NEW YORK (May. 19)
The Jewish owners of a kosher catering facility in Queens, who unwittingly rented their hall to a group honoring Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as their guest speaker, have pledged their entire proceeds from the dinner to Jewish charity.
Allen Sherel, co-owner of Terrace in the Park, said that “every penny that we make from this dinner we’re going to give to Jewish philanthropy.”
Sherel and partner Stanley Lewin rented their Flushing Meadows Park facility to a group calling itself “Concerned Citizens for New York,” an alliance of black businesspeople who the two men later learned were having Farrakhan as their guest speaker.
When Sherel and Lewin were apprised of the situation, they consulted with their attorneys and were told they could not legally back out of the dinner.
The two men were somewhat distressed by the announcement of a purported campaign by Jewish militants and mainstream Jewish leaders to protest the dinner and boycott Terrace in the Park, which is located in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood.
Terrace in the Park received several phone calls indicating concern and even stronger sentiments. What seemed to be forgotten was that Saturday night is the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, when it would be highly unlikely that any observant Jews would be out on a picket line in front of a catering hall.
Members of the Jewish community who were questioned about their desire to protest Farrakhan have indicated that although they strongly oppose Farrakhan, they are going to largely ignore his appearance in Queens this weekend.
Rabbi Fabian Shonfeld, spiritual leader of Young Israel of Kew Gardens, Queens, and head of Poale Agudath Israel of America, said he had discussed the matter with the Queens Jewish Community Council and they had decided that “any attempt to confront Farrakhan will only arouse Farrakhan. All of us are agreed that the best policy now is to ignore it.”
Likewise, Rabbi Yitzhak Sladowsky, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of Queens, and Michael Miller, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, said on Saturday night they will be observing Shavuot, not Farrakhan.
Because of the Shavuot holiday, there will be no Daily News Bulletin dated Monday, May 23.