I am writing to correct a misconception that your article, “For Staten Island Jews, A Central Address” (March 4), may have created. The Jewish community of Staten Island has indeed had a central address since 1968 in the form of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island. The Council is made up of representatives of many of the local Jewish organizations, especially the interdenominational synagogue community. The Council runs a yearly Chanukah program at Borough Hall and the Staten Island Mall, as well as a yearly legislative breakfast at which political candidates can meet the Jewish community.
COJO also has an annual dinner in which synagogues and Jewish organizations designate honorees.
One of the main efforts of the Council is its food pantry, which serves several thousand people each month, the majority of which are members of the Jewish community. It is also involved in referrals regarding social services and puts out a newspaper, The Jewish Voice of Staten Island, several times a year.
I wish the OJCA, founded by Rabbi Abe Unger with the assistance of the Jewish Community Center, every success. There is certainly much for them to do.
We are faced with the issue of integrating the influx of families of Russian background into the existing Jewish community. At the same time, we are dealing with a decrease in the population from which most of the Jewish organizations have heretofore drawn their support. I hope that the OJCA will be a source of renewal for the entire Staten Island Jewish community.