Written by Avromi Gorokhov/Photos by Alex Gorokhov
For over ten years, Staten Island Rabbi, Rabbi Eli Kogan and his family have struggled as they dedicated themselves towards their community in Staten Island known as JRLC (Jewish Russian Learning Center) and after ten years they can finally celebrate and say, we did it!
On the first night of Chanukah, the first candle, JRLC put together a Gala Dinner celebrating their accomplishments as well as struggles during the course of 10 years in Staten Island. Rabbi Kogan and his family have done so much for their community. With every successful Jewish Center, there are always bumps in the road. As Chassidus explains, there’s a short long path and a long short path. It was a long path to get to where they are today, but now the community has grown huge and still continues to grow.
The members of the center have drawn so close to the community, that wherever the center migrated, the people migrated.
The community in JRLC is like no other. The members consist of Jews from the former Soviet Union who couldn’t keep what they could keep today because of the oppression on religion back in Soviet Union. Now these people can go to Shul, pray, have Shabbos meals, etc. keeping whatever they can that they couldn’t back in former Soviet Union.
It was collaboration between the people and the Kogan Family to get where they are today. Rabbi Kogan connects with his community with his brilliant intellect in both Judaic studies and secular studies, as well as sharing his warmth.
Rabbi Kogan is involved in so many projects; a publication known as 5th Dimension, a talk show on the Russian Radio channel.
This dinner was a thank you to all those who have been a major contribution to the growing community known as JRLC of Staten Island. Due to their growing community, A few years ago, JRLC opened up another branch in South Beach, led by the Kushnirsky Family, Reb Zeev and Rebbetzin Esther.
JRLC honored the following families for their contribution and dedication to their center:
Gary and Anna Pekerman
Steve and Anna Gershkowitz, Alex and Ella Goldin, Gregory and Gabrielle Sadkhin
Special Honor awards were given to the Holocaust survivor families:
Isroel and Lidia Cremer, Leon and Bertha Karasek
JRLC has done so much for their community; prayer services, bat mitzvah clubs, teen clubs, holiday and Shabbos meals, brissim, Hebrew schools, day camps and much more.