Message from National Shomrim President Henri Portner
I heard I missed an amazing convention. I heard that Harvey Meshel, President of South Florida Shomrim and his wife Randi, Treasurer of their organization, gave an amazing and emotional presentation of their response at the Surfside building collapse. I heard that Lt. Scot Pomerantz, my friend and colleague on the Port Authority Police and President of our Shomrim chapter, gave a detailed presentation on WTC security. Our signature speaker series at our convention always brings relevant and thought provoking topics to our attendees and we’re so proud to learn that Harvey, Randi and Scot continued that tradition with their presentations. There were fabulous pictures posted to the National Shomrim FB page, and to our members page. So many great moments, including the Captain of the Equinox joining convention attendees at the cocktail party. I definitely had FOMO!
I was also humbled to hear that I was reelected to my position as president of our great organization. My great executive board was also unanimously voted back into their positions. As a reminder, here’s your Executive Board of National Shomrim:
- Davis Rosenzweig, Executive Vice President
- Spenser Strauss, First Vice President
- Ben Gelber, Second Vice President
- Marty Turetzky, Treasurer
- Scot Pomerantz, Recording Secretary
- Betty Astrizky, Corresponding Secretary
- Jeff Grossman, Sergeant-at-Arms
- David Appel, Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms
- Shevy Berkovits, Marshall
More exciting news – our 2023 convention has been set! It will be on a brand new ship, Celebrity Beyond, January 22-29, 2023, and will be sailing roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic). Over 60 members and friends have already signed up for next year’s convention, and we want representatives from all our chapters and as many of our associate members as possible to attend. Our official National Shomrim cruise planner, Tony Lostumbo, has gotten us a special rate for the Beyond, as the ship will be placed into service in April of this year with the first ever American female captain at the helm, and an all female senior staff. If attendees book before February 28, 2022 the price is $3,727.90 for two in a balcony cabin. After February 28, 2022 the price goes up to the published rate. Both prices include these three perks: classic beverage package for two, prepaid gratuities and internet for two. Put a deposit down now. The final payment is due by October 1, 2022, and of course if the price goes down your price goes down too. Please contact Tony directly at (954) 258-0088 or email him at email@example.com. Don’t wait because there are very few cabins left. Once our block of cabins are gone Tony will attempt to have Celebrity release more to us, no guarantee but regardless, join us at the convention. And it’s never to early to submit your name for our Signature Speakers Series. If you would like to speak on a topic of interest at our 2023 Convention – can be anything from law enforcement, Jewish history, entertainment , health – please contact our Convention Co-Chairs Marty Turetzky at firstname.lastname@example.org or Betty Astrizky at BAstrizky@aol.com.
I’m hoping to see everyone soon, as the annual Celebrate Israel Parade is back on for Sunday, May 22, 2022. Our Shomrim delegation proudly marches up the iconic Fifth Avenue in New York City. There’s still time to make plans to join us, we want to have the largest contingent at the parade. We’ve already heard that our friend, Michel Theeboom, President of the Jewish Police Association of the Netherlands, will be joining us. We want all chapters represented and will look to plan an event so we can get together in an informal, fun event. More information will be in a future newsletter.
Our Treasurer Marty Turetzky reported that our treasury is in good shape, with all our chapters up to date and almost all our associate members in good standing with National Shomrim. It’s gratifying to know that our chapters and associate members stuck with National Shomrim since early 2020.
We all mourned with the NYPD as they said goodbye to two young members of their department just last week. Many departments from across the country came to join in their grief, with Shomrim members from different chapters in attendance. We hope and pray that the souls of Police Officer Jason Rivera and Police Officer Wilbert Mora rest in eternal peace, and we will always stand patch to patch with our brothers and sisters in law enforcement, giving support when needed. Houston Police Officer Corporal Charles Galloway was also shot and killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop in that city just a few days later. Several others have been injured and thankfully survived. We also lost three Baltimore City Fire Dept. firefighters, who gave their lives in the line of duty. We know the agenda of the local politicians is to not prosecute crimes, allowing repeat offenders to roam the streets, committing serious felonies. We know it’s the lack of accountability for crimes and the lax gun laws that are causing the current mayhem. We are all hoping and praying that these shocking and senseless deaths are not in vain and the lawlessness that has been allowed to go unchecked will finally end. Until then, be careful. I don’t want to go to any more funerals.
Exciting News! Our friend and associate member in Minnesota Sheila Lambie has announced that she has begun to form a chapter in her state. Sheila met with several Jewish members of departments and agencies and has informed National Shomrim that soon there will be a Shomrim chapter in Minnesota. This has been a labor of love for Sheila, she’s been eager to form a chapter in her area since she met us at a Shomrim convention a few years ago. Although it took some time her hard work is finally paying off and soon we will be welcoming a new Shomrim chapter to National Shomrim.
There’s more great news, from the great state of Texas! Jacob Novikov – former NYPD Shomrim Board Member – recently relocated to Houston and is eager to start a chapter in that state. He’s been in touch with National Shomrim Sergeant-at-Arms Jeff Grossman, who lives and works in San Antonio, and the two have been talking about a Shomrim of Texas chapter. Jake was very active when he was on the NYPD Shomrim Board and we know he’ll work hard to round up the Jewish MOS, FFs and others to form a Shomrim chapter in the Lone Star State. Additionally, National Shomrim Chaplain Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz reached out to Rabbi Andrew M. Paley of Temple Shalom in Dallas. Rabbi Paley is the chaplain to the Dallas PD and was involved with the recent hostage situation in Colleyville, Texas. He was unaware that our organization existed and was thrilled to learn that there is a large Jewish organization that serves the Jewish uniformed services across the country. Rabbi Berkowitz will continue his efforts to help Rabbi Paley meet with Jewish MOS and others and will make sure that both Jacob and Jeff are involved in those talks. As the saying goes, Everything is Bigger in Texas, so we expect a Texas Shomrim chapter to be big and active and with these four guys working towards that goal, there’s no doubt it will happen.
There are several great events coming up, so save these dates to the calendars in your cell phones:
- NYPD Shomrim will be having their Annual Dinner Dance on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. at Da Mikele Illagio, 79-17 Albion Avenue (off Queens Blvd.), in Queens, NY. The dinner dance was cancelled twice because of the pandemic and they are thrilled to be able to hold it once again, continuing the tradition that has been the hallmark of their chapter for many years. The Executive Boards of both NYPD Shomrim and National Shomrim will be sworn in to their respective positions. Tickets are $125 per person and formal attire is requested. Please purchase tickets thru www.theticketing.co/events/Shomrim2022 or send a check with the name of persons attending and the the amount of tickets purchased to NYPD Shomrim, PO Box 934, Planetarium Station, NY, NY 10024. They are also still hoping their Annual Mission to Israel, postponed for the past two years, will go on as planned. The eleven day trip, from March 31 to April 11, 2022, will cover historic sites as well as a trip to the Dead Sea and meetings with members of Israeli law enforcement. Please contact Sam Miller in New York at (347) 723-6708 or Elliot Cohen in Chicago at (847) 778-7272. Please remember this trip will only take place if it is safe to travel to our ancestral homeland, so call Sam or Elliot directly for information.
- On Sunday, April 3, 2022, South Florida Shomrim Society will hold their annual picnic at TY Park, Corporate Shelter 12, 3300 N. Park Road, Hollywood, FL (off I 95 between Stirling Road and Sheridan Street). This free picnic begins at 11:00 a.m. and always draws a big crowd, with activities for kids and adults and of course, alot – and we mean alot – of great kosher food generously provided by the Weberman family. There is a small fee of $1.50 per person to enter the county park ($8.00 maximum charge per car). There will be raffles and items for sale too. Please RSVP no later than March 25, 2022 to attend this free picnic to email@example.com. Tax deductible monetary donations to South Florida Shomrim are always welcome, as they are a 501 (c)(3) organization (as are all our chapters and National Shomrim). And if you know a Jewish member of a police dept., fire dept., or any other uniformed or civilian that isn’t aware of the chapter, please bring them along. We’re always happy to welcome new members into our Shomrim family. Save Thursday, November 10, 2022, for their annual dinner dance, and details on that will be in a future newsletter.
- Shomrim of Illinois is planning a picnic on Sunday, July 31, 2022, and details will be in a future newsletter. They are also hoping to have their dinner dance on Thursday, November 3, 2022.
There will be more activities by chapters as the year moves along, so stay tuned and stay involved.
Shomrim of Maryland Chaplain Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum has been busy, providing spiritual support when needed. He visited Baltimore City Engine 14, the fire house that tragically lost three members in the line of duty, and attended the memorial service for these brave members of the fire service. As a member of the US Army Unit Ministry Team, Rabbi Tenenbaum attended the Military Joint Force HQ Chaplain Training Conference, and makes regular visits to local senior centers and assisted living facilities to meet Jewish members of the military, mostly WW2 veterans. These members of the greatest generation are always happy to see Rabbi Tenenbaum and gladly allow him to put tefillin on them. He also recently presented a Commemoration Certificate to a Jewish Vietnam War Veteran on behalf of the Military Chaplains Association and the Jewish War Veterans of Maryland and the Dept. of Defense. In early January Rabbi Tenenbaum attended the funeral of Baltimore Police Officer Keona Holley, who was killed in the line of duty. His energy is amazing and his kindness is limitless.
NYPD Shomrim said goodbye to legendary detective and life member Irwin “Silky” Silverman on Tuesday, December 14, 2021. Irwin was a quiet, unassuming presence but when it came to his career with the NYPD he became what other detectives aspired to be. He made arrests without struggles, often leading suspects into the station house with a cup of coffee. Irwin solved the case of a serial killer that was profiled by journalist Piers Morgan. Irwin ran the NYC Marathon, competed in the Golden Gloves, and served in the US Army during the Korean War. But most of all Irwin loved to sing. Restaurants, dinner dances, on the train, if there was an audience Irwin would stand up and start singing. His repertoire included Sinatra classics, Danny Boy and the famous Jewish song, My Yiddishe Mama, which he sang at his mother’s funeral many years back. His funeral was well attended and almost everyone had a story about Irwin, including the rabbis who conducted the service. Irwin is reunited with the love of his life, Sara, who predeceased him, and his best buddy Murray, and it’s pretty certain that they’re all sitting around, laughing, eating and telling tall tales of their glory day. Rest in peace Irwin. We’ll think of you every time we hear Danny Boy.
CHAPTER PRESIDENTS! Thank you to those who attended the convention, and thank you to those who sent representatives and proxies. Your dedication to your chapters and to National Shomrim showed, and we’re happy there was a quorum to conduct our meeting and election. Please make plans to join the organization at any of our upcoming events, or at one of our chapter events. It’s great to see the mutual support the chapters give each other, whether it’s attending each other’s events or texting/calling for information, advice or just to say hi. As we’re already well into the new year, if you haven’t done so, please get your chapters on social media. Appoint a tech savvy member to be your social media coordinator and set up a Facebook page and Instagram page, and any other social network that will attract new members and keep your current membership up to date. Several chapters update their Instagram pages regularly so members can see the latest news. It’s critical in the era we’re living in. And it’s critical to growing your membership. Please remember to post your activities and events to the National Shomrim Facebook page. And of course as soon as the newsletter hits your new mail it should be forwarded to your membership. We’ve met members that say they don’t get the newsletter and have no information about their chapters. If you want your members to be active and involve, you need to show that you’re active, involved and up to date.
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS! Now that restrictions are loosening and its safe to travel, we are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at any of our events, especially at the Celebrate Israel Parade on Sunday, May 22, 2023. While our chapters may send several members, we want our associate members to show their Jewish price, in the full dress uniforms of their departments, so that the cheering crowds will see that Jews are represented in public service across the USA!
Donations are gratefully accepted. National Shomrim is a 501 (c)(3) organization so your donations are tax deductible. Your chapter dues and associate member dues go to the work of National, publications, events, and we also make donations to important causes when necessary. Donations in honor of or in memory of or to celebrate a milestone are so special and your generosity will always be acknowledged in our newsletter and at our meetings.