previously, these women had no address.  They now have a place to turn.”


It became clear that if Shalom Task Force was to affect a change in the community, the focus must be on prevention.  With widespread rabbinic support, The Bertha Kaufmann Preventive Education Workshops for Young Men and Women were developed.  Educators trained by Shalom Task Force present programs in yeshiva high schools, seminaries and universities. They conduct interactive workshops that teach young men and women about forging healthy relationships and avoiding abusive ones. The program reaches over 3500 students annually in the US and Israel.   The goals of Shalom Task Force are further achieved through community outreach and education for Rabbonim, lay leaders, professionals and parents.  Recognizing the cultural diversity among our communities, Shalom Task Force established Beit Shalom to serve the Bukharian community and Ohel Shalom to serve the Persian community. The Shalom Workshop program was developed to assist engaged and newly married couples in forming and maintaining healthy relationships. 


Fulfilling another critical need, Sarah’s Voice was created to provide free legal services to victims of domestic abuse.   Since 2010 Sarah’s Voice has provided more than 700 survivors with free comprehensive legal services, including assistance with orders of protection, divorce proceedings and custody negotiations.


Please join Shalom Task Force as we pay tribute to Mr. Gustave Jacobs z”l with the Shalom Task Force Legacy Award.  Mr. Gustave Jacobs who was born in Germany, helped his family escape from Occupied France to Switzerland during World War II.  He immigrated to New York in 1946, where he established a business and raised a family, all the while remaining passionate about the needs of the greater Jewish community. Mr. Jacobs devoted countless hours to organizations dedicated to strengthening Jewish life everywhere.   He served on the Board of the Orthodox Union for over 40 years.  After his retirement, he returned to school and earned his MA in Jewish History. Mr. Jacobs took great pride in the achievements of his two daughters and large extended family. When Mr. Jacobs, through one of his daughters, learned of the groundbreaking achievements of Shalom Task Force he became a proud supporter of the organization’s goals. This year, we honor Mr. Jacob’s legacy by dedicating this Brunch to his memory.


Rabbi Aryeh & Rebbetzin Elana Lebowitz will receive the Shalom Task Force Community Leadership Award.


Rabbi and Mrs. Lebowitz are the proud parents of five children.  They have served as Rabbi and Rebbetzin of the Beis Haknesses of North Woodmere since its inception in 2004. Rabbi Lebowitz is a Magid Shiur at Beis Medrash L'Talmud/Lander College for Men, teaches at DRS Yeshiva High School and its affiliated with Lev Shlomo Beis Medrash.  Rebbetzin Elana Lebowitz is the heart and soul of the Beis Haknesses of North Woodmere and much of the North Woodmere community, while maintaining a professional career as an accountant.  The growth of the North Woodmere community over the past twelve years is due to their dedication, love and kindness.  Their ability to connect with people of all backgrounds and personalities is known throughout the Five Towns and beyond. 


Lois Raff Bieler, will receive the Shalom Task Force Legal Services Award.


After receiving her law degree from Yale Law School Ms. Raff worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Brooklyn DA’s office.  She was subsequently named Special Assistant for Legislation and Policy. In 1991, she joined the Queens County District Attorney’s Office under District Attorney Richard A. Brown, where she served as Director of Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations.  She was appointed Counsel to the District Attorney in 1993 until her retirement in October 2016.  Ms. Raff also served as her office’s liaison to the Queens Jewish community and coordinated a Jewish Advisory Council which fosters education, dialogue, outreach and cooperation between her office and the members of the community.  Ms. Raff also coordinated the office’s Business Advisory Council which performs a similar function for the business community in Queens. Lois is the proud mother of three children, grandmother of four and is looking forward to spending time with her family. As an attorney, she is all too familiar with the need for Shalom Task Force within the Orthodox community, and has been a strong advocate for the organization since its inception.


Tina Machnikoff will receive the Shalom Task Force Mental Health Services Award.


Tina grew up in Queens. She began her career as a history teacher. Her passion for helping others led her to a new field. Tina received her MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work.  While working at Pride of Judea / Jewish Board of Family and Children Services in Douglaston, Tina created the Ezrat Chayim program to help Orthodox families.  Tina is the mother of three daughters.  Currently, she maintains a private practice in Great Neck.  Today we recognize the passionate devotion Tina has brought to Shalom Task Force.


Sharon Fogel will receive the Shalom Task Force Dedicated Service Award.


Sharon Fogel has always been an involved and active member of her community.  While raising her three children, Sharon served as Sisterhood President of her shul, President of the Mikveh and Vice President of the local Jewish day school. After Sharon and her family moved from Albany to Woodmere, she focused her energies on her shul, the Annual Yom Hashoah Program in Beth Shalom, Shalom Task Force, Chesed 24/7, and The Marion and Aaron Gural Jewish Community Center in the Five Towns.   We are truly grateful for Sharon’s commitment and dedication to Shalom Task Force.  It is an honor to know her and to present her with the Shalom Task Force Dedicated Service Award.


This formidable organization is the only one of its kind in the Orthodox community. Abuse thrives in silence.  Please join us and our honorees on December 4th, 2016 at 9:30 at the Sephardic Temple in Cedarhurst and help us break the silence.


 For reservations, or to make a donation, please visit



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