2007-06-15 / Columnists

On The Beach

Commentary By Beverly Baxter

BEVERLY BAXTER During the past week, I had the wonderful pleasure of attending the milestone occasions of two Rockaway institutions that have become woven into the fabric of so many lives. West End Temple celebrated its 68th Annual Journal Dinner Dance at The Sands in Atlantic Beach, and as always, it was a great success. The fete honored three individuals who have, by their dedication, time and talent, contributed much to the temple family; and who, by their example, have set the tone for its continued legacy as an integral part of our spiritual lives.

Ronni and Harold Schwab, as Trustees of the temple, have rendered their time and resources to enhancing the temple community. Harold Schwab, a renowned trial attorney who has represented the interests of Fortune 500 companies, began his legal career as the protégé of Emil Zola Berman. In 1974, he founded his own firm alongside legal icons O'Dwyer, Katz and Lester. He has been listed in "Best Lawyers in America" for over twenty years, as well as in New York Magazine's "Best Lawyers in New York." He was elected to the distinguished International Academy of Trial Lawyers in 1996, lectures regularly and has published numerous legal articles. He has served as West End Temple's "pro bono" counsel for many years. Ronni Schwab attended Radcliffe College and received her graduate degree from NYU. She founded Development Associates, a successful fundraising firm; has served on our Community School Board, was elected to the Democratic Party's Constitutional Convention and has been a vibrant community activist. The Schwabs have resided in Rockaway since 1960.

In one of her first addresses as President of West End Temple, Marsha Weber evoked John F. Kennedy when she urged her fellow congregants to "Ask not what your Temple can do for you, but what you can do for your Temple." During her tenure, Weber inspired many to rise to the occasion and prevail during some daunting times. She has implemented and presided over successful programs and activities that enhance the temple community; and for her exemplary service, we honor her with our grateful appreciation. Weber has had a distinguished career in the field of education. She is the daughter of another great lady, Evelyn Weber, who is widely respected in the community. Congratulations!

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of citations by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey to the honorees. Dr. Chapey, who has supported the endeavors of the Temple for many years, was proud to present citations from Borough President Helen Marshall and State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Rabbi Marjorie Slome received a citation from the Attorney General in recognition of her service as the Temple's religious leader. The late beloved Rabbi Weiss was remembered and his legacy endures. Congratulations to Chaya Kirchein, the incoming President of West End Temple; and to all who served to make this affair one to remember.

***Celebrating 100 years of providing quality health care that's close to home, Peninsula Hospital Center hosted its Annual Community Address on June 11 and unveiled its "Century Projects" as the hospital enters a new millennium. As our community continues to grow, our community hospital is leaping forth with exciting projects such as a new cardiac catheterization laboratory, its advanced mammography suites, radiology oncology services, new information technology systems, expanded inpatient dialysis, an expanded adult and juvenile diabetes program, new dedicated Family Health Center pediatric services, Wound Care Center/hyperbaric oxygen therapy, updated surgical services, free AngioScreen technology and a Hospitalist Program.

Of course, many of these programs could not be realized without the vision of the hospital center's President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert V. Levine, a dedicated medical staff, the support of generous benefactors, trustees and the collaborative involvement of the community at large.

This year, the hospital center was presented with a $40,000 endowment from Joel Gerstel, Executive Director of the American Parkinson's Disease Association as part of its ongoing commitment to the hospital. Joyce Silverman and Jack Domfort, President and Vice President, respectively, of the Volunteer Guild presented a check for $40,000 from proceeds from the Gift Shop. Whether you serve on the Community Advisory Council or follow the legacy of Anne F. Levine and join the Auxiliary, we all have a part to play in how the hospital meets our needs as a community.

Perhaps the most endearing part of the evening's program was the performances by local children. Under the musical direction of Cindy Russell of P.S. 215 and Jody Timpone of P.S. 114, students inspired and reminded the audience that although "The world is big, little people turn it around." Students from P.S. 104, P.S. 215 and P.S. 333 demonstrated just what "little people can do" with the Penny Harvest's "Children Helping Children" program, which raised over $1,000 for the Angels-on-the Bay Pediatric Unit.

Congratulations to Steven Eisenstadt and Joel A. Miele Jr., who were both installed to the Board of Directors. A personal note of thanks to Dr. David Lichtenstein and Dr. Jeannie Franks. The excitement is building at PHC!!

***If you attended the Trinity Luncheon at Russo's on June 1, then you were among the more than 800 guests who enjoyed a wonderful afternoon in support of a most worthwhile organization. Founded by Dr. Geraldine Chapey, who serves as its Executive Director, Trinity Services, through its Van Program, provides much-needed, safe and accessible transportation to exciting cultural destinations, enhancing the lives of seniors in our area. Matilda Cuomo, former First Lady of NYC, and Dr. Kathleen Cashin, Superintendent Region 5, served as Co-Chairpersons and praised Dr. Chapey and the Trinity program for enabling seniors to be connected to a more expanded social network, thus, enriching the quality of their lives. The prizes were beautifully displayed, Tom Touhey tantalized with his tunes, and Joe Perrotta, of Shannon Florist, provided floral works of art for the centerpieces. Russo's will have to expand for next year's luncheon!

***Congratulations to Darlene DiResta of Rocco's who obtained her B.A. Degree in Liberal Arts from The College of New Rochelle. The graduation ceremony, which was held at Radio City Music Hall, was attended by her father and proud sons, James and Sean. It was hard, but you did it…now, on to the Masters!

***On a sad note, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the Keane family on the passing of their beloved mother, Ann Keane. The matriarch of this extraordinary Broad Channel family endowed her children with enchanted Tom Sawyer-Huckleberry Finn-like childhoods; may these memories and her love sustain all of you.

See you …On the beach.

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