Dromm Honors the Memory of Late Community Leader and “Mayor of Jackson Heights” Steven Knobel


“I join thousands of Jackson Heights residents in honoring the memory of Steve Knobel, a beloved civic leader and ‘Mayor’ of Jackson Heights,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). “As long-time president of the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights, he understood the importance of community service.  Under Steve’s leadership, the Jewish Center was a safe space for all and a true microcosm of Jackson Heights. As a Conservative Jewish congregation, LGBTQ nonprofit organizations, a law firm and a Pentecostal church were all welcomed there. I will miss Steve’s roguish sense of humor and, most of all, his spirit of service. My heart goes out to his surviving wife, Suzanne Knobel, who herself is a mainstay of the neighborhood.”  

Biographical information:

Raised in Far Rockaway, Steven “Steve” Knobel moved to Jackson Heights in 1973 after marrying his surviving wife, Suzanne. Knobel became active with the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights during this time and served as its president for over 20 years. Though there were many challenges throughout to maintain the building throughout those years, Knobel was determined to sustain the Jewish Center and its important work. He worked tirelessly to secure tenants and other sources of sorely-needed revenue. For Knobel, saving the Center was a labor of love.

He was proud of the many programs the Jewish Center offered over the years: piano lessons for kids, ESL classes, tutoring sessions for young people, “Broadway & a Bagel” performances, lectures, opera concerts and more. A strong supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, Knobel was especially proud that the Queens Center for Gay Seniors is housed at the Jewish Center.

Knobel made everyone who met in the Center feel welcome. Although he faced many health issues and challenges over the last few years, he always had a smile on his face and maintained a positive attitude. Even after becoming a bilateral amputee, he never lost his good nature or his passion for community service.

Knobel died earlier this month. He will be greatly missed by Suzanne, his friends, the Jewish Center board and staff, and all those whose lives he touched.


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