Written and Produced by Betty Astrizky, Corresponding Secretary, National Conference of Shomrim Societies
We are proud to present the incoming National Shomrim Executive Board who were unanimously elected into their positions at the annual convention of our organization!
- President – Henri Portner (PAPD)
- Executive Vice President – David Rosenzweig (FDNY)
- First Vice President – Spenser Strauss (NYPD)
- Second Vice President – Ben Gelber (NYPD)
- Treasurer – Marty Turetzky (NYPD)
- Recording Secretary – Murray Ellman (NYPD)
- Corresponding Secretary – Betty Astrizky (PANYNJ)
- Sergeant-at-Arms – Jeff Grossman (Bexar County, TX)
- Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms – David Appel (Chicago PD)
- Marshall – Shevy Berkovits (Nassau County, NY PD)
Our new president, Sgt. Henri Portner of the Port Authority Police currently assigned to LaGuardia Airport, was born into Shomrim. His father, retired P.O. Stuart Portner, was a past president of NYPD Shomrim and National Shomrim. Henri grew up going to many NYPD Shomrim functions, including the Father’s Day picnics, the Passover distributions, the annual National Shomrim conventions when they were held in the Catskills – so he’s got Shomrim in his blood. Henri has the dedication and can always call on his proud papa for advice on how to lead our organization into the next decade. He is the second Port Authority Shomrim member to become president – he follows Lt. Scot Pomerantz (WTC), who was the first Port Authority Shomrim member to lead National Shomrim. Henri and Stu are also the second father-son team to be the president of National Shomrim. The first father and son who were presidents of our organization are Joseph Itzko, OBM, and his son, Steve Itzko, who were both with the Philadelphia PD and members of Shomrim of Philadelphia. We love these histories! It shows the continuity of the Shomrim tradition is strong! Henri and the rest of the National Shomrim board were sworn into their positions at our private cocktail party by the organization’s chaplain Cantor Alan Edwards. Scot gave a farewell speech, thanking everyone for their assistance during his term, and Henri took the podium after him, pledging to work hard to make our organization an even greater success.
It was another amazing convention on board the Celebrity Reflection. Our classes were, as always, well attended and super interesting. Our resident expert on terrorism, Mordy Dzikansky, gave a thorough analysis of why Israel is successful in preventing terrorist attacks. Alana Strauss, the wife of National Shomrim First Vice President Spenser Strauss, spoke about why annual health exams are so important. The breakout speaker at the convention was Jay Goldberg, who gave a thorough and surprising history of American Jewish War heroes. We learned about Jewish Revolutionary War Heroes in George Washington’s army, Jewish Rebels and Jews in the Union Army, and so many others. A shocking fact was that Ft. Myers, Florida was named for Abraham Myers, a Jewish Quartermaster General in the Confederate Army, who achieved the rank of colonel. The stuff you can learn at our convention!
Abbamania! Beatlemania! Silent Disco, private parties and a special beach bbq in St. Lucia! In National Shomrim’s down time convention attendees, including our friends from other fraternal organizations who joined us, enjoyed the many activities the beautiful Celebrity Reflection cruise ship offered. The beach bbq, which was co-hosted by Chabad of St. Lucia and National Shomrim, was a big hit. Rabbi Avraham and Sternie Super pulled out all the stops to make it so special for our group. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and salads were in abundance, with all the fixings. Rabbi Super even baked the hamburger buns himself! Our group also helped to make a minyan and davened minchah, the afternoon prayer service, on the beach. Two of our attendees – Betty Astrizky, the National Shomrim Corresponding Secretary/Port Authority Shomrim First Vice President, and Bernie Kaplan, past NYPD Shomrim President – both observed yarzheits on that day and were able to say Kaddish, thanks to the minyan. National Shomrim never forgets our Jewish heritage.
Next year’s convention has been set! We will be meeting on board the Celebrity Edge cruise ship, sailing on Sunday, January 10, 2021 for 7 days, from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel and the Cayman Islands. The Edge has been given numerous awards for its innovative design. It didn’t just renovate cabins, dining and entertainment. The Magic Carpet is used as a tender platform and on special days climbs to deck 16 for exclusive brunches and dinners “on the Edge.” The ship has “infinite verandas,” extending the outward part of the balcony into the stateroom by moving the steel superstructure of the ship inward. It is the first ship to to use facial recognition for boarding and you can control your cabin’s lights and temperature from your phone. It also holds the distinction of having a woman command the helm of a cruise ship in the captain’s position. Our group was so dazzled by the video shown of the Edge by our official Shomrim cruise planner, Tony Lostumbo, that almost all the staterooms were booked immediately. As of now only about 10 cabins remain. Prices for next year’s convention are:
- Balcony – $1,789.00 per person (Single ($3,578.00)
- Oceanview – $1,479.00 per person (Single $2,958.00)
A $500.00 deposit is due at the time of the booking and is fully refundable until October 1, 2020. Tax is an additional $137.83 per person. All attendees will receive a $50.00 credit per stateroom and the choice of two of these four perks: beverage package, $300.00 shipboard credit, internet or prepaid gratuities. Insurance is additional and highly recommended. To book for our convention next year please contact Tony at Tony@cruiseplannersone.com, or call him at (954) 384-SAIL (7245).
One more fact – kosher food is available to anyone who requires it, for all three meals. It should be preordered to make it easier for the dining services staff and to minimize waiting for times at meals, but, as two attendees to this past convention will attest to, kosher meals can be ordered at each meal service. They approached the maitre’d and asked for a kosher meal and it was brought to them sealed, with a challah roll and plastic cutlery. So don’t let the myth that there’s no kosher food available stop anyone from joining us. We had several observant attendees who preordered the kosher meals and each dinner was reported to be delicious!
NATIONAL SHOMRIM NEWS
Save the date for the annual Celebrate Israel Parade, where National Shomrim marches proudly every year up Fifth Avenue in New York City. The parade is scheduled for Sunday, June 7, 2020. There is a preparade collation and a National Shomrim meeting right before we step off to the cheers of thousands of people who show their Jewish pride. This year we want as many associate members and all our chapters to attend, so make your plans now to join us. Don’t delay! Its one of the best events our organization participates in every year.
CHAPTER NEWS AND INFORMATION
Our chapters had some great Chanukah celebrations! Beginning on the second night, NYPD welcomed Commissioner Dermot Shea as they lit candles in One PP. Port Authority Shomrim’s Menorah Lighting at the Oculus at the WTC on the fifth night of Chanukah was well attended, with their showcase menorah, designed with a piece of original WTC steel, taking its special place for all the visitors to the area to see. Shomrim of Maryland had their Menorah Lighting and Gelt Drop on the fifth night of Chanukah at the JUSA Center on Sugarcone Road in Baltimore. Their chaplain, Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum, also led Chanukah Shabbat services on the seventh day of Chanukah, and held a special kiddush after services to continue the celebration. Nassau Shomrim’s dinner on the eighth day of Chanukah was delicious, and introduced their new President, Gary Koffsky, and thanked outgoing president Shevy Berkovits for his service and dedication to their chapter.
Capt. Kenneth Berkowitz, who has been in contact with National Shomrim for the past year about forming a chapter in his area, is pleased to report they had a meeting on January 14, 2020 with approximately 10 Jewish officers ready to commit their time and dedication to creating the Shomrim of Greater Boston. They also have about 20 other full time officers interested as well as a judge and a DA. They will be having their inaugural event on Thursday, February 6, 2020 at the Trillium Brewery, who have graciously agreed to host a law enforcement appreciation night. We welcome this new chapter and hope to meet them soon. If you would like to attend their first event please email Capt. Berkowitz at KBerkowitz@town.canton.ma.us.
On Saturday, February 1, 2020, Past Shomrim of Georgia President Art Krinsky invites all to the Guardians of the Torah Shabbat Service at the Cohen home, 10485 Jones Bridge Road, John’s Creek, GA. RSVP to ArtKrinsky@aol.com to attend and join the congregation for lunch after services.
Congratulations to Nassau County (NY) Police CDS Detective Gary Koffsky, who was recently elected to the presidency of Nassau Shomrim. Gary has 30 years in law enforcement, with the past 22 years as a Detective. He has worked in various commands including the First Precinct, Bias Crimes, Special Investigations, Community Affairs, the Fifth Squad and is currently assigned to Central Detectives. Gary and his wife Lisa are lifelong residents of West Islip, NY, and have 5 children and a 9 year old granddaughter. They will have their first meeting on Thursday, February 13, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. at Colbeh Restaurant in Great Neck, NY, where Gary will begin assembling his Executive Board. They will be discussing their annual Passover food drive as well as other items on their agenda. A glatt kosher dinner will be served. If you would like to attend please contact them directly at NassauShomrim@gmail.com.
South Florida Shomrim has four tickets available to the Hispanic Police Officer’s Valentine’s Day Gala on Saturday, February 15, 2020. The ticket includes dinner, dancing, an open bar and a portrait. If you would like to attend contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Sunday, March 1, 2020, Shomrim of Maryland will have their membership meeting at 10:00 a.m. at the Jewish Uniformed Services Association of Maryland, 2316 Sugarcone Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21209. Among the many items on the agenda are the plans for National Police Week and the annual Officer Ira Weiner Memorial Service on Sunday, September 13, 2020. Please email their president, Jeremy Silbert, at Silbert@shomrimMD.org, if you’re in the area and would like to attend their meeting.
South Florida Shomrim Society’s annual kosher “Machin a Piknik” will be held on Sunday, March 22, 2020, at 11:00 a.m., at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, Florida. A favorite of many members, this free bbq brings attendees from different chapters as well as their families to this all you can eat extravaganza. South Florida Shomrim is a 501(c)(3) organization and are asking for any tax deductible donations of goods and services as well as for underwriting various portions of the bbq, including the food, entertainment, and other fun events. They also welcome volunteers to help with the set up, cooking and clean up. Contact their president, Harvey Meshel, at email@example.com, to RSVP and to help them out in any way you can. As a reminder, the entry fee to C.B. Smith Park must be paid in order to attend the bbq. South Florida Shomrim cannot waive the entry fee for any attendees. The entry charge goes to the upkeep and maintenance of the 299 acres of the beautiful grounds of C.B. Smith Park. According to the website, the fee is $1.50 per person, $8.00 per vehicle (up to nine passengers) and allows vehicles to enter and exit the park as many times as they want during the hours the park is open. South Florida Shomrim also reminds everyone to save the date for their annual dinner dance on November 10, 2020, at Temple Solel in Hollywood. Details will be in a future newsletter.
Gary Marcus will be sworn in as the newly elected president of the NYPD Shomrim Society, along with the incoming board, at their annual dinner dance on Thursday, April 2, 2020, at Da Mikele Illagio, 79-17 Albion Avenue (off Queens Blvd.), Queens, NY 11373. The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $125.00 per person. Please RSVP to Dinner Chairpersons Murray Ellman at (718) 543-4825 or Marty Turetzky at (917) 774-7809. The incoming board of National Shomrim will also be sworn in at their dinner.
FDNY Ner Tamid Society will be having a Holocaust Memorial Service on April 21, 2020, at FDNY Headquarters, 9 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY. Save the date for this important and solemn event.
NYPD Shomrim and Shomrim of Illinois report they have a few spaces left for their annual Mission to Israel 2020. An eleven day trip beginning April 19 to 29, 2020, the group will travel from one of three U.S. cities – Chicago, Miami or New York – to Tel Aviv, where they will start experiencing Israeli culture and the Jewish history of our people and ancestral homeland. Jerusalem, Masada and Galilee are only a few of the areas they will visit, and of course it wouldn’t be a Shomrim trip without meeting their counterparts in the Israeli Police. To join them please contact Elliot Cohen in Chicago at (847) 778-7272; Sam Miller in NY at (347) 723-6709, and Gordon Nash in Florida (561) 632-7764.
National Police Memorial Week begins on Sunday, May 10, 2020, and Shomrim of D.C. will take the lead in the planning of the Annual Kaddish service, scheduled during May 13 to 15, 2020. Once details are set they will be featured in a future newsletter.
Our friend Michel Theeboom, President of the Jewish Police Network of the Netherlands, posted on their Facebook page – Joods Politie Netwerk – the recent Holocaust commemoration in Amsterdam. Michel works hard to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust doesn’t fade from the memories of Europe and fights against the increasing threat of antisemitism in Amsterdam. Just recently a kosher restaurant in that city was the target of an attempted bombing. Michel plans on joining us for this year’s Celebrate Israel Parade, and if he is able to join us, will give a short briefing on his chapter’s activities and the challenges of being a Jewish police officer in the Netherlands. Please like their Facebook page, and hit the “translate” option on their post for English – unless, of course, you’re fluent in Dutch!
MEMBER NEWS AND INFORMATION
Welcome to our newest associate members Stephen Gordon (retired Oceanside, NY Fire Dept.) and Ronald Regan (Investigator, NYS Office of the Attorney General. We look forward to meeting you at an upcoming event.
On Thursday, February 27, 2020, Nassau Shomrim will be joining their coworkers in the Nassau County PD in honoring member Detective Frederick Goldman as he retires after 27 years of service. Det. Goldman served in the Fifth Precinct, Fifth Squad, Narcotics and Homicide. The festivities will be at the Fox Hollow in Woodbury, NY, and begin at 6:00 p.m. Please contact Homicide Squad members Bob Pescitelli, Jim Carroll or Rob Marsh at (516) 573-7788 to RSVP. Tickets are $95.00.
Congratulations to past NYPD Shomrim President Bernie Kaplan on being featured in the Jewish War Veterans 2020 calendar. Bernie is a Gulf War veteran and spoke about his service, as a Jew and as an American soldier, in the Middle East several years ago as a speaker in our signature lecture series at a past convention. He’s our own Mr. November!
Congratulations to South Florida Shomrim member Dave Lewis, past president of their chapter, on his recent promotion to Lieutenant in the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, and to Nassau Shomrim member Steve Lerner on his promotion to Detective.
Wishing South Florida Shomrim Society First Lady Randi Meshel a very happy big number birthday on February 25, 2020! Her other half bought her a brand new Lincoln Aviator and treated her to a trip to Nashville. Enjoy, Randi, and til 120!
Associate Member Frank Hickey, who marched with us at last year’s Celebrate Israel Parade, took off shortly thereafter to the remote mountains of Shangri-La. He enjoyed Tibetan food and its unique culture but due to political instability couldn’t enter Tibet. He then headed to Vietnam, where he kept a log of what he has been experiencing and reported in from that country and from India, another stop and another stamp in his passport. He has plans on getting to Israel someday in his wanderings. Frank continues to write crime novels about Dancing Max Royster, the world’s only dancing detective. Nine of his books are currently available on Amazon.
NYPD Shomrim was saddened to announce the passing of life member Louis Schlifstein, appointed June 1941, retired June 1961, with the rank of sergeant. At 106 years old, he was the oldest NYPD Shomrim member and was in the same assisted living as retired officer Archie Sayles, another life member. The local precinct officers would often stop in to see Louis and Archie, and the respect they showed to these two icons was nothing short of amazing. Graveside services were held for Sgt. Schlifstein on Friday, January 24, 2020, at New Montefiore Cemetery. Louis did what alot of us strive for – he beat the retirement system by living almost 59 years! He outlived the pension fairy! Rest in peace and may his memory be for a blessing to his family, friends and all of NYPD Shomrim and the NYPD.
We send our condolences to Adrienne Nash, wife of Retired NYPD Deputy Inspector Gordon Nash, on the death of her father Dave Rauch. Dave was a WW2 veteran, a member of the greatest generation. Graveside services were held on Tuesday, January 14, 2020. May Dave rest in peace and may Adrienne and her family know no more sorrows.
South Florida Shomrim is sad to report the death of Maurice Glazer, father of member Judge Mindy Glazer. Born in London, Maurice served in the U.S. Army and lived in Miami Beach for over 50 years, owning AAA Air Conditioning. Graveside services were held on Sunday, January 26, 2020. May Judge Glazer and her family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Israel.
Our Facebook page is always updated with many different job opportunities with agencies across the country. It is the most current way for members to find out about upcoming exams and potential careers in both the public and private sector. One upcoming exam is for New York City Department of Sanitation. The application period is June 3 to June 23, 2020, so please check their website for information on how to apply. They always look to hire snow laborers, so there’s immediate hiring with NYCDOS during weather emergencies. The New York State Court Officers trainee exam will take place in the spring of 2020. The filing period ends February 26, 2020, so don’t delay to begin a great career. Visit their website at nycourts.gov/careers. The New Jersey State Police are also accepting applications for the position of Trooper thru February 23, 2020, so apply online at www.njtrooper.com. These types of opportunities only occur once every 5 to 7 years, so don’t pass it up.
Please forward the newsletter to your active and retired membership, as well as to prospective members. The newsletter is also posted on the National Shomrim Facebook page, which everyone should ask to join (it’s a closed group), and on our website, www.nationalshomrim.org. It is the most current way to see all of our latest events events and posts. We have many pictures posted of our latest convention (they’re also on our website, www.nationalshomrim.org). So log onto Facebook, search for our page, National Conference of Shomrim Societies, ask to join and you’ll be approved. Please remember to email the Corresponding Secretary at BAstrizky@aol.com with all of your chapter’s upcoming activities so they can be included in the next newsletter. Also, if your executive board has changed, please email the Corresponding Secretary with the new, updated board members and their contact information so that we are up to date with our records.
We hope that you are planning on joining us at any one of our upcoming events. We want to see you at the Celebrate Israel Parade, or at a dinner, or anytime you visit any of our areas where we have a chapter. Please keep your membership active! Our associate members are our lifeline to areas where there is a small or nonexistent Jewish community and where they might be the only Jew in their department. Not everyone lives and works in a big metropolitan area with a large Jewish population. If anyone meets a Jewish police officer, fire fighter, EMT, court/corrections/parole/probation officer, DA/ADAs, as well as civilian employees of government agencies, in their day to day responsibilities or on vacation or anywhere they might be, and that person hasn’t heard of our organization, please be sure to tell them about National Shomrim and get their contact information. Also, if anyone is traveling to a city where we have a chapter or associate member, reach out to them! There’s nothing better than meeting our counterparts in Shomrim!
Chapter dues and Associate Member dues go to the works of the organization. National Shomrim as well as many chapters are 501 (c)(3) charities, so dues go to charitable events and other important causes. One of the many reasons we always ask members and chapters to pay their dues is because of a recent incident a local chapter reported. A member of that chapter, an observant Jew, asked for an accommodation and was met with a negative response. The chaplains sprang into action and resulted in the Commanding Officer to reverse the original decision, allowing the member to continue his observance. This is the reason all the Shomrim chapters exist and this is the reason that all Shomrim chapters and National Shomrim must continue to exist and this is the reason we all must do our part to ensure that all our members are treated fairly by their agencies and departments.