The Jewish world lost a bright light, a man who was accessible to anyone who called for his guidance – in his immediate community and far beyond. Rabbi Yehuda Kelemer, 74, died on Friday and expressions of sorrow poured in quickly. He defined West Hempstead as it welcomed thousands of new residents. Common questions of kashrus in the kitchen were answered with a personal visit by Rabbi Kelemer, which in turn developed into meaningful relationships that fostered spiritual and personal growth.

In the last three decades of his life, Sheldon Adelson, 87, had an outsized influence on American and Israeli politics, fueled by an empire of casinos in Las Vegas, Macao, and Singapore that defined the skylines of these cities. Estimated by Bloomberg News as the world’s 37th wealthiest person, this cabdriver’s son was unapologetic and tough in his embrace of conservatism as he purchased newspapers and bankrolled successful presidential campaigns.

Following a Charidy fundraiser that earned more than $150,000 for the Queens Shmira volunteer patrol, the results were on display last Tuesday. “It is like having an additional member in our family,” coordinator Solomon Pinkhasov said of the Ford Taurus that was unveiled outside the Od Yosef Chai synagogue in Kew Gardens Hills. “People used to ask us why our vehicles were not marked with the Shmira name. With this patrol car, you can flag us down. It gives us a more official look.” This patrol car will be used in addition to members using their personal vehicles to keep our neighborhoods safe.

The center of the Jewish community in West Hempstead has been expanding in every direction, and all shuls, shops, and schools have been experiencing the need for more space. For Bais Torah U’Tefilah, or BTU, the relocation to a bigger facility is a walk across the street. “We have been getting ten to 15 new families joining each year, and we initially made plans to expand our current building before the opportunity came to move across the street” said Rabbi Uri Lesser, mara d’asra of BTU.

In contrast to the cabinet of outgoing President Donald Trump, which included many political supporters who previously served in Congress and prominent private enterprises, President-Elect Joe Biden has a more traditional cabinet that includes veterans of federal agencies with career and educational backgrounds relating to their nominated positions. The incoming cabinet also includes nominees with affiliations and backgrounds that connect to the Jewish community. The personal connection that comes from Biden’s Jewish grandchildren and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ husband is matched by the professional experiences of these individuals. While Trump leaned towards Orthodox and politically conservative Jews for support, Biden’s Jewish circle represents a wider denominational spectrum.

With less than a month remaining until the nonpartisan City Council special election for the 24th District seat, this publication is reminding readers to be aware of their poll sites and the candidates on the ballot, and to mark Tuesday, February 2, on your calendars. Having interviewed James Gennaro and Neeta Jain last month, we now turn to two more candidates who have reached out to the Queens Jewish Link but in actuality happen to be our neighbors and demonstrated a thorough knowledge of Jewish communal priorities. In a ranked choice election, voters can choose all of the candidates mentioned above, ranking them based on preference.