Polan sworn in as North Shore congregation head

Polan sworn in as North Shore congregation head

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Andrew Polan serves on Three Village Chamber of Commerce as well as the North Shore Jewish Center, where he was recently sworn in as the newest president. Photo from David Woods

Andrew Polan has had a busy year.

The North Shore native was recently re-elected to serve another term as president of Three Village Chamber of Commerce. Over the summer, he was appointed the next president of the North Shore Jewish Center over the summer, and was sworn in in late September. Polan has been a tireless servant to the North Shore for more than the past decade and those close to him said they were happy to have him at the helm.

“Andy speaks softly, acts quietly, and gets things done,” said David Woods, executive director for Three Village Chamber of Commerce.

Polan has held many positions at the North Shore Jewish Center, including a trustee on the board for 12 years, building chair, treasurer and executive vice president. He has been a congregant there for 15 years.

Projects he has worked on include a brick engraving fundraiser, where members of the congregation could buy a brick in memory of a loved one.

Charlie Lefkowitz, chamber vice president, who, aside from working with Polan in the chamber also worked with him in the Jewish Center, helped with a recent brick dedication ceremony. He said Polan did a really nice job creating a beautiful front entrance, and that Polan is “really a unique individual.”

“This was meant to deepen community ties, and keep us all together,” Polan said of the project.

Lefkowitz also spoke of the work Polan has done to improve the annual beach barbecue held at West Meadow Beach. Lefkowitz said it started with approximately 150 attendees and has grown into more than 600 guests.

“People love to come and enjoy the camaraderie. It takes a great deal of planning; it’s really the chamber’s signature event,” said Lefkowitz.

And Polan is really all about the camaraderie, he said. He considers himself a community-based individual, and believes in the importance of people stepping up to the plate to further the quality of the community.

“I really just don’t know how to keep my hand down,” Polan said about why he volunteers for so many different organizations.

One of Polan’s favorite chamber events, and the newest one, just started this year, is the Shop Local event. Polan believes this event helps enhance the local community.

“It truly ties the students and local businesses of Three Village together, and highlights the importance of keeping money in the community,” Polan said.

Polan has been an optician for more than 30 years, and is part of a family of opticians. He was the vice president of the New York State Society for Opticians less than a decade ago. He has owned Stony Brook Vision World since it opened 17 years ago.

Former board president Robert Brown worked with Polan for many years when Polan was just a trustee on the board. One project Brown thought Polan handled very successfully was the creation of a new welcome sign located on the northeast corner of Nicolls Road and Route 347.

“It makes a pleasant intro to the community, blending both the town, the university, and the university hospital together. Polan has always proven to be a stable, thoughtful individual that knows how to get things done in a quiet way,” said Brown.

Rabbi Aaron Benson, the rabbi of the North Shore Jewish Center, is optimistic about Polan’s future with the center.

“I think he will be able to bring a great sense of community, he has a good head on his shoulders. He will make a good president because he’s the type of businessman who is always looking to try and help people. He will open up new opportunities and help us grow together,” Benson said.