On Tuesday, February 27, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. gathered local leaders at the Bukharian Jewish Community Center on 70th Avenue in Forest Hills to address issues impacting the community as part of his «Borough Hall on Your Block» initiative.
The «Borough Hall on Your Block» initiative involves the Borough President’s office setting up in a specific Queens neighborhood for a week, organizing various community events, such as funding announcements, roundtables, town halls, job fairs, resource fairs, and more. This week, from Monday, February 26 to Saturday, March 2, the office launched «Borough Hall on Your Block: Central Queens,» focusing on Community Boards 6 and 9 (Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, and Woodhaven).
«The Bukharian Jewish community, with 50,000 members in Queens, primarily resides in Forest Hills and Rego Park,» said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. «I’m glad to have brought Borough Hall on Your Block directly to this community this week for an important talk about the issues impacting our Bukharian neighbors, including housing, crime, the need for more mental health services, community centers, and school crossing guards across Queens.»

About 20 Bukharian Jewish representatives and allies attended, including David Aronov, Board Member, Bukharian Jewish Union, and Bukharian Liaison, UJA-Federation of New York; Tamara Gavrielof, SVP & Group Director, Private Banking, Dime Community Bank; Yocheved Dekhanov, Physician’s Assistant and Cohost of the Let’s Talk Show; Leslie Kraut, Director of Resilience, Commonpoint Queens; Hiskie Meirov, Vice President, Bukharian Jewish Community Center; Diana Rachnaev, Executive Director, Yesodot; Rabbi Refael Ribacoff, Executive Director, Shaarei Zion Yeshiva; Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, Emet Outreach; Judy Vladimir, VP of Development, Commonpoint Queens; Rabbi Mayer Waxman, Queens Jewish Community Council; and Rabbi Zalman Zvulonov, Jewish Institute of Queens.

In the room, they discussed important issues like public safety, housing, and how to support nonprofits. David Aronov expressed gratitude, stating, «I want to thank Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. for convening Bukharian community leaders to listen to our concerns and exploring ways to partner with his office. It’s important for elected officials to meet people where they’re at, and his office is doing just that.»
Nonprofit charity All About Kindness founder and President Lyudmila Mierova shared similar sentiments, adding, «Thanks to Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. for coming out to the Bukharian community to meet with leaders and allies, and to hear from all the nonprofits creating impact in the community. We appreciate you hearing our concerns and your commitment to exploring collaborative efforts. Together, we can build a better world and a stronger future for the next generation.»
«As a co-founder of Yesodot and a member of Community Board 6, serving as the co-chair of its Mental Health and Substance Use Committee, I want to emphasize that this event provided a valuable opportunity to unite community-based organizations,» said Diana Rachnaev. «It allowed us to stand together as a community on common issues, with the aim of building upon this foundation and strengthening our ties with local elected officials.»