- Published on Friday, 17 February 2012 08:57
- Category: Grand Central Stories
p>Joseph Elhilow is a second-generation Lebanese-American lawyer, who received a prestigious award on February 10.
The National Arab American Medical Association New York Chapter, honored Elhilow with a Leadership Award.
“It’s nice to be honored by a group that’s as active and knowledgeable as they are,” Elhilow said. “It always feels nice to be honored by your own community. As a lawyer, being honored by doctors – it’s a great thing.”
Elhilow’s grandparents came to the U.S. around 1905 from Lebanon. He grew up in Dyker Heights and attended Xaverian High School and St. Francis College, where he received a full-tuition scholarship and was student body vice president.
Elhilow went on to the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he also received a full scholarship. He got his Juris Doctor in 1974 and was appointed Assistant District Attorney of Brooklyn in 1975, where he stayed until he left for private practice in 1982.
Today, Elhilow keeps very busy offering his legal services to those in need. He is a Maronite Catholic and a member of Our Lady of Lebanon. He is also General Counsel for the St. Nicholas’ Home for the Aged, a member of the Arab American Family Support Center and Southwest Brooklyn Citizen Corps (CERT1NYC). Elhilow is past president of the Salaam Club of New York and a member of the Board of the Salaam Club of New York Foundation.
“If something needs doing, I try to help,” he said. “I’m not digging ditches down there, I’m just telling them how to deal with the law.”
Elhilow said that growing up in Brooklyn taught him how to be open-minded. “Brooklyn is the absolute best. Growing up, there were those who were Italian, Arab and Jewish,” he recalled. “You learn to grow up and be tolerant of everybody because everybody is from somewhere else.”
In his youth, Elhilow hitched rides to Riis Park. Today he enjoys a house in Atlantic Beach on Long Island with his college sweetheart Mary-Ann and two daughters.
He said he never suffered from any prejudice that many Arab-Americans face today. “Growing up, I didn’t feel that way – Bay Ridge always have a second-generation population,” Elhilow explained. “It’s always been a solid neighborhood.”By Denise Romano, Aslan Media Columnist
About the Columnist: Denise Romano
Denise is a freelance reporter extraordinaire. She is Brooklyn born and raised with a Print Journalism degree from Brooklyn College. Though not of Middle Eastern descent, she started a blog to tell the stories of Iranians and Iranian-Americans after the 2009 election fallout. Ever since, she has been dedicated to giving voice to those who are marginalized by the mainstream media. When she is not writing, Denise spends time with her husband, sings in a barbershop chorus, cooks Italian food, and watches Saturday Night Live. Because she is in tune with the beat of the Big Apple, she launched this blog to share the everyday concerns of New York's Middle Eastern diaspora communities exclusively with Aslan Media.