Saturday, June 06, 2020

Honoree John Calvelli, Visionary Leadership Award.

Honoree Ruben Diaz, Sr., Public Service Award.

Honoree Murray Richman, Esq., Justice for All Award.

Honoree Dr. Caridad Fresneda, Lorance Hockert Labor of Love Award.

Arlene Salman’s passionate support for the work of the Bronx Jewish Community Council is contagious. Salman, who lives in New Rochelle and is a volunteer for multiple non-profits, told The Jewish Link that she is happy to be a volunteer for this amazing organization. “With a compromised economy and the need for services constantly increasing, I don’t know how BJCC continues to do the things it does for so many.”

BJCC will celebrate its Annual Gala Event, “BJCC Evening at the Zoo,” on Thursday, June 20, in the Schiff Family Hall at the Bronx Zoo at 6:30 p.m. BJCC Evening at the Bronx Zoo is the main fundraising event for the year, and will consist of a lavish cocktail party, with food, music and a silent auction.

The impressive line-up of honorees is:

John Calvelli, executive vice president of public affairs, Wildlife Conservation Society: Visionary Leadership Award

Murray Richman, Esq., Law Office of Murray Richman: Justice for All Award

Ruben Diaz Sr., New York City council member: Public Service Award

Dr. Caridad Fresneda, South Yonkers Family Medicine: Lorance Hockert Labor of Love Award

BJCC’s mission is to provide enhanced quality of life to the residents of the Bronx, particularly older adults, by offering services, support and coordination of community resources.

Salman will serve as chair of the event, along with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.; the Honorable Fernando Ferrer, Honorable Carl Heastie, Honorable Adolfo Carrion, Honorable Stephen Kaufman and Honorable Marlene Cintron; Rabbi Israel Greenberg; David Kapelman; and Mark Engel. 

Salman noted, “We can look with pride at what Bronx Community Council has accomplished, at the number of lives that are positively impacted by BJCC outreach and service. Funds raised at our annual gala will allow BJCC to keep up with the ever-increasing demands for vital services that give hope to Bronxites in need.” 

Salman, who moved to the Bronx from her home in Kentucky, lived in the area until her family moved to New Rochelle in 1973, but clearly keeps the Bronx in her heart. She raved about the staff of BJCC, under the amazing leadership of its executive director, Brad Silver, who never says “no” to those in need. 

“Our social workers never seem to leave the office at the end of the day. There is always one more phone call to make, one more family to help,” Salman said, also mentioning, “Udy Uman, the head of the social workers, working feverishly to help people in need. Niti Minkove, our energizer director of volunteers, gets all the schools and organizations to assist with food deliveries, having special ‘parties’ to ensure that people are getting proper nourishment...I can go on and on about the staff, but suffice it to say that there is a good reason that we volunteers refer to BJCC as the ‘quiet little powerhouse of the Bronx.’”

“The BJCC is very special to me,” noted Salman. “This organization does so much for so many and is constantly struggling to raise funds to be able to continue to do its good work. People tend to support the more ‘glamorous’ organizations. Many people have moved out of the Bronx and never look back. I can’t look away. BJCC needs us because the people in the Bronx need BJCC. BJCC puts sunshine into the lives of those who might otherwise see clouds and rain.”

For reservations to the gala and for additional information, please contact Clarice Itshakov at 718-652-5500 ext. 206 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Yvette Finkelstein



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