Written and Produced by Betty Astrizky, Corresponding Secretary
National Conference of Shomrim Societies
The Executive Board of the National Conference of Shomrim Societies wishes all our chapters, members and associate members a very Happy Chanukah!
Enjoy your eight crazy nights!
MESSAGE FROM HENRI PORTNER, PRESIDENT
This difficult year is finally drawing to a close and I know I speak for the Executive Board when I say that we are all hoping 2021 brings us much needed relief from the turmoil we have faced professionally and personally. This time last year we were all counting down to our National Shomrim Convention on the Celebrity Reflection cruise ship. This year’s convention will be much different and nothing like we have had in the past. We will be having a Zoom meeting in January in lieu of the convention, and once the date and time is decided an email will be sent out. Let’s keep our spirits and thoughts positive. Better times are ahead!
NATIONAL SHOMRIM NEWS
As outlined in the previous newsletter, we will be scheduling a National Shomrim Zoom meeting in January 2021 to vote in the officers for our organization. The slate was presented and everyone nominated is excited to have the opportunity to serve National Shomrim and get the organization up and running again. When the date and time for the Zoom meeting is decided upon, all past National Shomrim presidents, chapters, members and associate members in good standing will be notified. If there are any other items for the meeting please be sure to forward them to the Corresponding Secretary and they will be placed on the agenda.
Chanukah is almost here and although several chapters have cancelled their annual celebrations, a few chapters will observe the Festival of Lights in a more scaled down celebration.
- Nassau Shomrim will have an outdoor Menorah lighting on the first night of Chanukah, Thursday, December 10, 2020, at 4:30 p.m., at Nassau County Police Headquarters, 1490 Franklin Avenue, Mineola, NY. Please contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
- On Sunday, December 13, 2020, the third night of Chanukah, Shomrim of Northern California is planning a Zoom Chanukah Seder. Cantor Brian Reich will ask attendees to have food available to eat, prepare a joke or showcase a talent – a clean one – to make the Chanukah Seder fun, and of course be ready to sing Chanukah songs! This very different celebration will take place at 5:30 p.m. PST and for the link to join in this crazy night please contact NorCal Shomrim President Jerome Cobert at email@example.com.
- NYPD Shomrim will have a virtual Menorah lighting on Monday, December 14, 2020, the fifth night of Chanukah. If you wish to view it please subscribe to the NYPD Twitter link, twitter.com/NYPDnews.
- Shomrim of Maryland will be participating in a Car Menorah Parade thru the streets of Baltimore, organized by their chaplain, Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum, on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:45 p.m. To register please visit JewishUSAMD.org/ChanukahParade.
- Port Authority Shomrim will showcase their unique, specially designed Menorah, that incorporates a piece of original WTC steel, on the last night of Chanukah, Thursday, December 17, 2020, at 4:30 p.m. at the Oculus in the World Trade Center. Prepackaged donuts will be handed out to all attendees. Due to covid health and safety protocols, attendance is limited and anyone attending must RSVP to PA Shomrim President Lt. Scot Pomerantz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please remember that all these celebrations are subject to the restrictions of their particular area, therefore please contact the chapter directly to ensure that it will take place.
The NYPD Shomrim and Shomrim of Illinois Mission to Israel is still planned for April 22, 2021 to May 2, 2021. For information and details please contact Elliot Cohen in Chicago at (847) 778-7272; Sam Miller in New York at (347) 723-6708; or Gordon Nash in Florida at (561) 632-7764.
Nassau Shomrim President Gary Koffsky reported that in spite of the difficulties and challenges his chapter had this past year, they were still able to accomplish several noteworthy events. Their Passover food drive was modified by members Alan Hirsch and Cheryl Garber and connected with many families in need. Adam Scheiner helped a woman in Arizona who couldn’t travel back home to Bellmore, Long Island to provide kosher food for Passover for her mom. Past Nassau Shomrim President and current National Shomrim Marshall Shevy Berkovits partnered their chapter with Long Island Cares, providing kosher meals to recipients, including Jewish military families. Members Bob Gally and Sam Livingston supplemented the chapter’s donations to the annual Island Harvest food drive, cosponsored by the Nassau County Police Detectives and Superior Officers Associations. Danny Gluck helped provide meals and other assistance with Kosher Response, an organization that helps needy Jewish families in Nassau County. Special recognition goes to member Sharon Held for coordinating with the Nassau County DA’s Office to initiate a program to prevent recidivism for persons charged with anti semitic crimes. She also connected the chapter with the Nassau County Holocaust Museum, and a donation was made by Nassau Shomrim to the museum to help fund education programs for school children and new police recruits.
Nassau Shomrim Chaplain Rabbi Barry Dov Schwartz participated in a Veterans Day event where he spoke of his service as a Chaplain in the U.S. Air Force with the rank of captain. After he received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in June 1965, Rabbi Schwartz was commissioned as a Chaplain, First Lt., and stationed at Westover AFB in Massachusetts. As the only Jewish chaplain in the USAF at that time, he traveled all over the world, spending time in Labrador, Newfoundland, Bermuda, Guam, Okinawa, Thailand, Japan and Hawaii. In the Azores, Portugal, he discovered an ancient synagogue and 4 remaining Jews. Chaplain Schwartz was the recipient of the 1965-1966 Strategic Air Command Education Award for having the best Religious Program in the Command. Thank you for your service to our country, Rabbi Schwartz.
Shomrim of Maryland President Jeremy Silbert announced that he will be retiring from the Baltimore Police Dept. at the end of 2020 after a 20 year career, where for the last 10 years he served as one of the Public Information Officers for the department. He’s excited to start the next chapter of his life with his wife Jill and baby boy Jordan. Mazal tov Jeremy for a job well done!
Shomrim of Maryland Chaplain Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum continues to spread goodness and mitzvahs throughout the state. He recently dropped off pastries to the Maryland VA Police; visited the firefighters of the Baltimore County Fire Dept with his young son Dovid – who was thrilled to see the fire trucks roll out when a call came; and led the Jewish Uniformed Services Association and Jewish War Veterans Virtual Veterans Day Service, which was even more special by the presence of a 100 year old WW2 veteran. Rabbi Tenenbaum also participated in the world’s longest Zoom event as he attended the on line International Conference of Chabad Emissaries (Schluchim) convention in November. The Zoom event went over 100 hours, breaking the world record.
Refeuah Shelemah to associate member Sheila Lambie, a commander in the St. Paul, MN PD. Sheila recently battled the virus and beat it, although she’s still recovering from some of its aftereffects. We’re all so glad that you’re on the road to a complete recovery!
National Shomrim Sergeant-at-Arms Jeff Grossman had his hip replaced recently, which we are happy to hear went well. Jeff is on the mend, and e look forward to seeing him soon.
Welcome to the following new members:
- Judah Epstein and Bob Epstein from Texas! Judah, a Deputy Sheriff in Collin County, and Bob, a Reserve Officer in the Dallas Sheriff’s Reserve, come from a long line of military service. They have family that served in World War 2, World War One, the Mexican American War and the Civil War.
- Harvey More, a retired chief from Florida and currently a Deputy Sheriff in North Carolina, Admin. Reserve.
There was some sad news to report as well, as chapters said goodbye to longtime members:
- Shomrim of Philadelphia mourned the loss of Ellis “Jeff” Baron who passed away on October 30, 2020. Jeff had a varied career, starting out as a teacher in New York. A surprising career change in 1972 saw him move to Maricopa County, Arizona and take a job with the Sheriff’s office, referring to himself as a “Yiddish cowboy.” His last career change was teaching again, this time Criminal Justice and Sociology at Chestnut Hill College, Rutgers and St. Joseph University, as well as 20 years teaching at Camden County College. Jeff was a field representative in the U.S. Merchant Marines. He completed a research paper on the SS Exodus, the famous ship that carried 4,500 Jewish immigrants during WW2.
- Nassau Shomrim lost one of their longtime members this past summer, Mal Tarkin, who was a staunch supporter of their chapter and of law enforcement. A ring of trees was planted in Israel in his memory.
- Nassau Shomrim also mourned the passing of Widow Member Harriet (Moulds) Rand, widow of NYPD Shomrim Brother Captain George Moulds, who predeceased her in 1972, and was the mother of Nassau Shomrim member and NCPD Inspector Leslie Moulds-Olsen. The late Captain Moulds was the first to be assigned as a Jewish Community Liaison in the NYPD and was a charter member and Past President of the International Police Association (IPA). Services were held on November 23, 2020 and internment took place at Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, NY.
May the families of Ellis “Jeff” Baron, Mal Tarkin and Harriet Rand be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Israel.
CHAPTER PRESIDENTS! Thank you for all the hard work you have done in keeping your chapter as active as possible this past year. We all know how challenging it has been to keep members interested and involved, especially with all the restrictions in place. Thank you for also paying your chapters dues for 2020, and since it’s never to early to get a head start, if anyone would like to pay their 2021 chapter dues to National Shomrim, we’d be happy to process them. And remember to encourage your members to “Like” our Facebook page, where we post as much chapter news as we know about. If your leadership has changed, please notify the Corresponding Secretary at BAstrizky@aol.com so our National Shomrim records can be updated. Don’t forget to forward this newsletter to your members, even those who don’t have emails can receive it via snail mail. And please forward all events, meetings and activities to the Corresponding Secretary so they can be included in the next newsletter and post them to the National Shomrim FB page. If we don’t know about it we can’t print it and we can’t tell our members about it!
Pennsylvania. Virginia. New Jersey. North Carolina. South Carolina. Connecticut. Kansas. Wisconsin. Ohio. Florida. Minnesota. Washington D.C. Texas. Massachusetts. Georgia. Iowa. Colorado. Michigan. New York. This roll call of states represents where our associate members reside and work. It shows that even in heavily Jewish areas, like New York, there are small departments where there might be one or two Jewish members of law enforcement, and in nontraditional Jewish states, like the rest, there are Jewish police officers who want to maintain their connection to their heritage and to their brothers and sisters in blue and red. Our associate members remind us that we should always remain connected to our traditions and to our fellow professionals in law enforcement and fire service, no matter where they are in the country or around the world.
Chapter Members and Associate Members – your dues go to the important work of your chapters and National Shomrim. Please remember to keep your membership active, for it will allow you to vote at our upcoming Zoom convention for the next Executive Board and other issues that will be raised. Chapter dues and Associate Member dues go to the work of the chapters and National Shomrim. Many chapters, including National Shomrim, are 501 (c)(3) charities, so dues go to charitable events and other important causes. Once we get National Shomrim up and running again we hope that all the activities we participated in past years – the Celebrate Israel Parade, BBQs, picnics, dinner dances and more – will take place.
Donations in honor of or in memory of our members or family and friends are gratefully welcomed! We received a donation in honor of National Shomrim by one of our shy members who doesn’t want to be named but thank you! If you would like to make a donation, please send it to the Treasurer and we will make sure your generosity is acknowledged.