Staten Island On Tuesday, August 21, 2018, a crowd of a few hundred gathered at the Staten Island Yankees located at the Richmond County Ball Park in the St. George section of Staten Island to celebrate the 50 Plus 1 Celebration and Awards Ceremony of the Staten Island Council of Jewish Organizations (COJO-SI).
COJO was established in 1967 as the central coordinating and resource organization for the Staten Island Jewish Community which currently boasts a constituency of 40, 000 and growing. COJO-SI is also a proud founder and charter member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, (JCRC-NY).
Among the elected officials in attendance were New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Bronx Borough President Reuben Diaz, Richmond County District Attorney Michael McMahon, Assemblyman Michael Cusick, Assemblyman Matthew Titone, Assemblyman Ron Castorina, and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis. Also, in attendance was Richmond County Public Administrator Anthony Catalano, and Deputy Consul General of Israel, Israel Nitzan.
Among the NYPD top brass in attendance were Chief Kenneth Corey, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Staten Island, Inspector Thomas Delahanty, Patrol Borough Staten Island, and Inspector Mark Molinari, commanding officer of the Hate Crimes Task Force.
COJO-SI honored at this gala celebrating a half a century of COJO’s service to Staten Island the venerable legendary Rebbetzin Bonita Nathan-Sussman with the COJO Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognized Rebbetzin Sussman’s 36 years of ongoing service to COJO, Congregation Temple Emanu-El and the broader Staten Island Community.
Mendy Mirocznik, president of COJO stated, “that Rebbetzin Sussman plays a pivotal role in COJO and she has been a COJO stalwart for the last 36 years since her arrival in Staten Island….tonight’s award to Rebbetzin Sussman is just a mere thank you for the great debt of gratitude owed to Rebbetzin Sussman, and we at COJO look forward to continuing our work for a better community.”
Mirocznik stated that we must always remember the vision of Rabbi Joseph Harris the then Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island who founded and organized COJO in 1967 during the Six Day War as well as to Carl Berkowitz, Gerald E. Cabot, Norman Delman, Rabbi Saul Eisner, Max Gersinger, Nathan Levy, Alan Newman, Zev Scharf, Emmanuel Saks the COJO Presidents who have molded COJO into the wonderful agency that it is today. Mirocznik stated, “the key is leadership and thanks to the efforts of these great leaders COJO has blossomed into what it is today, a highly respected and renown advocate for Staten Island.”
Mirocznik, further stated, “that tonight is an evening where we celebrate 50 Plus years of serving the Staten Island Community as the umbrella organization. We are proud of our past and are optimistic of our bright future.” Mirocznik praised Arthur Koplowitz from Congregation Aviv Hadash, Ann & Roy Moskowitz from Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, David Braylovski from the Jewish Russian Learning Center, Arthur Greenberg from Congregation Temple Emanu-El and posthumously Dr. Gerald Strum from Congregation Toras Emes, the hard-working honorees from the COJO member organizations as the heart and soul of Staten Island. Mirocznik called them, “the foundation of our community’s success.”
Mirocznik then went on to praise Scott Maurer the Chief Executive Officer of COJO and stated, “that in no small measure is our success, growth, and rejuvenation attributable to our dear friend Scott Maurer. Scott lives COJO 24/7 and he always says Yes. The word No does not exist in his vocabulary. Thanks to Scott we are flourishing.” Maurer responded, “that working for COJO, the Community, the State of Israel is an easy sell. It is easy because of what COJO accomplishes as an organization and that is building a strong vibrant community.”
Israeli Deputy Consul General Nitzan praised COJO as being, “the great connector of the State of Israel to Staten Island.” Nitzan added, that thanks to Scott Maurer’s love for the state of Israel, Staten Island has a warm relationship with the State of Israel…and I look forward to continuing my collaboration with COJO in the years ahead.”
Bronx Borough President Reuben Diaz commented, “what I have witnessed tonight is a testament to the hard work of Mendy Mirocznik and Scott Maurer…the Staten island COJO truly is an exemplary model of how COJO as a big tent unites not only the Jewish Community but all communities that comprise Staten Island… It is a pleasure to see that people from all walks of life are breaking bread under the COJO banner and bonding strong relationships. Tonight’s affair is a statement how unity and diversity should cooperate to benefit all New Yorkers.”
Scott Maurer thanked Congregation Temple Emanu-El for housing COJO and enabling COJO for carrying out its advocacy mission. Maurer stated, “Congregation Temple Emanu-El is the generous Synagogue with a warm heart. If not for the generosity of this Temple, I dare say there would be no COJO.” Maurer concluded with announcing the reorganization of the COJO Anita Fein Kosher Food Pantry at Congregation Temple Emanu-El.”