MESSAGE FROM HENRI PORTNER, PRESIDENT
On January 17, 2021, we were scheduled to have our annual convention on board the Celebrity Edge cruise ship. As we know, that got cancelled and to keep the continuity, I held a Zoom convention on that day, to ensure that the business we normally conduct at an in-person convention would be held. It was important that we see everyone, and I am happy to report that in addition to the Executive Board members who logged in, eleven chapters and ten past presidents also joined the Zoom convention.
At our Zoom convention we voted in our National Shomrim board for 2021. I am very humbled to have been reelected as the organization’s president, along with the Board that has served us in 2020. I am also very pleased to announce that Immediate Past National Shomrim President Scot Pomerantz was nominated and was unanimously voted into the position of Recording Secretary. Scot has been active behind the scenes since he stepped down as President, giving guidance and advice on how to lead our organization during these unusual times. Scot joins a great Executive Board that has been dedicated to continuing our mission and our work.
As you read above, there will be a Zoom General Membership Meeting on Sunday, March 21, 2021. All chapter presidents are requested to attend so we can have a quorum. All previous National Shomrim presidents and all Board members and Regional Vice Presidents should also log in. Any chapter members who wish to ask questions or submit items for discussion should go thru their chapter presidents. While the meeting will be an open forum, we also don’t want to be fielding numerous random questions that might not either be appropriate or might already be answered by a chapter president. Chapter presidents, please RSVP no later than Sunday, March 14, 2021, to the Corresponding Secretary at BAstrizky@aol.com, confirming your attendance.
NATIONAL SHOMRIM NEWS
Our 2022 annual convention, planned for January 21 thru 30, 2022, on board the Celebrity Equinox, is almost sold out. Anyone who wants to join us is strongly encouraged to book their cabin ASAP, as the price for our group – $1,809.00 per person (plus $118.94 tax) is $2,000.00 lower than Celebrity’s published price. Once our block of cabins is sold out, that’s it – anyone wishing to join us will pay the full price. Celebrity is also no longer giving the $300.00 on board credit option for new bookings, but they are offering one of three perks:
- Free classic beverage package for 2 (includes alcoholic beverages)
- Free pre-paid gratuities for two
- Internet for two
Those members and friends who have already booked and rolled over their booking from the 2021 cruise to the 2020 cruise will have the original perks offered. A $900.00 deposit is due at time of booking and is fully refundable till October 1, 2021. We will be sailing to the Cayman Islands and Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, and will, as we have done at past conventions, conduct meetings and offer classes and seminars, presented by our members and friends. Once again, anyone who has been thinking about joining us should book sooner rather than later. Please contact our National Shomrim official cruise planner Tony Lostumbo at (954) 384-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact our convention co-chairpersons Marty Turetzky at (917) 774-7809 or Betty Astrizky at (516) 889-7984 if you’d like to give a class. Don’t lose out on this great deal!
Jeremy Silbert, who served as Shomrim of Maryland’s president for the past ten years, stepped down, as he retired from the Baltimore Police Dept. on January 1, 2021. Mordechai Singer, an active police officer of the Baltimore County Police Dept., was voted in as their new president. Mordechai started as a patrol officer in the Northeastern District in 2014, when he joined the Baltimore Police Dept. In 2017 he was assigned to a new unit, the Overdose Task Force, for one year and then became a homicide detective. In 2020 he left Baltimore City to his current assignment. Welcome Mordechai, and feel free to reach out to any of the chapter presidents as well as the National Shomrim Board Members anytime, although you have one of the best, immediate past president Jeremy Silbert, who can help you with any situation that comes up. Mordechai can be contacted at email@example.com.
Nassau Shomrim is planning their annual Passover Food Drive for Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 0900, with member Adam Scheiner chairing this important event. They have modified the event with safety as the top priority, but continuing their commitment to feed as many families in need as possible. They are looking for volunteers to assemble package in small groups and help make deliveries, which will be strictly outdoors and socially distanced. Please reach out to Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text him at (516) 551-3654 if you would like to help out with this great mitzvah. You can also email Nassau Shomrim President Gary Koffsky at email@example.com if you’d like to make a donation to help out.
NYPD Shomrim will continue their annual Passover Food Drive, scheduled for Sunday, March 21, 2021, and are asking for volunteers to assist with packaging and delivering food throughout the five boroughs. They are also requesting donations, as the need remains great for families who cannot afford Passover food. Contributions can be sent to Shomrim Society Passover Fund, Philip Weisbord, 84-37 253rd Street, Bellerose, NY 11426, or call (917) 974-2659 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NYPD Shomrim and Shomrim of Illinois are still waiting to hear if their annual Mission to Israel is a go for April 22, 2021 to May 2, 2021. You must contact them directly for information – 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.
Shomrim of Georgia continues to have Zoom Sabbath services and welcomes all members and friends to join them. Please email their chaplain Rabbi Richard Baroff at email@example.com and he will send you the link. Topics for past Sabbath services have included The Sages of Safed, Israel; and Tiberias, home of the Jewish Bible. More topics on Jewish history will be discussed, and of course questions are encouraged.
Shomrim of Northern California are planning to have speakers for their ongoing Zoom meetings, including a Jewish Detective Chief Superintendent from the London Met and a Jewish Dutch Police official. Past speakers have included General “Mad Dog” Mattis, Professor Robbie Friedmann, and Chaplain (Major) Frommer from West Point. Their Board also recently voted to allow a President or First Vice President of any chapter to join NorCal Shomrim at no cost. This will allow them to join their Zoom meetings with all these interesting guest speakers. NorCal Shomrim Vice President Vadim Rotberg recently posted on their Facebook page of a Jewish police officer in Paris who has been subjected to antisemitic graffiti in his workplace. We are trying to locate anyone from the Jewish community in France who can help us find this officer and any other Jewish police officers in Paris and other cities in France so we can reach out to them and let them know our organization is here to support them. If anyone has any contacts in Paris, please email the Corresponding Secretary at BAstrizky@aol.com and we’ll do everything we can to reach out to our brothers and sisters in blue there.
South Florida Shomrim has unfortunately cancelled their annual bbq for a second straight year. They continue to make charitable contributions to organizations that support law enforcement and the fire services, most recently to the Stephen Sillers Tunnel to Towers Foundation in memory of the two FBI agents who were murdered in Sunrise, Florida. They are also asking members to consider donating blood and platelets to OneBlood or your local blood banks, as Jacob, the son of their member, motorcycle officer Kevin Schwartz of the Biscayne Park Police Dept, suffers from osteosarcoma. You can literally save a life by donating blood and platelets. Monetary donations are gratefully appreciated, as their dinner dance, their major fundraiser, was cancelled. Please send any amount you can to The South Florida Shomrim Society, 20533 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 244, Aventura, FL 33180.
Shomrim of Illinois voted in three new Board members at their January Zoom meeting, with life member Judge Megan Goldish presiding over the swearing in ceremony. An installation event will be held in some form in the future. They have also been busy holding virtual meetings, and gave out seven $1,000.00 scholarships to members’ children.
Port Authority Shomrim President Scot Pomerantz reported that their neck gaiters have been a big hit, selling many of them to members and friends. Other Port Authority fraternal organizations have since followed Shomrim’s lead and created their own neck gaiters, copying our original design. Scot reports they still have some left in stock, along with other Port Authority Shomrim merchandise for sale on their website, www.PANYNJShomrim.org. Payment can be made thru Venmo (PAShomrim) and Paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org). Buy them before they’re sold out.
Shomrim of Philadelphia and Shomrim of Maryland held a joint meeting to brainstorm on how to improve their chapters’ presence within their respective areas with an eye towards attracting new members.
Our friend Michel Theeboom, President of the Jewish Police Association of the Netherlands, is asking for any of our current or past Board members to Skype an interview about Shomrim for their internet website Jonet.nl, which brings Jewish news to their members and friends throughout the Netherlands. They would like to get insight into Shomrim history and our current status within the our respective agencies and departments. Jonet.nl is apolitical and is read on the internet for Jewish population of the Netherlands. If anyone can help Michel out please contact him directly on Facebook or email him at email@example.com. Michel and the JPA are very active within the Netherlands, fighting the constant antisemitism that is vocal and active against the Jewish community in Europe.
MEMBER NEWS AND LIFECYCLES
Big news from NorCal Shomrim President Jerome Cobert! Jerome and his family have decided to make aliyah and will be moving to Israel in June. Jerome has been very active over the years with the Israeli Police, fund raising for them to have K-9s and many other projects that have been important to him and to the continued battle for peace in our ancestral homeland. We hope Jerome continues to be an active member of our organization, even if he will be in a different time zone.
Mazal tov to Shomrim of Illinois member Jacob Dickman of the Chicago Fire Dept, who was recently promoted to the rank of Paramedic Fire Chief for the CFD. Hope to see you on Chicago Fire soon Jacob!
Congratulations to Shomrim of Georgia Chaplain Rabbi Richard Baroff, who was awarded the title of Chaplain for the Atlanta Chapter of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI.
Mazal tov to Port Authority Shomrim member Shawn Bochner upon his engagement to Alicia Marie Scinto. An August 2022 wedding is planned.
Happy Birthday to South Florida Shomrim First Lady and Treasurer Randi Heuman Meshel!
Happy Birthday to NYPD Shomrim Life Member, retired Det. Sgt. Ted Newman. Ted celebrated his 92nd year with a small party, and daughter Bonnie Newman Bresalier, past first lady of Nassau Shomrim and National Shomrim, joined her dad via Zoom.
Mazal Tov to Past National Shomrim President/Past Nassau Shomrim President Scott Bresalier and his wife Bonnie Newman Bresalier, and to Past Shomrim of Ohio President Gene Fixler and his wife Marsha Berkowitz Fixler. Both couples recently celebrated 33 years of marriage! 1988 was a very good year!
South Florida Shomrim also wished member Richard Plager a very happy 80th anniversary of his bar mitzvah at their Zoom meeting on January 17, 2021.
Did you happen to catch the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, February 28, 2021? If you did you might have noticed two special guests front and center from the Rainbow Room in NYC – Port Authority Shomrim President Scot Pomerantz and his daughter Carly! Carly learned that the Golden Globes were honoring first responders and submitted her father’s name as one of the proposed honorees. They were interviewed, selected and sat in front of the stage, where they got to see movie stars, including everyone’s favorite, Christopher Meloni from Law and Order! Scot wore a tux and Carly looked gorgeous in a sexy red dress. If you DVRd it you’ll see them many times, wearing masks but having a once in a lifetime experience!
We were honored to have our oldest living past National Shomrim President Marvin Goldsmith join us at our virtual convention several weeks ago. Marvin led our organization as well as Shomrim of Southern California and is our Parlimentarian.
Our National Shomrim Treasurer and past NYPD Shomrim President Marty Turetzky and his wife Rebecca have volunteered with the Israel Defense Forces thru the Volunteers for Israel program about six times. Unfortunately last year they were unable to travel to Israel but are hoping that they can go again this year, in May 2021. The Volunteers for Israel program is an international program that attracts people from all over the world, Jews and non Jews, from countries including England, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, New Zealand, Guatemala and of course the USA. The process is easy. Interested participants send in an application form and are interviewed. Once approved, you travel to Israel, making your own flight arrangements. A program representative meets you and the other volunteers upon your arrival in Ben Gurion Airport and takes everyone to their assigned army base. What’s it like living on an army base? Fun, according to Marty and Rebecca! You share a bedroom with roommates, men and women separate, and there’s a bathroom near your dorm. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is shared every day with the soldiers. Work assignments might include packing medical/first aid supplies, taking inventory of rifles, assembling gun cleaning kits and organizing warehouse materials. Work hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and after work is done for the day, participants enjoy educational programs in the evening. Sometimes volunteers are taken on day trips to historical sites around the country as part of the IDF experience. Work days are Sunday thru mid-day Thursday, when they leave the base. Once they leave the base, on their days off, Marty and Rebecca travel around the country, visiting Tel Aviv, Ein Gedi, Jerusalem and other beautiful locations in Israel and visit their Shomrim friends who chose to live in our homeland, including retired NYPD Detective and terrorism expert Mordechai Dzikansky. Of course they pay for their own meals, hotels and travel while on their weekends. On Sunday they return to the base to start another week of volunteering. Marty and Rebecca return to the USA refreshed and love telling everyone about their time volunteering, the interesting people they met, and the incredibly important work they perform for the IDF. They encourage everyone to think about participating in this great program. For more information about the Volunteers for Israel program, the website is www.vfi-usa.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (toll free) 866-514-1948.
Please keep our National Shomrim Mid Atlantic Region Vice President Merrill Kelem in your prayers as he battles a serious illness. Refeuah Shelemah Merrill, we’re counting on you to entertain us at next year’s convention!
Welcome to our newest National Shomrim associate members!
- Andrew Scott Lerner, an active certified full time sworn police officer from New Jersey
- Peter Collins, an Operational Forensic Psychiatrist with the Ontario Provincial Police. Peter’s has been with the OPP since 1995. Prior to joining that department he was a member of the first profiling unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He is also a member of the crisis/hostage negotiation team of the Toronto Police Service Emergency Task Force. Peter has a Masters in Applied Criminology from the University of Ottawa, a medical degree from McMaster University and completed his postgraduate training in psychology and forensic psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Retired from the Canadian Armed Forces (Reserves) with the rank of Lieutenant, he served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, where he served as the unofficial rabbi to the Jewish soldiers serving with the many armies in that region. Looking forward to hearing about your service to your country in the pursuit of freedom, maybe you’ll give a lecture at our convention in 2022!
We said goodbye to four members of our Shomrim family:
- Izara “Sara” de Boissiere Lopez, the fiancee of NYPD Shomrim Life Member, retired Det. Irwin “Silky” Silverman. Sara was laid to rest at Gates of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, NY. A memorial gathering was held on January 14, 2021. Irwin has been feeling down lately, as he was unable to see his beloved Sara nor attend her funeral services because of various illnesses, including a bout with the virus. He has been staying at an assisted living and unfortunately cannot have any visitors. Irwin would love to hear from his many friends in Shomrim. Please consider sending him a card at Mattison Crossing, 93 Manalapan Avenue, Freehold, NJ 07729, attention Irwin Silverman, apt. C308. You can also call him at (732) 303-8800.
- Norris Wang, brother in law of Shomrim of Maryland Treasurer David Blumberg. Mr. Wang served as a member of the West Lafayette City Council.
- Macabee Society Recording Secretary Mitchell C. Schwadron passed away on February 16, 2021 and was laid to rest at Beth Moses Cemetery in Farmingdale, NY. The son of Leslie and Rita Zara Litt Schwadron, he was born in Brooklyn on December 4, 1948. Mitch was a graduate of the finest criminal justice school in the nation, John Jay College. For more than 20 years Mitch served the NYC Dept. of Corrections as a locksmith at various locations, including Rikers Island and the Queens House of Detention. He also dedicated his free time to the Boy Scouts of America and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Children, which qualified him to be a New York State Peace Officer. Mitch was also an active member of the NRA and the NYS Rifle and Pistol Association. He threw his hat into the political ring a few times, running for NYC Council Member and Senate. A “whistleblower,” Mitch rooted out corruption wherever he saw it. Mitch served as the Recording Secretary for the Macabee Society for many years. A loyal and faithful friend, Mitch often contributed his locksmith, mechanical and maintenance skills to anyone who needed it, free of charge.
- Shomrim of Illinois board member Matt Savage on the passing of his father Michael Radlove. Mr. Radlove was also the father in law of lifetime member Judge Megan Goldish.
May the souls of Sara, Norris, Mitchell and Michael be bound up in the bonds of life, and may their families and friends know no more sorrows.
Brian Rudnick, the grandson of Philadelphia police officer Henry H. Brown, recently contacted Shomrim of Philadelphia with his grandfather’s story and some vintage photos of his grandfather. Eager to share his grandfather’s story, Brian provided a biography and an early glimpse into Jews in police work in Philadelphia:
Henry H. Brown was born around the turn of the 20th century. At 16 he ran away from home and joined the army, hoping to get sent overseas to fight in WW1. Being big for his age, the army didn’t question his age and sent him to Fort Bliss, Texas, but Henry was discharged early with a leg injury. After he left the military he worked for Ford Motor Company. His parents had a restaurant at 7th and Mifflin streets in Philadelphia and set Henry up in business running the “White Star Delicatessen.” Henry and his wife Fay, whom he married when he was 17 and she was 16, became friendly with the police officers who frequented the deli. He soon decided that slicing salami wasn’t for him and around 1928 he joined the Philadelphia Police Department. Patrolmen at the time carried glass guns of varying shapes and size. “A regular Hooligan’s Army,” is how Henry described those days. Not long after his first assignment he was promoted to House Sergeant and was assigned to many different stations before the culmination of his career as Captain in the Detective Division. His inclination was towards community policing and he took pride in the multiple commendations he received during his tenure in the 20th District. Henry described former controversial Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo, who once served on his beat, as “tough.” There was no Shomrim when he joined the force, but Henry recalled an aging Captain Cohen with the “Raiders of the Vice Squad” and a Captain Levy, but once they retired, as far as he knew he was the only Jewish police officer in the department. Official police department photos depict his work with Shomrim of Philadelphia, the Police Athletic League and the Golden Slipper Camp. Many photos show him at dinners, award ceremonies and events with luminaries, but his grandson Brian has yet to identify them. After Captain Brown retired around 1966, after serving for 37 years, he worked as a personal assistant for the founder of the First Federal Bank. An excellent handyman, he kept his shop in the basement of the home that he shared with wife Fay and three children. He also had a bar decorated with many liquor bottles that he was “gifted” over the years – being a teetotaler, he had quite a collection. The Captain also enjoyed casting his own lead weights and fishing at the shore. Brian recalls that his grandfather was a smart dresser, wore an armpit revolver and that he played with his grandfather’s illicit and varied cache of confiscated guns and other weapons. He once went with his grandfather to a police station and remembers being intrigued by the two-way mirror at an empty holding cell. Henry’s legacy also includes grandchildren and multiple great grandchildren, who all recall the home that Henry and Fay made the family gathering place for many holiday meals and occasions.
CHAPTER PRESIDENTS! We know that the past year has been difficult for you to maintain your chapters running smoothly and engaging your members in the Zoom calls and events. At our last Zoom meeting for our chapter presidents, several explained how they had speakers that were of interest to their members. It’s so important for all of you, at this time, to continue to reach out to each other and brainstorm for ideas to keep your members involved. And as you are all always reminded – please send this newsletter to your members and friends of Shomrim. A member of a chapter recently advised that he hadn’t received a National Shomrim newsletter for a very long time. It’s crucial that the newsletter is forwarded as soon as it hits your inboxes. Members might not know that National Shomrim is planning future events, such as our convention in 2022, and it could interest them. Please keep your members as up to date as possible. Don’t forget to pay your chapter dues of $100.00 for 2021. If you have questions whether or not your chapter is paid up for 2020, please contact National Shomrim Treasurer at email@example.com. Don’t forget to post events to our National Shomrim Facebook page – if we don’t know about it we can’t tell our members about it!
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS! Please forward your dues to the Treasurer for 2021, and, if by an oversight, your dues for 2020 as well. Our dues are a reasonable $18.00. They go to the work of our organization and for the future planning of events, which we are hoping can begin very soon. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the annual Celebrate Israel Parade in NYC, which usually takes place the first Sunday in June, is held so we can walk up the historic Fifth Avenue. It’s one of our showcase events that was cancelled last year, so we’ll keep you posted on it. All dues, both to National Shomrim and to the chapters, are tax deductible and go to the works of all the organizations, and to charitable events and other important causes. Donations in honor of or in memory of our members or family and friends are always gratefully welcomed!
Please know that National Shomrim listens to our members and we care. We want you to know that our homes are safe houses. Firearms and fire hoses are welcome. Coffee can be on in minutes, and we always have a variety of beverages, soft and alcoholic. Our kitchen tables are non-judgmental. Anyone who needs to chat is always welcome. We can talk, share a laugh, a shoulder to cry on, or just listen. If you’re hungry, we’ll feed you – hey, we’re Jewish. We will always do our best to be available to all of you – thru technology if necessary, thru texts, Facetime, Zoom – although they are a bit impersonal, we are always available to our members. BACK THE BLUE! BACK THE RED!
WISHING EVERYONE A VERY HAPPY PASSOVER!
Don’t let your chapter membership or your associate membership lapse!
Chapter dues checks and associate member checks, as well as donations, should be sent to National Conference of Shomrim Societies
Marty Turetzky, Treasurer
1503 S Ocean Blvd, Unit W-4
Boca Raton, FL 33424