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Eneas Arkawy – QNS.com

Eneas Arkawy

Despite her many accomplishments, Eneas Arkawy laughs at the idea of slowing down the pace of her life.
Arkawy, a North Shore Towers resident and Board Member of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) organization, refused to reveal her age, but suffice it to say she has three great grandchildren. Still, she says, she has “no time” to consider slowing down.
“I have a lot to do,” she said. “My great grandchildren will have their Bar Mitzvahs in about 10 years, and I plan to still be around beyond that.”
Arkawy’s punch list of accomplishments runs the gamut of various fields, from education to religion to community service. When she was younger and living in Brooklyn, she was President of the National Council of Jewish Women, then taught science to gifted kindergartners for 25 years in District 26 schools. During her career, she was sent by her school on scholarship to Greenwich, Connecticut to a teacher’s conference to learn about environmental issues. Eventually, she developed a passion for the environment and was a founding member of Alley Pond Environmental Center. Arkawy also received an award for exemplary teaching in the sciences.
Now retired, Arkawy’s main focus is on community outreach. As part of her work with UJA, she sits on the Caring Commission for the Aged, fights elder abuse, and works with the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services (JBFCS). Each year at Passover, Arkawy and other JBFCS workers interview needy families and supply them with goods for Passover.
Arkawy said her natural inclination toward leadership and giving back is a product of an innate compassion for others.
“I’m basically a happy person,” she said. “I live with my heart.”
Life wasn’t always that positive for Arkawy. As a child, her mother was constantly ill, and, after her sister died when Arkawy was just four, she became an only child, calling her upbringing “somewhat lonely.”
But a slew of unique experiences taught Arkawy that the world contained many reasons to smile.
Near tears during a recent interview with The Courier, Arkawy recalled a visit to Israel that taught her how much the Jewish faith means to so many worldwide.
“Seeing people come together and celebrate the faith, sing the songs, smile, it showed me that there really are many people out there for whom this faith means a lot,” said Arkawy, who has traveled to Israel three times. “And many of them need our help.”
But, unfortunately, not everyone wants to help.
“One of the biggest challenges I face,” Arkawy went on, “is trying so hard to get people to understand the needs of Israel - of our brethren who are handicapped, abused, facing serious problems - and not everyone wants to reach into their pocket and help. It’s very frustrating to me because UJA means a great deal to me.”
Arkawy means a great deal to UJA, as well.
In April of 2007, Arkawy held a Holocaust program at North Shore Towers, inviting survivors to speak, play music, and show films related to their histories. In August, at the Towers’ annual UJA fundraiser, Arkawy was honored for the work she has done for the organization. While Arkawy acknowledges that the honor is among her proudest accomplishments, there is one achievement to which all else takes a back seat.
“My family,” she said. “My biggest accomplishment is being able to raise three daughters, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I just want to stay healthy and enjoy the rest of my life.”
Staying healthy is far from a challenge for Arkawy, who plays tennis three times a week during the summer. She also golfs three days a week and makes sure to walk a mile or more each day. Fighting a cold during her interview with The Courier, Arkawy was unhappy to have been forced to sacrifice a ticket to the New York Philharmonic.
“But [the cold] won’t keep me from taking my daily walk,” she said. “I have to get out. I’m not good at sitting around and doing nothing.”
That may be one of the few things Arkawy isn’t good at.
“I’m young enough to enjoy life and I’m old enough to appreciate it,” she said.

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