Message from National Shomrim President Henri Portner
In two months our Shomrim chapters and representatives will gather for our long awaited annual convention. Regretfully, due to a conflict in my schedule that I tried to work out, I am unable to attend the convention for the first time in quite a few years. As much as I wanted to be there with all of you, I can’t break my previous commitment. But I am confident the convention will run smoothly with our chairpersons Betty Astrizky and Marty Turetzky in charge, and our meetings will be led by Immediate Past National Shomrim President Scot Pomerantz with the assistance of National Shomrim First Vice President Spenser Strauss. I’m sure the convention will be a great gathering and I’ll be thinking of you enjoying the warm Caribbean sunshine while I’m in cold New York! I’m also planning a National Shomrim Zoom Meeting on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, at 1900 EST, so please put the date in your calendar. The sign in and passcode will be sent out as we get closer to the date of the meeting. As always, all chapter presidents, regional vice presidents, past National Shomrim presidents, associate members and chapter members are invited to attend.
We have several great Chanukah celebrations coming up, and I encourage everyone to attend as many as you possibly can in your areas. Chanukah is called the Festival of Lights, and it’s never been more appropriate now that we are finally starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic that has kept us inside and isolated. Chanukah is a public celebration and we will celebrate it safely, showing our Jewish pride in our cities, with our friends and neighbors.
We’ve been in contact with a member of the Toronto Police Service who is in the process of starting up a Shomrim chapter in that city. Sheila Lambie, our associate member in St. Paul, MN, is also planning on restarting talks to form a chapter in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. We can’t wait to have two new chapters added to our National organization, and with Toronto looking to join, our international reach gets bigger, joining our friends and colleagues in the Jewish Police Association of the Netherlands.
Once again, I am asking everyone to stay safe. While the political situation and unrest we went thru last year seems to have settled down for now, it doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. The anti police forces have already established there will be violence in NYC. Be extra vigilant when on duty. I know several unions are fighting the vaccine mandate established by local cities. Whatever your choice is, be respectful, go to work and do your jobs as safely and as professionally as you have been doing.
National Shomrim News
We are still waiting to hear if the Celebrate Israel Parade will take place. As New York City has allowed several other parades to take place, including the upcoming world famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it appears there’s a real possibility that National Shomrim will once again march up Fifth Avenue in the largest celebration of Jewish pride. Once the date is officially announced we’ll make sure that the information gets out as quickly as possible so that our chapters and members can make plans to join us.
Chapter News and Events
Four Shomrim chapters. Two past National Shomrim presidents. High ranking chiefs representing various South Florida police departments. Honorees from different disciplines. And Super Jake! It was a glittering relaunch to the Shomrim social season at the South Florida Shomrim Society Annual Dinner Dance on November 10, 2021. Postponed last year, the dinner dance was a evening filled with delicious food, music, lavish surroundings and emotional highs. South Florida Shomrim President Harvey Meshel welcomed his counterparts, Port Authority Shomrim President Scot Pomerantz, Shomrim of Illinois President David Appel, FDNY Ner Tamid Vice President Barton Fendelman, Nassau Shomrim representatives Esther Feldman and Adam Scheiner, and past National Shomrim President Scott Bresalier. The South Florida Shomrim Board was sworn in for another term. Super Jake stole the night, though, as little Jacob Schwartz was presented with an award for his bravery in fighting life threatening illnesses. His dad, Kevin Schwartz, is a Biscayne Park police officer and his mom is a Miami-Date state attorney. Another emotional moment occurred when National Shomrim Corresponding Secretary Betty Astrizky was presented with a posthumous award for Murray Ellman, her longtime partner. Murray was a fifty plus year life member of NYPD Shomrim and National Shomrim until his untimely passing in April 2020. Murray’s dedication to Shomrim was unwavering and he put in many days and hours to Shomrim over many years of service. Past National Shomrim President Scot Pomerantz read a dedication to Murray, and South Florida Shomrim President Harvey Meshel presented Betty with an Outstanding Achievement Award for her beloved Murray. They also surprised Chad Pomerantz, Scot’s son, and gave him a yummy cake for his 15th birthday that he shared with his dad and his friends. South Florida Shomrim thanks everyone who attended, members, their families and friends, and wants to remind members and supporters that all donations are tax deductible and can be sent via Zelle (no fee) to email@example.com or on their website www.southfloridashomrim.com and follow the Paypal link.
Chanukah 2021 begins in the evening of Sunday, November 28, 2021 and ends on Monday, December 6, 2021, right after Thanksgiving. There is a lot to be thankful for this season, so get your calendar ready for a full week of latkes and donuts!
- NYPD Shomrim will kick off the holiday with the first Menorah lighting on Monday, November 29, 2021, the second night of Chanukah, at 5:30 p.m. at One Police Plaza. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend.
- Shomrim of Maryland and the Jewish Uniformed Services Association will hold a combined Menorah lighting on the second night of Chanukah, Monday, November 29, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. at the JUSA Center, 2316 Sugarcone Road, Baltimore, MD. Please contact their chaplain Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum at email@example.com to attend.
- On Wednesday, December 1, 2021, Nassau Shomrim will host their Menorah lighting for the fourth night of Chanukah at 4:30 p.m. at Nassau County Police Headquarters, 1490 Franklin Avenue, Mineola, NY. Contact them at NassauShomrim@gmail.com to RSVP. They will also have their annual Chanukah dinner on Monday, December 6, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. at Colbeh, 75 North Station Plaza, Great Neck, NY. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost is $36 for two people, so make plans now for a great Chanukah celebration with Nassau Shomrim.
- In cooperation with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the FDNY Ner Tamid Society will host a Menorah lighting on the fourth night of Chanukah, Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. at FDNY Headquarters, Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, NY. Please RSVP no later than November 26, 2021 to Diversity.Inclusion@FDNY.nyc.gov.
- Port Authority Shomrim will showcase their Menorah, designed with a piece of original WTC steel incorporated into its frame, on the fifth night of Chanukah. The ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be held in the Oculus in the new WTC. Please RSVP to president Scot Pomerantz at email@example.com no later than Wednesday, November 24, 2021.
- NorCal Shomrim is hosting a Chanukah party at the home of member David Schwartz on Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org with the total number of people attending.
There has been a change in the leadership of Shomrim of Illinois. Tamara Margolis, who served as their President for the past two years, has made the difficult decision to step down from the presidency to devote more time to her children and to her professional responsibilities as a Lieutenant on the Chicago Police Dept. Tamara was applauded for her decision and for her outstanding service to Shomrim of Illinois. She will not walk away from Shomrim, however; Tamara has agreed to serve as the chapter’s Third Vice President. First Vice President David Appel has assumed the presidency and will serve thru 2022. Justin Homer moves up to First Vice President, and Jon Reeder becomes the Second Vice President. We wish David, Justin and John all the best in their new roles. A double mazal tov to Jon Reeder who recently made detective.
David Appel assumes the leadership of Shomrim of Illinois with an impressive background. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 2002. After the military Dave joined the Highland Park Police Department in 2004 and transferred to the Chicago Police Department in 2006. His first assignment was as a patrol officer in the 10th District and then was assigned to the 10th District tact and gang team until 2013. Dave transferred to organized crime in 2013, where he continues to serve the city and people of Chicago. Dave marched with National Shomrim in the Celebrate Israel Parade a few years ago, and we hope he can join us again, at the parade as well as other Shomrim events. He’s also hoping that they can restart Shomrim of Illinois activities next year, with their picnic tentatively set for July 31, 2022 and their dinner dance, also tentatively November 3, 2022.
FDNY Ner Tamid has also undergone a restructuring of their Executive Board. Lt. Abe Englard will be at the helm as the president of their chapter, and retired FF Barton Fendelman will serve as Vice President. Jonathan Haber and Nick Malter will serve on their Board as well. They have been holding regular meetings and have a great Instagram page that everyone should ask to join.
After several postponements, NYPD Shomrim is hoping their annual Mission to Israel will take place from March 31 to April 11, 2022. This eleven day trip cover the must see sights in our ancestral homeland plus places specially designed for our group. It will include two nights at a Dead Sea spa hotel and meetings with our counterparts in the Israeli law enforcement community. For prices and information please contact Elliot Cohen in Chicago at (847) 778-7272 or Sam Miller in New York at (347) 723-6708.
Shomrim of Philadelphia was saddened to report the death of their iconic member Arthur Gravitz, at the age of 99. Graveside services were held Thursday, November 11, 2021, at Montefiore Cemetery in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Arthur attended the National Shomrim convention and gave a presentation of his storied career at a Fed, starting with his early days investigating the mob in Las Vegas.
Congratulations to past First Lady of National Shomrim and NYPD Shomrim Julia Davis, the better half of Steven Litwin, upon her recent appointment as an Administrative Judge in the NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. Julia, we know you’ll take over City Hall one day soon!
Howard Friedberg, the current National Shomrim northeast region vice president, retired from the Nassau County Police Department in July 2021 after 26 years of service. Howard served in the Third Precinct for 15 years and the Seventh Precinct for the remainder of his career, all on patrol. Some notable events during his career was responding during 9/11, Superstorm Sandy and of course the recent pandemic. Howard and other Nassau County police officers worked thru Superstorm Sandy, as much of Nassau County was without power and inaccessible due to flooding. Prior to his career with the Nassau County Police, Howard was a paramedic in NYC. Howard has been a longstanding member of Nassau Shomrim and held numerous positions with their chapter, including Vice President, Treasurer and Corresponding Secretary. Mazal Tov Howard! The best is yet to come!
We were sad to hear of the passing of Marshall Lambie, father of associate member Sheila Lambie, on November 7, 2021. Marshall battled MS for many years and Sheila often participated in Walks for MS Research, raising money to help find a cure for this terrible disease. He was super proud of his children and grandchildren and often bragged about Sheila’s career achievements to everyone. He passed away peacefully watching his favorite team, the Cleveland Browns. Shiva will be observed in Temple Beth Israel, 3601 W. Dempster Street, Skokie, Illinois, on November 21, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The funeral and memorial service will be in Wisconsin. May Sheila and her mom, Alice, her brother and sister and their families be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Israel, and may the memory of their beloved father be a blessing to their family.
CHAPTER PRESIDENTS! It’s time to get your chapters on social media! As much as it’s hated, it’s really the best and fastest way to get the word out to your members and National Shomrim about what’s going on in your chapter. Events, member updates, last minute notifications, all life cycle events – they should be posted on Facebook or Instagram so that members can know and more importantly can attend these events. If you’re not able to create a Facebook or Instagram page, involve the younger members of your chapter to be your social media consultant. They’re fab at this stuff, they grew up with it! And please don’t forget, post all your chapter activities to the National Shomrim Facebook page. Meetings, your Chanukah Menorah lightings, upcoming dinner dances, member news – those should be posted to the National Shomrim Facebook page so everyone can read about them and maybe attend. If you don’t post events, Zoom and membership meetings, then how will members participate? You’ve gotta keep current! And of course send your members the National Shomrim newsletter as soon as it hits your inbox. We sometimes meet chapter members that say they don’t get the newsletter and have no news about their chapters. If you want your members to be active and involved, show that you’re active and involved. We want all chapters to send delegations to all events.
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS! Thanks to all of you who responded and sent in your dues for 2021 and some for 2022. It shows us your commitment to National Shomrim. We’ve always said our associate members are the most important segment of National Shomrim, because you want to be connected to your heritage and your professions. Those of us in the big cities often take it for granted. You don’t. That says a lot about your character. We want to meet all of you soon! Come join us at the Celebrate Israel Parade or any other upcoming event.