On Sunday morning, December 4, Shalom Task Force celebrated their annual Brunch at the Sephardic Temple. After enjoying an elaborate breakfast, those in attendance watched a program which opened with a vignette portraying a powerful, yet typical, call to the Shalom Task Force Hotline. The packed room was silent with all eyes and ears glued to the stage. Following introductory remarks by Esther Williams, president of Shalom Task Force, the Community Leadership Award was presented to Rabbi Aryeh and Mrs. Elana Lebowitz. Rabbi Lebowitz, in his eloquent words, expressed his appreciation and admiration for the important work of Shalom Task Force. He drew a startling connection between the recent fires in Israel and unrest in a home. Rabbi Lebowitz called for those in attendance, and for Klal Yisrael in general, to act with great resolve toward supporting victims and survivors of abuse and to work toward prevention of such situations.
L-R: Rabbi and Mrs. Aryeh and Elana Lebowitz - Community Service Award, Supervisor Anthony Santino Councilman Bruce A. Blakeman, Esther Williams – President Shalom Task Force, Howard Kopel - Nassau County Legislature, Aviva Hoch – Accepting the Legacy Award in memory of Gustave Jacobs A"H, Tina Machnikoff - Mental Health Services Award, Lois Raff Bieler -- Legal Services Award, Laura Curran-Nassau County Legislature, Stacey Pheffer Amato - New York State Assembly, representing District 23 (NYC), Audrey Pheffer- Queens County Clerk Commissioner of Jurors, Pesach Osina – Liaison for NYC Controller Scott Stringer, Daniel Pollack – Community Liaison for Congresswoman Grace Meng
Esther Williams presented a beautiful tribute to the memory of Mr. Gustave Jacobs z”l with the Shalom Task Force Legacy Award. Esther, who worked with Mr. Jacobs on many community projects, spoke movingly about their shared passion for helping others. Mr. Jacobs’ daughter, Judy Frankel, gratefully accepted the tribute and thanked the organization’s many dedicated volunteers.
Lois Raff Bieler was then presented with the Legal Services Award. Lois, who just recently retired from a sterling career as an attorney and liaison to the Jewish community in the office of the District Attorney of Queens, has been a supporter of the organization for many years. Her fervent remarks and appeal to the community were certainly impactful.
The Mental Health Services award was accepted by Tina Machnikoff. Tina spoke of her commitment to helping members of our community, and how Shalom Task Force was an example of an organization which is actively fulfilling its mission.
Finally, with enormous grace, Sharon Fogel accepted the Dedicated Service Award. Sharon embodies the knowledge and compassion shared by all of the Shalom Task Force advocates and volunteers.
The program closed with the stirring words of Rachel Marks, a Board Member. She spoke of the broad range of programs, geared both to helping victims, and to creating and strengthening healthy relationships.
The individuals honored this year drew beautiful and poignant parallels to the services offered by Shalom Task Force. By honoring Rabbi and Mrs. Lebowitz, community leaders, Tina Machnikoff, a mental health professional, Lois Raff Bieler, an attorney and Sharon Fogel, a dedicated volunteer, the organization was able to highlight many of its unique programs. Shalom Task Force prides itself on a two-prong approach, providing crisis support through the confidential Hotline and Sarah’s Voice, our legal department, as well as preventative education for students, young adults, community members, leaders and professionals.
Shalom Task Force was grateful for the overwhelming turnout by Rabbonim, political representatives and community members. Shalom Task Force is devoted to helping our community – but they can’t do it without you! Shalom Task Force is always there to answer the call. Please answer THEIR call!
For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org.