Congresswoman Grace Meng Responds To Jewish Community

These days you can invent an app, start a blog, and sell stuff online; but if you are a DJ, you are going to need to start with one track. If this melody is real enough and honest enough, and if it is made of everything that has made you, including where you come from, who you knew, and your overall history, then you may have a chance at connecting with everyone else, and maybe that is precisely your ticket to everything that is to come.

The Queens Networking Event of the Year, sponsored by the Queens Jewish Link, the Bukharian Jewish Link, the Chazaq Organization, and Step Ahead Networking was held this past Wednesday evening, February 19, at the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates. Men and women filed in early, at 6:30 p.m., to further their business contacts and gain a new perspective on their current trade operations. Prior to the community talk, everyone mingled alongside a robust sushi spread provided by Sushi Kingdom on Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills.

In the main sanctuary, Yaakov Serle, co-publisher of the Queens Jewish Link and the Bukharian Jewish Link, welcomed the audience and thanked the individual sponsors for their dedication to the two newspapers, ensuring their continued operation to serve the Queens community. Serle introduced Ronald Fatoullah, of Ronald Fatoullah & Associates, who spoke of his firm’s ability to meet the challenges of aging with a dignified and sustainable financial plan for immediate, long-term, or estate-planning needs. Fatoullah stressed that “it does not matter how young you are or old you are. Let’s say you are getting married; you should have a will” in place to assure your financial necessities are secured as you begin life anew. Later, Serle familiarized the group with Queens Borough President Candidate Elizabeth Crowley, who took a moment to highlight the diversity of Queens shining through those gathered. Crowley then noted that one of her first acts, if elected, would be the establishment of a special anti-Semitism task force to combat the rise of hate and stem any rise in the borough.

Rabbi Lazer Brody, a distinguished orator from Israel, delivered a talk entitled “Potential Plus: Expanding the Limits of Your Abilities.” The rabbi began by proving that networking is one the 613 commandments enumerated in the Torah. He went on to explain that the concept of the Daf Yomi project and the many Siyum HaShas programs held throughout the world are a prime example of the power of networking, where individuals who have no link other than reviewing the same pages of the Talmud each day joined in unison to complete its repetition. Rabbi Brody then related that the waters of the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee in Israel, were terribly receded when, miraculously, as the siyumim were occurring, rainfall increased at an unprecedented rate, and currently the waters are bountiful. This, explained the rabbi, is the power of networking, where we can fulfill our dreams beyond our minds’ wildest imaginations. “When you network, you look for what you can gain from the other person.” This is the most unselfish deed one can undertake, and clarifies the notion in the Torah of loving your friend like yourself.

We are each placed in this world for a purpose. “When we network,” explained Rabbi Brody, “we help one another learn who we are as we hone into each other’s talents.” Networking also reduces the need to compete and, instead, allows competitors to unite. Rabbi Brody cited a chance meeting earlier in the day with Rabbi David Ashear and one with Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein, where, instead of steering away from hearing the words of his contenders, he rather embraced their inspiring stories, because networking brings you to a higher level. “If we want to give Hashem gratification, we must pull together.”

Following the keynote address, the crowd moved to the ballroom, where a delicious SoySauce Chinese buffet awaited. There, groups were seen exchanging business cards and sharing valuable resources. Business-minded folks attend networking events for a variety of reasons, but the trade of ideas and riveting discussion remain constant.

The Networking Event was also a time for contributors of the publications to meet one another and socialize. Political analyst and columnist Moshe Hill was engrossed in deep conversation with Izzo Zwiren of the Jewish Living Podcast and “The Way It Iz” weekly column, while Avi Conway of PrimeMedia Distribution was making his rounds, absorbed in furthering his contacts. Warren Hecht of “For What It’s Worth,” Meira Schneider-Atik of “Style Myths Debunked,” Cynthia Zalisky of the QJCC, Sergey Kadinsky, and others circulated amongst those assembled.

Hadley Margolis, of the Brooklyn-based Best Payroll, once again had a booth at the networking event to offer HR and payroll services to the community. “The prospects at the Queens Jewish Link Networking Events are always promising,” noted Margolis.

When a chasidic attendee sought a connection with a participant in homecare services, Faith Bernal of FAB was quick to jump into the chat. This interaction exemplified the depth of a networking event at its best, where those who would never meet are provided such an opportunity.

Serle joined the team of Ronald Fatoullah & Associates at their display table to draw the first raffle of the evening for Max and Mina’s Ice Cream. The next drawing, for a Dunkin’ Donuts accessory basket, was chosen by the wonderful team from Chase Bank Kew Gardens Hills Branch and awarded to Hiroe “Mimi” Takeuchi, an anti-aging and nutritionist consultant. Later, Queens Borough Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Crowley joined Mrs. Jennifer Martin of Schwartz Brothers-Jeffer Memorial Chapels to draw three winners for $50 Visa gift cards.

Barry Cohen of JiffyJunk.com was excited by the prospects of the event and hoped to use the contacts he established to further his business’ goals. His wife Beth Ann made a bunch of connections offering her health and skin care assessments and products.

The Zionist Organization of America representatives spent much of the evening educating attendees on the need to vote in the ongoing World Zionist Organization elections and help ensure that our values are protected throughout Israel against the Reform ideology. Many were encouraged by the notion that they can make a difference from New York City and voted right there. It is important to vote to ensure that the Israeli public school children are taught correct dogma during their Hebrew study hour, that the billions of dollars of allocated funds are properly disbursed, and that we fight to protect the religious Orthodox identity in the land of Israel. A vote today can easily stop Reform conversions, maintain the integrity of Shabbos Kodesh, minimize the civil marriage agenda, halt pro-BDS actions, allow for settlements to expand, and keep the holiness of the Kosel intact.

Mark Krieger, of Step Ahead Networking, noted, “I am delighted to see such a varied group of businesspeople come out to expand their knowledge.”

The lessons of a networking event encourage us as individuals to pursue our dreams. Sometimes this may require one to go back to school, seek a job you have been yearning, or take a class that inspires you to simply feel better about yourself. Other times, it may entail one to just go out and do what you truly enjoy and find a way to make the most of these activities as your career.

We must never forget to feel the energy of the small things in our world from the subtle sounds of the outdoors to the rhythm of our heartbeat. It is incumbent upon us to attempt to slow down these noises and feel the presence of Hashem and allow our innermost self to emerge.

If you feel yourself in a rut and are unsure if you want to stay at the same job or remain in the same environment; take a moment to sit back and contemplate: “Do you feel like there is a lot more that you can be doing?” Often one may ask himself, “Am I immersed in quality achievements; can I be better than this?” This instance of query is the best part of life, because it is a moment before your journey takes off. Never forget, your friends are those in your network.

Photos by
Saul Joseph