Brooklyn News Review

COJO Staten Island Launches Fall 2023 Food Pantry

COJO Staten Island Launches Fall 2023 Food Pantry

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The Staten Island Council of Jewish Organizations (COJO) proudly inaugurated its Fall 2023 Food Pantry, a heartfelt initiative dedicated to the memory of the 1,300 victims of Hamas terror. It also serves as a merit for the safe return of the 220 hostages and the soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces combatting the evil of Hamas and terror. The food distribution event took place at the Aur Torah Sephardic Minyan in the New Springville section of Staten Island.

The concept of dedicating the launch of the Fall 2023 Food Pantry as a Mitzvah (a good deed) and a show of support for Israel was put forward by Rabbi Aharon Zeev, the esteemed Spiritual Leader of Aur Torah, according to Oshri Reuven, President of the congregation. Rabbi Zeev passionately articulated the need for such a charitable endeavor, stating that in a time marked by profound Jewish tragedy and national calamity, akin to the scale not seen since the Holocaust, it is incumbent upon the Jewish people to become better, more compassionate individuals. He emphasized that providing food to those who hunger is one of the highest forms of Tzedakah (charity), and his suggestion received full support from Iva Reuven, COJO Food Pantry and Social Services Director, and Mendy Mirocznik, COJO President. This collaborative effort brought the vital Mitzvah project to fruition.

Rabbi Zeev elaborated on the need for introspection and personal refinement in a world that often sees the prevalence of hate, evil, and anti-Semitism. By offering nourishment to neighbors and community members in need, individuals can become more empathetic and caring. Such actions spread Ahavas Achim (love and kindness). Rabbi Zeev concluded with a heartfelt blessing, hoping that their dedicated efforts through COJO would be a blessing and that this Mitzvah would help invoke mercy for Israel and lead to the eradication of terror, bringing everlasting peace to the region.

Mendy Mirocznik expressed his gratitude to Rabbi Aharon Zeev, President Oshri Reuven, and the entire Aur Torah Sephardic Minyan family for hosting the COJO Pantry. Their generosity, he noted, “is the cornerstone of the pantry’s success.” He further expressed the hope that this Mitzvah project would contribute to the swift and peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict, praying for all innocent victims of the war and the elimination of terror and its agents. He specifically mentioned the Israeli Defense Forces and their mission to obliterate Hamas, asking for divine protection and their safe return to their families.

Mirocznik extended his thanks to the NYPD, Chief Joseph Gulotta, NYPD Staten Island Borough Commander, Chief Terence Hurson, Executive Officer, Patrol Borough Staten Island, Lt. Rafet Awad, Commanding Officer, Community Affairs, Patrol Borough Staten Island, Sgt. Dennis Hu, Commanding Officer, Neighborhood Coordinating Officers, Patrol Borough Staten Island, Inspector Eric Waldhelm, Commanding Officer, NYPD 121st Precinct, and his officers, Officer Chris Barraco and Officer Ahmad Abdella, for their exceptional partnership in making the COJO Fall 2023 Food Pantry launch a resounding success. From packing food packages to traffic control, the NYPD played a pivotal role, and their dedication was deeply appreciated by COJO.

Mirocznik concluded by commending Iva Reuven and her dedicated team, whom he referred to as, “the true inspirational heroes behind the food pantry. Their efforts combat hunger, poverty, and food insecurity, and their Mitzvah is a benefit and merit for the Jewish community.”

Chief Hurson from the NYPD expressed their appreciation for the excellent working relationship with COJO and Mendy Mirocznik, acknowledging the organization’s role in building community relations and rallying support for the NYPD. The Chief emphasized the NYPD’s commitment to protecting the community during challenging times and looked forward to continuing and strengthening this NYPD-COJO partnership, which enhances public safety and the quality of life across Staten Island.

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