We Stand on The Shoulders of These Two Giants

On April 24, 2024, we celebrate the 100th birthday of the late Mayor Andrew J. Parise, a stalwart figure in the annals of Cedarhurst's history and a beacon of honor and integrity. Mayor Parise's journey toward becoming a beloved public servant was forged in the crucible of World War II, where he served with distinction in the U.S. Army, receiving the Purple Heart medal for wounds received in battle. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and France, Belgium and Luxembourg. His experiences on the battlefields of Europe, including the life-changing liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp, left an indelible mark on his character, shaping his unwavering commitment to justice and human dignity. When Parise’s unit got to the camp, only corpses had been left behind. “General Eisenhower came out with an order — every soldier had to visit the camps to witness what went on there so there would be no question there was a Holocaust.”

Born and raised in the quaint neighborhood of Inwood, Mayor Parise's sense of duty and dedication to his community led him down the path of public service. His career spanned more than six decades, during which he served in various capacities, from legislative aide to mayor of Cedarhurst. Throughout his tenure, Mayor Parise remained steadfast in his resolve to improve the lives of his fellow citizens, earning the respect and admiration of all who knew him.

Having the privilege of working alongside my dear friend and mentor Mayor Parise for many years, I witnessed firsthand his exemplary leadership and tireless work ethic. Mayor Parise was a man of the people, with an open-door policy that invited residents to speak with him directly about their concerns. His accessibility, integrity and genuine concern for the community's welfare were the hallmarks of his tenure as mayor.

Despite the challenges he faced, Mayor Parise approached his duties with a sense of optimism and determination, always striving to make Cedarhurst a better place for his residents. His efforts to bring the community together, developing what is now known as the Andrew J. Parise Park, coupled with his support for local businesses and initiatives, contributed to the vibrant and thriving community Cedarhurst is today.

Mayor Parise's legacy extends beyond his accomplishments as a public servant. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather who instilled in his family the values of honor, integrity and service. His commitment to family and community served as an inspiration to all who knew him, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of those around him.

In commemorating the 100th birthday of Mayor Andrew J. Parise, we also pay homage to Rabbi Binyomin Kamenetzky, another towering figure of the Long Island community. Despite their differences in religious beliefs, Rabbi Kamenetzky and Mayor Parise shared a deep camaraderie and worked tirelessly to improve the lives of those around them.

Rabbi Binyomin Kamenetzky, born on July 17, 1923, was a revered figure in the Jewish community of Long Island. His lifelong commitment to education and Torah study laid the foundation for Orthodox Jewry in Nassau County, transforming it into a vibrant and thriving community. More than just an educator, Rabbi Kamenetzky was a beacon of hope and guidance for Jewish families in the Five Towns area, providing counsel, support and leadership in communal affairs.

As back-to-back neighbors in Cedarhurst, Rabbi Kamenetzky and Mayor Parise exemplified the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, working together to address the needs of their community. Their shared commitment to honor, family and community transcended religious and cultural divides, serving as a testament to the power of unity in diversity.

In celebrating the lives of Rabbi Binyomin Kamenetzky and Mayor Andrew J. Parise, we pay tribute to two extraordinary individuals whose contributions enriched the fabric of our community. As we reflect on their legacies, let us rededicate ourselves to the timeless values of honor, family and service these two giants of the “Greatest Generation” embodied. In doing so, we honor their memory and ensure their impact continues to resonate for generations.