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Jewish American Heritage Month Celebration - 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Congressional Tribute to talents and contributions of the American Jewish Community to the American society

Washington, D.C. -  In creating a tradition, May has been designated as Jewish Heritage Month to celebrate the talents and contributions of the American Jewish Community to the American society. May 22, 2013, a ceremony was held in the ornate U.S. Capitol to celebrate just that.

Greg Rosenbaum, Co-Chair of the Jewish American Heritage Month Foundation, acknowledged the importance of the Friedlander Group’s event as an integral part of the Washington, DC celebration: “Honoring distinguished Jewish Americans who have contributed so much to our nation in the Capitol Building fulfills the purpose of Jewish American Heritage Month this May and its promise for years to come.”

The Congressional Tribute event was opened by Allen Rothenberg, one of the esteemed honoree of the day singing the National Anthem in the presence of his senator, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Allen Rothenberg, the founder of The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP has served as the national president of COLPA, the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs. In his speech Senator Casey highlighted Allen Rothenberg’s dedication and voice of fighting for religious freedom.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire complimented honoree Simcha Eichenstein, who advises the the New York State Comptroller and predicted a great future in public service for Mr. Eichenstein. Senator Shaheen in her remarks honored former New Hampshire Senator, Warren Rudman a great Jewish American leader. She presented awards to Rabbi Elie Abadie, M.D. the spiritual leader of the The Edmond J. Safra Synagogue that is celebrating its 10th anniversary.The Safra Synagogue has flourished and become home to the Sephardic community of New York’s Upper East Side and visitors from around the world. Senator Shaheen presented awards to 10 founding families of the Synagogue.

Chairman Greg Rosenbaum, introduced Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio as a champion of middle class families. Senator Brown in his comments quoted Rabbi Abraham Yehoshua Heshel, a great leader of the civil rights movement “What begins as inequality of some inevitably ends as inequality of all” highlighting the strive to economic justice of Jewish teachings. Senator Brown introduced honoree, Daniel E. Kestenbaum founding director of Kestenbaum & Company, a New York City based boutique auction house. Mr. Kestenbaum regards the essential core value of his company as seeking out and subsequently publicizing the importance of Judaic historical artifacts that are crucial to a keener understanding of one’s Jewish identity and thus leading to a more upstanding appreciation for ethical citizenry.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut expressed a special meaning to the celebration that reminds him to his parents and heritage. He highlighted that this country gave a chance to his immigrant parents and this country created an environment that enables us to be strong for our faith and Israel. Senator Blumenthal presented an award to honoree Simcha Eichenstein and praised him for upholding the highest ethics and Jewish commitment to public service.

Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, Congressman Brad Schneider of Illinois, introduced by Master of Ceremonies Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis, highlighted the theme of the Congressional Tribute, which is to commemorate Jewish American Heritage in honor of Jewish contributions in business, government, military service, political life, health and science.

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, the Executive Vice President of the America Friends of Lubavitch, complimented Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group that organized the Tribute Event, for being able to bring out unique aspects of Jewish life. Rabbi Shemtov spoke about the weekly Torah reading and about the Jewish ethic that commends a person to see beyond oneself to community and society.

Congressman Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts celebrated the honorees, who “epitomize the value of the Jewish community and American experience.”

David Mandel, CEO of OHEL Children’s Home and Family Service introduced Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida. It was the Congresswoman’s urging that May was proclaimed by the President and Congress Jewish American Month. Representative Wasserman-Schultz congratulated The Friedlander Group’s effort to put together the celebration and Greg Rosenbaum for his commitment to have Jewish American Heritage Month take root. The Congresswoman highlighted the importance to educate Members of Congress and all Americans about the impact Jews have had throughout American History. Representative Wasserman-Schultz presented an award to Harvey and Gloria Kaylie, stalwart supporters of OHEL.Since 1969, OHEL has been helping people of all ages surmount everyday challenges, heal from trauma, and manage with strength and dignity during times of crises, in the realm of foster care, housing, outpatient counseling and day programs. Driven by a shared vision to break-down stigma in the community, the Kaylie’s provided the seed capital for OHEL to open the ground-breaking Camp Kaylie at OHEL – the first-of-its-kind integrated summer camp for kids of all abilities.


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