The formation of the Queens-based Indian Jewish Council was announced on April 19 as a means of bringing together two large and growing populations in the area for civic and educational ties.
But Richie Lipkowitz of Briarwood, one of the founders, said the inspiration for the organization is more than two years old.
“I volunteered to work on the 2010 Census, and I began meeting a lot of leaders in various ethnic communities,” he said. “I became friendly with several leaders from the south Asian community, and thought we had a lot in common.”
One of those was Ashook Ramsaran, president of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, a group dedicated to furthering ties among those of Indian heritage around the world.
He and Lipkowitz were eventually able to bring in others.
The mission of the organization is to strengthen the bonds between India and Israel, and to foster growth of their people around the world on economic, geopolitical, cultural and social levels.
“And this is not just a local civic organization,” said Harini Bangera, a Richmond Hill resident who serves as the organization’s treasurer.
“We want to reach out to people in Israel and India,” she said.
Other aims include offering a forum for people in both communities to meet; working together and exchange ideas on matters of importance to both communities; to possibly establishing a lobbying entity to help with education and promotion of the group’s projects and goals; providing funding for its initiatives; and to developing leadership programs for youth and community advocates.
Lipkowitz said the group still is in its early, formative stages. But he and Ramsaran, a resident of College Point, said they and their partners are optimistic.
“Familiarity should not breed contempt,” Ramsaran said “It should breed appreciation and respect for other people’s culture.”