Scholars give presentation on local mobs and their families at Seaford Public Library


Long Island has a rich history of mob activity — filled with ruthless gangsters who would stop at nothing to get what they wanted. But how did they treat their own family members?

That’s what friends Harvey Sackowitz and Howard Ehrlich took a deep dive into for a Seaford Public Library audience on March 28. The library hosted H&H scholars, short for Sackowitz and Ehrlich’s first names, for a presentation on the relationship between mobster and his mother in a program entitled, “But He Was Good To His Mother.”

Sackowitz and Ehrlich, who organized the event, spoke to members of the community for the first of what they hope will be many in-person events after the pandemic.

Both are retired school teachers who, together, have dedicated more than 50 years to education and teaching in New York City and its suburbs. Twice a week they hold presentations with varying interests in several libraries and universities on Long Island. Their main motivation, they said, is giving back to the community.

“Having something that can bring the community together while learning something new is our way of giving back, which is really important to us,” Ehrlich said.

Long Island has a pretty extensive history with the mob, and the topic became a popular one that Sackowitz and Ehrlich both enjoy discussing with an audience. More than 30 people attended the March 28 discussion to learn more about the history of the mob operating locally.

“We’re really here to give background to a crime family lineage that most people have heard of,” Sackowitz said.

The duo delved into stories of Abe Reles, John Gotti and Bugsy Seigel, some of the most notorious mobsters in New York around World War 2. These three men had hundreds of crimes stacked against them and were feared by anyone who crossed paths with them, but they also would be home for the holidays and take care of their mothers.

“These men were loyal to their families and loyal to the church so they tried to keep their families out of it as much as possible,” said Ehrlich.

The H&H scholars said they believe that learning about the history of where you live is interesting and important, motivating them to speak about such topics to audiences. They discuss a vast range of topics and interests during their presentations, from what goes on behind closed doors of powerful politicians to courageous women through American history.

Kristen Jording, Seaford library’s adult services and public relations coordinator, said she was encouraged by the turnout for the event. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the library was required to move most, if not all, of its events to virtual programming due to the statewide restrictions. Ever since the regulations were lifted, library officials expressed hope of incorporating more in-person events in their calendar.

Many members of the audience were excited for the opportunity to build and reconnect with the community.

“The library is eager to connect better with the community again and present to engaging patrons after the Covid pandemic,” Jording said.

Before the restrictions were enforced, audiences of about 50 people or more would attend these free public events at the library.

“Even today, it was a great turnout, but there were a couple major community events happening,” Jording said. “But we want to maintain a balance between virtual and in-person for people who have restrictions for attending in-person.”

The H&H scholars said they are establishing a current events club at LIU Post, hoping it will grow and become popular among students. With information sessions being a community favorite in Seaford, people should look forward to more in-person events post-pandemic.

For more information on the library’s events, in-person or virtual, visit or contact Jording at