The Queens Jewish Link, along with Jewish Business Development, hosted a one-of-a-kind gala networking event in Kew Gardens Hills on Wednesday, January 13. The room at Yeshiva of Central Queens auditorium was filled with community members, local rabbanim and local politicians. The atmosphere was upbeat and festive, as people exchanged business cards and became acquainted. Both profit and nonprofit businesses were represented. There was wine-tasting provided by Hakerem Wines and Liquors, and Chinese food from Soy Sauce. Participants received free T-shirts from Allied T-Shirt with the QJL logo, as well as a bag filled with information about many local businesses. Each person was given the opportunity to stand up and introduce himself/herself and tell a little about his or her business.
Yaniv Meirov, operations manager of Chazaq, acted as master of ceremonies, interjecting his own brand of enthusiasm into the evening.
The first speaker, Shlomo Steinman, director of Jewish Business Development, along with Jennifer Martin, thanked the Queens Jewish Link. He said that the goal of this event is to help people in the community to help themselves. He mentioned that JBD holds monthly meetings.
Borough President Melinda Katz thanked Yaniv Meirov as well as Yaakov Serle and Naftali Szrolovits for all they do for the community. She noted that Queens is still a borough of neighborhoods. “Queens is moving and shaking. Folks want to come here to live here and to invest here. Events like this perpetuate our great community!”
Councilman Rory Lancman then shared that he just returned from the governor’s State of the State address in Albany. He pointed out that networking is so vital. He thanked the Queens Jewish Link and Jewish Business Development for their enormous contribution to our community. “It is so wonderful bringing so many businesses and nonprofits together.” Councilman Lancman shared that he reads the Queens Jewish Link cover to cover. He depends on it for our community news. The paper really fills a need in our community, affording us a way to communicate with the whole Jewish community. He thanked Mr. Serle for four years of service.
Following this, Rabbi Shmuel Marcus, rav of Congregation Ishei Yisrael, president of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens and magid shiur at Lander College for Men, imparted, “I marvel at the sensitivity that served as motivation for this evening’s event.” He noted that this type of program provides people with a time and place to discuss business. Events like this can prevent people from discussing business in shul. He pointed out how getting ahead in business can become very self-oriented. It becomes all about “my success.” He then shared a striking d’var Torah from the Gerrer Rebbe that speaks to this idea. In Parshas Bo it says that the plague of darkness lasted for three days and people could not see one another. They could not be sensitive to each other. Illumination comes when we see each other and are sensitive to each other’s needs. Rav Chaim of Volozhin taught that a person is created only to assist others in whatever capacity he can. Rabbi Marcus concluded that the Queens Jewish Link and Chazaq, as well as Jewish Business Development, do just that!
Next, Yaakov Serle, publisher of the Queens Jewish Link, expressed his gratitude to Naftali Szrolovits. He pointed out that Naftali handles all the writers and the articles. Without him there would be no paper. He thanked Yaniv Meirov as well. He also thanked Shlomo Steinman, Jennifer Martin and Shoshi Bacon. He then proceeded to name each loyal sponsor by name, and he thanked them all for their support. (A listing of all the sponsors is at the end of this article.) He gave a special thank you to Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, who encouraged Mr. Serle to create the paper, and he has been a loyal sponsor since its inception. Perhaps the very fact that Mr. Serle could name each person and his business individually emphasizes the achdus in our community and shows the small-town feeling we possess.
Following this, Yitzchok Saftlas, radio show host on 77 WABC and founder and president of Bottom Line Marketing Group, as well as author of “So,What’s the Bottom Line?” delivered an impassioned and energizing speech with concrete tips to help people to succeed in business. He shared the following:
Always be ready. Dress sharply. Be passionate. Show interest in people. You never know when the next opportunity will come.
Effective communication is a must. When you market your business, it is important to market your mission, not your services. Focus on the experience.
Grow your business by delivering customer service. Focus on your existing clients. Make their experience memorable.
After this, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz praised the work of the Queens Jewish Link as an important asset for our community. Previously, we had to find our news in other papers. We needed our own community paper.
It was a productive and enjoyable event for all. Our community is truly grateful for all the hard-working organizations like the Queens Jewish Link, Jewish Business Development and Chazaq, who provide such vital services to our community.
By Susie Garber