The Queens Jewish Community Council (QJCC) has selected long-time Jewish communal worker and Queens resident Mayer Waxman to serve as their next executive director.
QJCC is the nonsectarian, non-denominational umbrella organization representing and uniting more than 130 Jewish organizations in Queens, which together serve hundreds of thousands of Jews. QJCC has been around for more than 50 years. QJCC advocates with local as well as with city and state politicians to help assure that the needs of Queens Jews are met and that their concerns, including issues regarding Israel, are heard and addressed. QJCC’s annual legislative breakfast tends to attract all local politicians who want to express their relevant platforms to local Jewish leaders.
The agency has staff community workers who are the go-to for Queens rabbis and community leaders who have a congregant or member with a social service need. Aside from assisting residents with guidance on benefits, entitlements and insurance, QJCC provides a kosher walk-in food pantry, as well as delivered, prepared kosher meals for homebound community members. QJCC serves to represent Queens to citywide Jewish organizations such as The UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, and in turn is the Queens location for disseminating relevant agenda items from such organizations among Jewish leaders in Queens. QJCC not only provides food through Met Council in Queens, but QJCC is the exclusive liaison for Met Council to Queens’ burgeoning Bukharian Jewish Community.
QJCC’s active and committed board of directors is made up of leaders from many of the diverse Jewish organizations that make up Queens’ variegated Jewish community. QJCC holds several Jewish cultural events throughout the year, together attracting thousands of Jewish and other community members of all ages.
Mayer Waxman, who will be only the fourth executive director in the agency’s five decades, has an impressive history of serving the Jewish community as well as in general social service, particularly in Queens. Waxman is a licensed social worker and holds a second master’s degree, in forensic psychology, from City University’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He comes to QJCC after more than six years as the managing director at Selfhelp Community Services in charge of senior centers. All five of Selfhelp’s senior centers are in Queens – two in Flushing, and one each in Bayside, in Maspeth, and (a kosher site) in Forest Hills – and together serve some 10,000 seniors a year – about 800 a day. Before that, Waxman ran Met Council’s FEMA-funded Disaster Case Management program to help victims of Superstorm Sandy, which included an office in Far Rockaway and a part-time site in Breezy Point. Waxman also worked in Kew Gardens for a short time with Rabbi Elchonon Zohn’s National Association of Chevra Kadisha, and served as the Jewish Community liaison for Assemblyman David Weprin’s successful 2010 special election campaign to represent Assembly District 24.
Waxman, an ordained rabbi, spent 12 years at the Orthodox Union, most of which as the OU’s Director of Synagogue Services, creating and coordinating national programs and publications to support synagogues and Jewish communities across North America. More locally, for 20 years Rabbi Waxman has led an annex High Holiday service in the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates, where he has also been running a Shabbos Daf Yomi group in the present cycle. Waxman, who minored in speech and drama, has also dabbled in the creative arts, playing two popular characters on Jewish viral videos, and was a runner-up in a Funniest Rabbi competition at “Stand Up New York.”
“Waxman’s creativity, energy, knowledge of social services, of programming, of Jewish communal service agencies, and of the unique and diverse Queens community makes him the perfect candidate for the role,” said Michael Nussbaum, president of the QJCC. The agency owns a building in Kew Gardens Hills, on Main Street near Jewel Avenue, and Nussbaum notes, “An early focus of Mayer’s tenure will be to oversee the completion of the site’s construction project so that QJCC will be able to have a presence in the heart of Queens’ largest and most vibrant Jewish epicenter.” QJCC envisions the site serving as a central meeting place for communal leaders, as well as a hub for social service.
Further details about QJCC, as well as contact and sponsorship information, can be found at www.QJCC.org.