Citing his leadership in numerous projects, the Young Israel of West Hempstead presented its Young Leadership Award to Ari Hirsch, assistant editor of The Vues.
The awards were presented at the Young Israel’s 57th anniversary dinner, held Saturday night at the Sands.
Although Hirsch was reluctant to get involved in community activities when he first moved to West Hempstead, the spirit of involvement that permeates the community led him to reverse course. “I saw how involved people get in the community and how much they enjoy being part of shul and community and I felt obligated to join them.
So Hirsch joined the Simchas Torah Kiddush Community and then took a leadership role in the Motzei Shabbos Parent Child Learning Program. He spearheaded innovations,brought in popcorn and prizes each week and, most of all, came to cherish the opportunity to learn Torah with his children.
Accustomed to having late Shachris minyanim in Brooklyn, Hirsch created a 9 a.m. Shachris minyan each Sunday in West Hempstead. Until then, the latest minyan was at 8:30 a.m. And he began to recruit speakers to present Divrei Torah at one of the synagogue’s eight Shabbos minyanim.
In making the presentation, Rabbi Yehuda Kelemer likened Hirsch to Naftali, one of the shvatim mentioned in the Shabbos Torah reading. “He is like the gazelle who races
to give good news and he speaks beautiful words,” the rabbi said. The rabbi cited the many acts of chesed that Hirsch has done for the Jews of West Hempstead and for Jews throughout the metropolitan area. “You should continue to run, to race, and to do chesed the way that you do and never become exhausted.,” said Rabbi Kelemer.
The Young Israel presented its family of the year award to Bob and Gila Margulies. The synagogue presented its first lifetime service award to Gitta and Bernie Zivotofsky,who have been active for nearly half a century. Channie Stein received a community service award for her role in creating learning opportunities for women while Naomi Goldenberg received the Sisterhood Aishes Chayil award. Stephen Plotsker served as dinner chairman. Seymour Liebman is synagogue president.
The Young Israel of West Hempstead offers a wide variety of services and programs for its 700 member families.