Message from National Shomrim President Henri Portner
It was an unusually hot spring day on Sunday, May 22, 2022, when National Shomrim marched in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade. After a two year postponement, this year’s theme was “Together Again.” I was thrilled to lead our delegation once again up 5th Avenue in NYC in the largest celebration of Jewish pride in the nation. Chapters from across the tristate area were represented, and we were privileged that David Appel, President of Shomrim of Illinois, and his family flew in to join us. Sheila Lambie, our associate member from Minnesota, and her St. Paul Police Dept. partner Shari Barkowski also came to New York to march with us. We were also joined by our friends from across the ocean, Michel Theeboom and Marcel De Weerd from The Hague, President and Vice President of the Jewish Police Association of the Netherlands. It was so special that these Jewish officers took time out of their work schedules to fly into New York to participate in this important event. If Sheila, Shari, Michel and Marcel can come to New York, all our chapters and members in the USA should absolutely join us. The 2023 Celebrate Israel Parade will be very important as it will commemorate 75 years since the State of Israel was established. I want all our chapters and associate members marching up Fifth Avenue with our National Shomrim delegation in 2023 for this milestone parade! Pictures and videos of our delegation are on our National Shomrim FB page.
We had a short, informal National Shomrim meeting prior to the Celebrate Israel Parade, and the chapters represented spoke about events and issues. The most exciting news from the meeting is that we have a new chapter! Our associate member Sheila Lambie from the St. Paul Police Dept. has organized a chapter in her state and asked to be admitted to National Shomrim. With a unanimous vote and to cheers, Minnesota Shomrim has joined out great organization. We’re already thinking of a road trip to Minnesota for a NYY or NY Mets game vs the Twins! How about either the Jets/Giants vs Vikings? Sheila found us in 2020 when we were all on the same cruise for our National Shomrim convention. She immediately joined as an associate member and said she would get a chapter going in her state, but, as we know, forces beyond all our control delayed her plans. She finally got members from different departments and agencies to participate, and at their first meeting a month ago they eagerly formed their chapter. Welcome to the National Shomrim family, Minnesota Shomrim!
National Shomrim Chaplain Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in National Police Week Memorial events. Port Authority Shomrim Chaplain and Port Authority Chaplain Rabbi Mendy Carlebach gave the the invocation and benediction to the bikers from the Police Unity Bike Tour, a 4 day, 350 mile journey held annually prior to Police Week that departed from the WTC site to ride to Washington D.C. It began on Monday, May 11th, and among those joining in the ride was Port Authority Shomrim Trustee Jonathan Schneider, who rode in memory of his NYPD cadet classmate, Det. William Mora, who was killed in the line of duty in January of this year. Members of the Israeli Police flew in to ride with their colleagues in the tristate area. When they crossed into New Jersey Rabbi Carlebach hosted the bikers at the Chabad House at Rutgers University. When the tour reached Maryland, they were met by Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum, Chaplain of Shomrim of Maryland. Rabbi Tenenbaum, Shomrim of Maryland President Mordechai Singer, and local community leaders treated the riders to delicious food at the Knish Shop in Pikesville, Maryland. On Friday morning, May 13th, the delegation joined the members of various Shomrim chapters who came in from across the country for the annual Yizkor service, which was led by Shomrim of D.C. President Jay Gruber. Numerous chaplains from various departments attended alongside the members in uniform. Guest speaker at the Yizkor ceremony was Israel Police Major General Eran Kamin, the Police and Public Security Ministry Attache to North America for Israel, who sadly announced the death of Israeli Police Sgt. Noam Raz, murdered by terrorists in Jenin. Following the memorial service Shomrim of D.C. hosted all attendees with breakfast in a nearby location. Rabbi Berkowitz is traveling to Israel shortly to meet with the Israeli Police, and we wish him safe travels.
Our National Shomrim convention has very few cabins left. While our convention is action packed with events, meetings and outings, the Celebrity Beyond, the ship we are scheduled to sail on January 22, 2023 from Ft. Lauderdale, has become the star of our upcoming trip. With seven time Olympic Gold Medal gymnast Simone Biles named as it’s godmother, this newest Edge-series ship, which will be christened in November 2022, redefines luxury. Featuring Eden, a three deck observation lounge; the “Magic Carpet;” menus designed by world famous chef Daniel Boulud; and an adults only retreat/pool (yay!), the Celebrity Beyond, with Captain Kate McClure at the helm, will take us on a seven day journey to the beautiful ports of St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Puerto Plata. Included in our special price is the Classic Beverage Package, Free WiFi and all tips, as well as our onboard credit of $50.00 per stateroom. Please contact our National Shomrim cruise planner Tony Lostumbo at firstname.lastname@example.org for availability. Kosher food is available at no extra charge, and many items on the ship are kosher, including yogurts, cereals, milk (regular, lactose-free and soy/almond). Anyone requiring kosher meals would have to notify Tony in advance. Vegan meals are also available throughout the ship as well as special meals for those travelers who have peanut or other allergies or dietary restrictions. We are also looking for lecturers for our Signature Speaker Series, so if you have a topic of interest that you’d like to share, contact our convention co-chairperson Betty Astrizky at BAstrizky@aol.com and we’ll put you into the lineup. Join us!
Chapter News and Events
Shomrim of Illinois has a full slate of activities coming up, so put these dates in your calendars:
- Sunday, July 31, 2022 – Annual Picnic, Apachi Day Camp, Northbrook
- Monday, August 8, 2022 – 24th Annual Golf Outing, Arboretum Club, Half Day Road, Buffalo Grove
- Thursday, November 3, 2022 – 61st Annual Endowment Fund and Dinner Dance, Hilton Doubletree, Skokie
- December 2022 – Chanukah Party, date to be announced
Please check their website, www.shomrimillinois.org, to view all the details on these events, including locations and prices. You can also contact Elliot Cohen, Director of Special Events, at email@example.com.
Shomrim of Illinois President David Appel, past president Steven Marchfield, board member Harold Brown (President of the Retired Chicago Police Association) and Chaplain Rabbi Moshe Wolf (also Chicago PD chaplain) participated in the St. Jude’s Memorial March on May 2nd with other chaplains and police officers as they honored the brave heroes of the Chicago PD who died in the line of duty.
After numerous delays, NYPD Shomrim and Shomrim of Illinois are looking forward to resuming their annual Mission to Israel. The dates for this ten day trip are October 18 thru 28, 2022 and will visit important and holy sites in our ancestral homeland. There are different prices depending on if attendees depart from Chicago, Miami or New York, so please contact Elliot Cohen at 847.778.7272 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. But before you plan your trip to Israel, make plans to join NYPD Shomrim at their Annual Picnic on Sunday, June 19, 2022, at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, NY. There will be games for the kids and lots of food. Please go to their website, nypdshomrim.org, for information on how to buy tickets to this classic summer bbq. Save the date for their annual Memorial Breakfast, Sunday, October 23, 2022, at Temple Emanu-El in NYC. Details TBA.
Nassau Shomrim recently honored their chaplains for celebrating a combined half century of service to their department and chapter. Rabbi Barry Dov Schwartz and Rabbi Abraham Simcha Lefkowitz have been providing spiritual guidance to the officers of the Nassau County Police for 25 years, and their hard work was recognized at a lavish dinner on May 16th in Great Neck, NY.
Congratulations to the new board of FDNY Ner Tamid Society! With thanks to outgoing president Lt. Abe Englard, who will remain on the board as their Treasurer, Captain Yonatan Klein will take over the leadership of Ner Tamid, assisted by incoming vice president FF Jonathan Haber, Sergeant-at-Arms Paramedic Chaim Dovid Speigel, and FF Paul Demell, who will be their Communications Officer and responsible for disseminating all their meeting and event notices. Welcome Yonatan, Jonathan, Chaim and Paul, and with Abe still on the board, you’ll have great guidance.
South Florida Shomrim President Harvey Meshel and his wife Randi, the organization’s Treasurer, were recently honored by the South Florida PBA Law Enforcement at their Gala dinner dance on May 21, 2022. They were given a special recognition award for their work at the Surfside building collapse where they were a daily presence, coordinating water, meals, equipment, anything the rescuers needed at that deadly site, calling in favors and contacts. Congratulations Harvey and Randi, your volunteerism is an inspiration and a great example for National Shomrim. Harvey recently went north to Tallahasee, the state capitol of Florida, where he helped in the investigation of a kitchen fire that destroyed the Chabad of Tallahasee, including all the Torahs and prayer books.
Shomrim of D.C. member and our National Shomrim official photographer Sheldon Levi was recently gifted a Patriot Guard Riders challenge coin. Sheldon selflessly escorts, as part of an entourage and his volunteer work with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, the remains of our fallen servicemen to their final resting place at the Florida National Cemetery. It is a duty Sheldon has taken on without being asked, as he sees it as an honor for these brave heroes. Truly a mitzvah that embodies the essence of Judaism. We also wish Sheldon’s sister Susan a refeuah shelemah. Susan recently underwent open heart surgery in New York.
Shomrim of Illinois celebrated several mazal tovs recently. Immediate Past President Tamara Margolis, Board member Andy Block, and member Heather Daniels are all Lieutenants on the Chicago Police Department and were hand picked for Captain’s training. As vacancies open up Tamara, Andy and Heather will be promoted to the rank of Captain. And a very happy 90th birthday to founding member and past president of Shomrim of Illinois retired Sergeant Leroy Levy. A great mentor and friend to many in Shomrim, Leroy has provided guidance to many Executive Boards over the years. Mazal tov, Leroy and til 120!
Congratulations to National Shomrim Associate Member Jed Dolnick, who was reelected to a second term on the West Bend, Wisconsin Common Council. Jed previously served on the Council from 1981 to 1985, then from 1998 to 2002, and returned to the seat in 2020. Jed served 24 years with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, based in West Bend, and was also Chief of Police of nearby Jackson, serving for 17 years before retiring in 2018. He was a member of the Planning Commission for 29 years. Jed served as president of the Wisconsins Chiefs of Police Associations in 2014. His oldest son Ben is a police officer in Elk Grove.
NYPD Shomrim Presdient Phil Weisbord, past NYPD Shomrim President Joe Cohen and Port Authority Shomrim President Scot Pomerantz were among the guests at Gracie Mansion at City Hall to commemorate Jewish Heritage Month, where Mayor Eric Adams recognized the many accomplishments of the Jewish community in New York.
Port Authority Shomrim President Scot Pomerantz has signed up to run the NYC Marathon. He’s in training for the 26 mile run through all 5 boros of New York City. The race will be broadcast on Sunday, November 6, 2022, and we will be cheering Scot on while he runs one of the classic marathons in sports. Scot recently reached a milestone in his career, celebrating 20 years of service with the Port Authority Police. From Police Officer to Sergeant to VIP Lieutenant, at various facilities including JFK, PATH and the WTC Command, Scot has always exhibited professionalism and we expect even greater successes from him in the future.
Port Authority Shomrim retired member Irwin Bressler’s grandson, Howard Breslin, recently published an article in the Jewish Star newspaper, where he wrote a thought provoking article on the recent murder of an Al Jazeera journalist in Jenin, Israel. Howard is an attorney who has written articles in the past on the conflict in Israel, a conflict that unfortunately is not being resolved soon.
We sadly send condolences to Miriam Appel, wife Shomrim of Illinois President /National Shomrim Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms David Appel on the passing of her mother Deborah Sheinin, and NYPD Shomrim 1st Vice President/National Shomrim 2nd Vice President Ben Gelber on the passing of his mother Cynthia. May the Appel and Gelber families know no more sorrows, and may the souls of their loved ones rest in eternal peace.
Our organization welcomed two new associate members!
- MIndi Wynne of Brookville, Ohio, is a semi-retired firefighter and EMT who has been involved in Emergency Services since age 10. Along with her father, a paramedic and Deputy Sheriff in Montgomery County, Ohio, Mindi is a Captain and has responded to numerous calls from Box 21 Rescue Squad, an all volunteer fire and EMS station in Dayton. In the 1990s she was contracted to the Trotwood, Ohio Police Department and developed neighborhood watch programs and COPP (Citizens on Police Patrol), which still exists. Employed by various departments over the years, Mindi never lost her connection with Box 21. She and her search dog Nola respond to incidents including drownings, fires, SWAT calls, CSIs and provided security for President Donald Trump when he visited Dayton. Mindi is an active member of the Ohio Emergency Medical Services. She lives in a multi generational household with her husband Ron, daughter and son in law and grandsons, and a variety of animals, including 46 chickens! Her daughter Rachel has followed in her footsteps and is the third generation in her family to be involved with Box 21, and are looking forward to a fourth generation continuing the family tradition.
- Ira Reifer, a resident of Brooklyn, NY, is a member of the United States Coast Guard.
BOLO! We recently learned of two Jewish police officers in departments who we’d like to introduce to National Shomrim. If anyone knows MTA Sgt. David Bergstein in NY, or PO Jonathan Feinberg in Morris County, NJ, please get their emails and forward it to the Corresponding Secretary at BAstrizky@aol.com and we’ll reach out to them. And, as always, if you meet any Jewish police officers, fire fighters, court/probation/court officers, DAs/ADAs, 911 dispatchers, any Jewish member in uniformed services and support positions, please tell them about National Shomrim, get their emails and we’ll tell them about our great organization.
NYPD Shomrim member Police Officer Jeff B. Herman, who, at 25, gave his life in the line of duty on June 2, 1989. Four days prior, just after midnight on May 30, 1989, PO Herman and his partner PO William Lynch responded to a call for a domestic dispute. The female complainant previously had the male suspect arrested for kidnapping her, and the male, after being released, returned to get her to drop the charges. When POs Herman and Lynch arrived, the male drew a handgun and shot PO Lynch in the back. PO Herman was shot in the leg and shoulder. The suspect committed suicide when police tracked him down. PO Herman was taken to Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, where he died of his wounds four days later. PO Herman was assigned to the 71st Precinct in Brooklyn and had served the people of NYC for 5 years, joining the NYPD in 1984. He was survived by his parents Bebe and Jack, sister Jill, his wife Irene and son Joseph. In 1991 the McDonald Playground, named the PO Jeff Herman Ball Field, was dedicated in his memory in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, where he was raised and and often played sports at the Shorefront Y. He coached and played on the 71st Precinct’s baseball team there. On this 25th anniversary of his death, a ceremony was held at Yeshiva Magen David, across the street from that ballpark. Officers from the 71st Precinct were there and students from the yeshiva dedicated four trees in the park in memory of PO Herman, and a plaque was erected to him, which was presented to his mother Bebe and his widow Irene. They also wrote letters to the family, which were compiled in a book and presented to the family, expressing their feelings of hope each day they walk past the trees. PO Herman’s niece, PO Taylor Cannon, carries on his legacy in the NYPD. His mother Bebe and his niece visited the 71st Precinct that day and stopped at his locker as the officers there and PDA leadership also remembered their fallen brother.
CHAPTER PRESIDENTS! Please send in your chapter activities with as much advance notice as possible. We sometimes receive emails about chapter activities a day or two in advance of the event. Even better, post them to the National Shomrim Facebook page and they will be approved. Our Facebook page has close to 400 members and is continuously updated with the latest chapter news and events and job opportunities, as well as lots of pictures and posts about our members. There is no reason for any of our chapters to not be on social media these days. It is the only way communications are made these days, even emails are becoming obsolete. Chapter presidents, if you aren’t able to set up a Facebook or Instagram page, appoint a member to be your social media coordinator and funnel all your information thru that person. And all chapter members should ask to join the National Shomrim Facebook page. We know that there are many members out there who would join the Facebook page and get more involved if they knew about it. Recently we met various members of a chapter who said that they don’t receive the newsletter and didn’t know about the Facebook page. That’s not good because you want all your members involved. If you need help please contact any National Shomrim board member and we’ll guide you. And please respond promptly when you’re contacted via emails or IMs. Don’t forget to send in your chapter dues of $100.00, so your chapter can having voting rights on any upcoming issue and at meetings. Keep your chapter updated and keep us updated!
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS! Numerous associate members came to march with us at the Celebrate Israel Parade and as we always say, they are just as important to our organization as our chapters. Associate members appreciate being part of National Shomrim because they might be the lone Jew in their department or city. Maintaining their Jewish identity is important and we can’t thank you enough for keeping your membership active. Please send in your 2022 associate member dues of $18.00 so you’ll be up to date. If you’re not sure your 2021 dues have been paid, please let us know and we’ll look it up for you. We’ve had to drop a handful of associate members who haven’t paid dues for several years. We don’t like doing that so keep you membership active and, just as importantly, please join us at any National Shomrim and chapter events, and come join us on our Annual Convention!