Longtime councilwoman honored at this week’s board meeting, Jewish Life Night also celebrated
BY EVAN WECHMAN
It was not business as usual for Councilwoman and Deputy Supervisor Frances M. Hunter during this past Monday night’s board session. Hunter was sworn into office on Jan 1, 1988, serving under then Supervisor Herbert Reisman. Over 20 years later, she will be retiring from her public service position.
She was greeted by friends and colleagues with accolades and flowers on December 12, 2011, her last scheduled town board meeting. According to Hunter, this period of her life is a “very emotional time for me. I’ve enjoyed 24 years as your councilwoman.”
She acknowledged the support she has received from the community during her tenure.
Hunter spent 13 of 24 years serving under Supervisor Reisman and the last 11 years with St. Lawrence at the helm. She said she will continue to assist the Town of Ramapo in any way possible after her position officially comes to a conclusion. Therefore, Hunter asked the many in attendance to “continue to support this town board and its supervisor.”
Brendel Logan will be taking on the role of new councilwoman this coming January.
The other major item on the agenda was the celebration of Jewish Life Night. A collaboration between the board and the Ramapo-Israeli Twinning Committee, this event packed every seat in the council room and then some. Many people of Jewish faith witnessed the celebration while standing.
St. Lawrence, with great enthusiasm, expressed that Ramapo is a very diverse community and “heritage nights represent the real human part of the town.” The co-chairs of the committee, Marion Reiss and Ruth Cobrin, led the introduction and presentation of honorees who had performed outstanding contributions to Judaism as a whole and to the community in particular. Many of the honorees had sacrificed much because of their faith and had continued to thrive as members of the Town of Ramapo. Such an example was honoree Jacob Kaminetzky who came from Poland and had seen his sister die due to the Holocaust. Overcoming his traumatic past, he has served the community as a medical doctor in Ramapo.
Also among those honored were six high school students who spent nearly two weeks in Israel last year with a host or “twin” student. Leanna Calores was one of the six that shared her experiences in a foreign country with the receptive audience. She not only lauded the “breathtaking” views of Israel, but concluded that the “spiritual fulfillment” she received will last a lifetime. Likewise, Jeremy Brown who also made the trip simply stated “everyone should be connected to their heritage.”
The keynote speaker for the evening was Community Ambassador Daniel Sonnenschein, a Jewish man who had lived in both Venezuela and Israel. He said that sending Jewish students who had not yet seen Israel to their homeland will cause their connection with Judaism to be strongly “enhanced.” He also acknowledged that youths who stayed and experienced the wonders of Isrrael would “be part of something bigger,” and thus also lay the groundwork for social change in that nation.
Also recognized by the committee was Ramapo Town Clerk Christian Sampson who had served as a treasurer and mentor of youth for the organization.