2002-10-12 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey,

Democratic District Leader

Interfaith Rally For Peace In Israel...
A Tremendous Success

Jack King and I chaired a Rally for Peace in Israel, which took place last Sunday, October 6th at the Knights of Columbus. The rally was attended by over 300 people and had a standing room only crowd. The large turnout is a testament to the good will that exists among the people of the Rockaways, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park.

What a delight it is to work with Jack King. He is personable, capable, energetic, enthusiastic and hard working. The rally was Jack's vision. He had a dream and he worked to have that dream become a reality - a rally for peace in Israel. He and his wife Eleanor are a dynamic duo.

Police Officer Kerry Darden, from the New York City Police Department's ceremonial unit, lead us in a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

The rally brought together clergy of many faiths. Rabbi Alan Blaine of Temple Beth El opened the Rally.  Rabbi Blaine is an outstanding scholar of the Torah. His writings are inspirational. (I would strongly recommend that everyone read his article on Hope printed last week. It is worth reading and saving). Rabbi Blaine's continued support and guidance was essential to the success of the Rally. I would also like to thank his wife, Susanne Blaine, who is the Chairperson of the English Department of the Yeshiva of Flatbush and who serves on the New York State Department of Education Advisory Council for her support.

The first speaker was Monsignor Martin Geraghty, the pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church. Monsignor Geraghty has a long and valued tradition of supporting interfaith activities. He has the ability to unify and motivate others to move toward a shared goal. Monsignor has a sincere hope that there will be peace in the Holy Land and that people will come together with love. He is following in the well established tradition started by Monsignor Jerome J. Reddy at St. Francis de Sales where he erected, in 1947, a monument honoring a Rabbi, a Priest and two Ministers who died in WW II on February 4, 1943. They gave their life vests to four servicemen and sacrificed their lives to save their fellow man. The monument symbolizes the feeling of friendship, sisterhood and brotherhood that permeate our community. Every February, St. Francis de Sales holds a community ceremony at the monument to remember and celebrate the outreach that we feel.

Reverend Jan Powell, from the First Congregational Church, gave a motivational talk on the importance of peace in Israel.  She is reaching out to work with all people in our area. She is leading her congregation in an effort to make the world a better place in which to live, to work and raise our families.

Rabbi Melvin May, from the West End Temple, and Rabbi M. Berkowitz, from Congregation Ohab Zedak, strongly support peace in Israel. Reverend Alex Pierre from the First Methodist Church spoke on the necessity for good relationships among people of all faiths. He has written a book on the need for understanding between Christians and Jews.

Harvey Gordon, the Director of the Jewish Community Council served as valuable resource for our rally. Thanks to him for his wise counsel, professional advice and continued efforts to make the rally a success.

Sharon Gabriel is to be complimented for designing the flyer, which was distributed announcing the rally.  Sharon is the President of the Regular Democratic Club of the Rockaways and the vice president of the Rockaway Music and Arts Council.

Mike Benn, the QPTV host of "Eyes of the Irish," a weekly show on Monday at 7:30 p.m., videotaped the proceedings of the rally and will present them on his show. Mike Benn is a multi-talented, TV personality and producer. He is an outstanding leader in the Irish community and serves as the President of the James Conway Sullivan Queens St.  Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee.  Thanks to Mike Benn.

Kudos go to Eileen and Herman Schmitt. They are the Directors of Music at St. Francis de Sales. They are very talented professionals. Their rendition of America the Beautiful and God Bless America touched everyone. It is truly rare to find such extraordinarily gifted professionals who are willing to share their training and talents so willingly with the community.

Congressman Anthony Weiner enthusiastically and energetically supported the Rally. In his remarks at the Rally, Congressman Weiner noted that only in the 9th Congressional District could we have a Rally to support Peace in Israel, which is held in the Knights of Columbus. He noted that the overwhelming turnout is a testament to the wonderful people of our district. Congressman Weiner arranged for a speaker from the Israeli Consulate. The speaker was Simona Frankel, the Deputy Counsel General from the Israeli Consulate. Frankel is a career diplomat who has served in the Netherlands, Geneva and Nepal. She is a graduate of Hebrew University Law School. She brought greetings to us from the Consul General and expresses the warm wishes of the people of Israel. 

As President Bush clearly stated "the citizens of Israel are living in the middle of death, fear and terrorism. The hatred of a few holds the hopes of many hostages. The forces of extremism and terror are trying to destroy peace and progress."

Today we are here to stand up for and be united in our efforts "to give peace a chance." Where men and women of good will and firm reasoning come together we can celebrate our commonalties and our differences.

We need to spread the word throughout our communities and to educate our friends, neighbors and elected officials regarding the urgency for peace now. The peace process is currently under attack.

Pictured at the Rally to Support Israel held at the Knights of Columbus are: Harvey Gorden, Director of the Jewish Community Council; Rabbi Alan Blaine, Temple Beth-El; Dr. Geraldine Chapey and Jack King co-chairs of the Rally; Rabbi M. Berkowitz, Congregation Ohab Zedak; Rev. Alex Pierre, First Methodist Church; Steve Cooper, Commander Jewish War Vetrans, Weiner Post; Dr. Geraldine Chapey; Renee Freeman, Chairperson of Hadassah; Monsignor Martin Geraghty, Pastor of St. Francis de Sales; Dolores Orr, President of Community Plannning Board 14; Frank Galuscio, Democratic District Leader Part A; Sharon Gabriel, President of the Regular Democratic Club of the Rockaways; Selma Frank, Hadassah; and Fred Stahl.

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