2018-09-12 / Voice at the Shore

LoBiondo honored for public service, praised for integrity, at Beth El gala

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER
Voice shore editor


Honoring Congressman Frank LoBiondo at the Beth El Gala August 23 were (from left) Beth El President Allen Kleiner, Rabbi Aaron Krauss with Atlantic City councilman Kaleem Shabazz, Tina and Congressman LoBiondo, Christine and State Assemblyman Chris Brown, and Rabbi Jonathan Kremer of Shirat Hayam. Honoring Congressman Frank LoBiondo at the Beth El Gala August 23 were (from left) Beth El President Allen Kleiner, Rabbi Aaron Krauss with Atlantic City councilman Kaleem Shabazz, Tina and Congressman LoBiondo, Christine and State Assemblyman Chris Brown, and Rabbi Jonathan Kremer of Shirat Hayam. Retiring Congressman Frank LoBiondo was honored for his public service and praised for his personal integrity at the Beth El Gala on August 23. LoBiondo, who served as congressman for New Jersey’s 2nd District for 24 years, has announced he is retiring and will not seek re-election in 2018.

The gala dinner event featured New Jersey State Assemblyman Chris Brown as master of ceremonies, and live music by a band led by Marilyn Kessler, a drummer who is a former Beth El president and longtime member.

Roughly 80 people came to honor LoBiondo, including a handful of politicians from both sides of the aisle who universally praised him as a man of character and a role model.

Notably, many of their comments were colored by unfolding political events of the day involving associates of President Donald Trump—namely the fraud conviction of his former campaign chair Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, for campaign finance violations.

Against this backdrop, Mr. LoBiondo’s personal integrity shone especially bright, and many held him up as a role model for public service and civility.

“I have come here tonight to thank him for who he is as a man and how he has conducted himself in office….Congressman, thank you for your service,” said Steven Perskie, a former judge and Democratic state assemblyman, who was the first politician to speak at the gala.

Ventnor Mayor Beth Holtzman praised LoBiondo for his accomplishments. “You are a legend at the FAA tech center, you are known in

Washington, D.C., as a fierce advocate for Veterans’ affairs…a wildlife protector.

G-d bless you, you are a wonderful human being!” said

Holtzman, stressing that it was

LoBiondo’s character, rather than his political title, that defined him.

Atlantic City Councilman Kaleem Shabazz, who highly praised Congressman LoBiondo’s integrity, presented him with a resolution of recognition that he said was unanimously approved by the city council. “Congressman LoBiondo, you are an example to people in public office in how to conduct ourselves,” he said.

Beth El Rabbi Krauss and Shirat Hayam Rabbi Jonathan Kremer also lauded the integrity and civility that marked LoBiondo’s public service. “Representative LoBiondo has exemplified the positive qualities in our liturgical prayer for our country,” said Kremer.

LoBiondo thanked the many speakers for their praise, but stressed, “the honor of being able to serve was mine.”

“I have always felt that people had to come before party. I have always felt an obligation to serve everyone, even those who didn’t vote for me,” he said, noting he was privileged to spend 24 years doing what he loved. “I would always wake up thinking: How can I serve the people in my district better?”

LoBiondo praised Rabbi Krauss for serving as a role model for community service. “Rabbi Krauss has led the way in showing others what it is to be a shining light for the community,” he noted.

In a surprise turnaround of events, LoBiondo presented Rabbi Krauss with a certificate honoring Beth El for its service to the community. 

Return to top