Board of Legislators Celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month

Legislator Catherine Parker, Pat Rind, Andrea Duhlberg, Florence Kraut, Nancy Hart, Rashad Ahmadi and Vice Chair Barr

On May 1, the Westchester County Board of Legislators and Westchester Jewish Council (WJC) celebrated Jewish-American Heritage Month with an in-person ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Westchester Day School and recognizing the vital humanitarian efforts of the Westchester Jewish Council for Immigration (WJCI) and the Resettlement Committee for Refugees.


Vice Chair Nancy Barr (D – Harrison, Port Chester, Rye Brook) convened the ceremony, beginning with a moving invocation by Rabbi Daniel Rockoff. She said, “Tonight, we celebrate and honor several Jewish organizations and individuals who have gone above and beyond to contribute to and enrich our community. I personally would like to congratulate each of you and to thank you for all of your efforts which serve to benefit our Westchester community.”


Legislator Catherine F. Parker (D – Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye) and Elliot Forchheimer, Executive Director of WJC, presented the first proclamation to Rabbi Daniel Rockoff, Head of School for Westchester Day School. Parker said, “Founded in 1948, Westchester Day School serves as the primary Modern Orthodox co-ed day school for toddler- eighth grade students in the Westchester community. As the legislator representing Mamaroneck, I am proud that WDS calls my district home. I love the school’s mission – to prepare students to live as mensches and lifelong learners; to inspire students to impact the world around them by cultivating a commitment to Torah, midot, community and academic rigor.”  


Rabbi Rockoff expressed his gratitude for the honor on behalf of the school, saying, “On the occasion of our 75th anniversary, we are excited to look ahead to the next chapter in our history and in the history of the Jewish community in Westchester County. We are, I believe, the first Jewish day school in the County. Our founding coincided- not coincidentally- with the founding of the State of Israel.”


The Board declared Wednesday, May 3, 2023, “Westchester Day School Day” in Westchester County.


Legislator Parker also presented the second proclamation to Larchmont constituent Holly Rosen Fink, President and Co-Founder of WJCI. She said, “The Golden Rule says, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration exemplifies this as they welcome the stranger to our County by providing much-needed services to help make the transition to American life for these displaced world citizens as seamless as possible.”


Ms. Fink thanked Legislator Parker and the entire Board, saying, “In 2021, when Kabul fell and again in 2022, when war broke out in Ukraine, several of our partners acknowledged that WJCI had the potential to mobilize our community to help refugees fleeing danger. Since then, we have funded and created over 30 groups of volunteers and given over $100,000 to the volunteers doing critical resettlement work. This work has saved hundreds of lives and mobilized hundreds of volunteers.” 

The Board declared Thursday, May 4, 2023, “Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration Day” in Westchester County.


Vice Chair Barr presented the third proclamation to the four Co-Chairs of the Resettlement Committee for Refugees: Pat Rind, Community Synagogue of Rye, Andrea Dulberg, Nancy Hart, and Florence Reiss Kraut, Jewish Community Center of Harrison.


She said, “Several years ago, the Ahmadi family arrived as refugees from Afghanistan and settled here in Westchester, but their extended family was left behind. Tremendous effort went into getting the entire family out of Afghanistan when the U.S. pulled out in 2021. After a harrowing, arduous journey, all 13 finally settled here in Westchester.” 


 The Board declared Friday, May 5, 2023, “Resettlement Committee for Refugees Day” in Westchester County.