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Board Celebrates Jewish History & Heritage Month

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White Plains, NY — On Monday night, the Westchester County Board of Legislators celebrated Jewish History and Heritage Month with a special ceremony honoring the Anti-Defamation League of New York/New Jersey; John B. Harris, former Chair of ADL NY/NJ and currently a member of the ADL National Executive Committe, and Evan Bernstein, ADL New York/New Jersey Regional Director; as well as J-Teen Leadership, a program of the UJA-Federation of New York.


In delivering the event's invocation, Rabbi Andrew Ergas of the Westchester Board of Rabbis noted that the gathering took place amid a recent wave of violent attacks at synagogues, churches and mosques across the world.


He added, "Here, in between the darkness and the light, we have to look backwards.  We have to remember that there have been dark periods before us, but we have always overcome them through light and through memory."


Legislator Mike Kaplowitz (D - Yorktown, New Castle, Somers) presented a proclamation to the ADL New York/New Jersey, and to Evan Bernstein, who was unable to attend due to illness.  


Legislator Kitley Covill (D - Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers), presented a proclamation to John B. Harris, former Chair of ADL NY/NJ and currently a member of the ADL National Executive Committee.


The ADL, founded in 1913, is a leading anti-hate organization.  Among its many programs, ADL NY/NJ runs anti-bias and anti-bullying programs for school children and school personnel including programs in many Westchester schools.


"ADL has been on the front lines of combating anti-Semitism, fighting hate, educating, and advocating for justice and fair treatment for all," Harris said.


He added, "ADL remains for me as important today as it was at the time of its founding.  It works as an advocate, as a proponent for stereotyped minorities, and, we hope, as a conscience for a badly divided nation."


Legislator Nancy Barr (D - Harrison, Port Chester, Rye Brook), presented a proclamation to J-Teen Leadership, a program of the UJA-Federation of New York. J-Teen is a Westchester-based community service and leadership development organization that promotes community service projects planned by teens for teens. Nearly 1,000 teen volunteers participate annually in its programs.


Speaking on behalf of J-Teen Leadership, Abe Baker-Butler, Advocacy Chair and Elected Officials Liaison, said, "J-Teen has empowered me and countless other teens to harness their passions to repair the world."


Explaining that the group, founded with a service trip to New Orleans to help in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, also holds annual interfaith gatherings for teens in Westchester, Baker-Butler said, "J-Teen embraces the belief that by bringing teens together from different faith backgrounds, we can create a less divided future."

 

(PICTURED ABOVE L to R: J-Teen Leadership members Chris Suscal and Nathaniel Levin, Board Chair Ben Boykin, J-Teen Leadership Executive Director Guy Felixbrodt, J-Teen Leadership member Abe Baker-Butler, Leg. Nancy Barr, J-Teen Leadership Program Director and Leadership Coach Sarah Toledano, Westchester Jewish Council President Lisa Roberts, WJC Executive Director Elliot Forchheimer)

 

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(L to R: Board Chair Ben Boykin, ADL’s John B. Harris, Westchester Jewish Council President Lisa Roberts, WJC Executive Director Elliot Forchheimer, Leg. Mike Kaplowitz)
 
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(L to R: Board Chair Ben Boykin, ADL’s John B. Harris, Leg. Kitley Covill, Westchester Jewish Council President Lisa Roberts, WJC Executive Director Elliot Forchheimer)

 

 

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