2018-09-05 / Features

The Astoria Center Of Israel Honors Rabbi Pearl


(L. to r.): Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, chaplain FDNY and executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis; Rabbi Jonathan Pearl of Astoria Center of Israel; Rabbi Alvin Kass, chief chaplain NYPD. (L. to r.): Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, chaplain FDNY and executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis; Rabbi Jonathan Pearl of Astoria Center of Israel; Rabbi Alvin Kass, chief chaplain NYPD. The Astoria Center of Israel (ACI) has honored Rabbi Jonathan Pearl on his 10th anniversary with the synagogue for his decade of devoted and inspiring leadership, as well as his active service to the Astoria community and participation in its many civic groups. The special event, held earlier this summer at the historic synagogue, was attended by Astoria community leaders and dignitaries, as well as the chaplains of the NYPD and FDNY. It featured lively music, religious readings, and tributes to Rabbi Pearl.

Rabbi Pearl’s dynamic and dedicated leadership and outreach over the past 10 years has brought about a revitalization of the historic congregation, which had been in decline in recent decades. It is now a thriving center with many educational, religious, and social programs serving a multi-generational and vibrant community.

(L. to r.): Ed Babor, Queens representative for Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, and Pat Babor present Rabbi Jonathan Pearl with a Congressional Citation of Honor from Maloney.(L. to r.): Ed Babor, Queens representative for Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, and Pat Babor present Rabbi Jonathan Pearl with a Congressional Citation of Honor from Maloney.In a play on Pearl’s last name, Rabbi Alvin Kass, chief chaplain of the NYPD said, “There is unanimity in the Jewish and general community that Rabbi Jonathan Pearl is an adornment to this synagogue, and he is a precious gem who has added so much to the luster of Jewish leadership in this city.”

Rabbi Pearl’s wife and young-adult children were also honored, as they have been an instrumental part of reinvigorating this special Astoria institution, through their copious volunteer work in its school, events programming, and musical aspects. Speaking at the ceremony, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, chaplain of the FDNY, addressed Rabbi Pearl and said, “What you have shown us is that it’s not enough to be successful, you have to be significant, you have to try to make a difference in the lives of other people. That’s what you and your gifted family have done for all of us. You’ve made a difference in our lives, and made each of us feel significant.”

114th Precinct Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Osvaldo Nunez (second from l.), Judy and Rabbi Jonathan Pearl (third and fourth from l.), 114th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Carlos Chacon (far r.).114th Precinct Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Osvaldo Nunez (second from l.), Judy and Rabbi Jonathan Pearl (third and fourth from l.), 114th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Carlos Chacon (far r.).The Astoria Center of Israel has been a beacon of the community for over 90 years, and is on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. At this time of year, the synagogue is in the midst of observances for the Jewish High Holidays: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.


(L. to r.): Rabbi Jonathan Pearl and Monsignor Fernando Ferrarese.(L. to r.): Rabbi Jonathan Pearl and Monsignor Fernando Ferrarese.
(L. to r.): Judy Pearl, Rabbi Jonathan Pearl, Ann Bruno, president of the 114th Precinct Community Council.(L. to r.): Judy Pearl, Rabbi Jonathan Pearl, Ann Bruno, president of the 114th Precinct Community Council.

Honorees Rabbi Jonathan Pearl, wife Judy, and their children, Eitan (l.), Ayelet (c.), and Noam (r.). Honorees Rabbi Jonathan Pearl, wife Judy, and their children, Eitan (l.), Ayelet (c.), and Noam (r.).

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