With esteemed political guests, great food, and artwork created by children presented as awards, the Annual Shema Kolainu Legislative Breakfast wrapped up as another wonderful success in 2015.
Speakers from all over New York City delivered inspiring addresses pledging their support for the special needs community in Borough Park’s Renaissance Ballroom.
The morning’s honoree was Dr. Merryl H. Tisch, Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents. Dr. Tisch has long served as an educational advocate.
Dr. Tisch began her career as a schoolteacher in Manhattan. She was later appointed to the Board of Regents in 1996. Eleven years later, she was elected Vice Chancellor of the Board, and soon after became Chancellor in 2009.
Also honored at the event was NYC Councilmember Andrew Cohen, and Zelig Friedman of The Tantzers, the dance group who performed at the Shema Kolainu Alumni reunion.
Opening remarks were made by Dr. Joshua Weinstein, Founder and President of Shema Kolainu Hear Our Voices.
“The mission of Shema Kolainu is to allow children with autism to enjoy a better life and a better future,” said Dr. Weinstein. “ We have seen such a tremendous amount of success stories from the kids.”
Also in attendance was Letitia James, current New York City Public Advocate and longtime friend of Dr. Tisch.
“From education, to poverty and beyond, Dr. Merryl Tisch’s advocacy knows no limits,” said James.
Shortly after, NYC Councilman David Greenfield introduced award recipient and fellow Councilman Andrew Cohen.
“Andrew Cohen has single-handedly saved millions of dollars this year for mental health services!” Greenfield said.
Finally, US Assistant Attorney Tali Farhadian Weinstein took the stage to introduce Dr. Merryl H. Tisch.
Dr. Tisch brought up a memory she had when dealing with a mother of a child who had special needs. After hearing much anxiety and uncertainty, it became clear that this mother wanted Tisch to be able to “fix” her child.
“We can’t fix them, but we can help every child in overcoming challenging circumstances,” said Dr. Tisch.
She wrapped up her speech by mentioning how honored she is to advocate for New York City’s children.
At the end of the ceremony, Dr. Joshua Weinstein delivered closing remarks.
“I want to thank Merryl Tisch again for what she stands for, what she has done, and what she will continue to do,” said Dr. Weinstein.