National Police Week occurs every May, and is observed at the National Law Enforcement Police Memorial, located at Judiciary Square, Washington, D.C. This year, National Police Week was observed from May 11–17. The National Law Enforcement Museum and associated organizations held ceremonies, including the 34th Annual Candlelight Vigil, to honor the fallen officers whose names have recently been added to the memorial.
On Friday morning, May 13, the National Conference of Shomrim Societies held its annual memorial Yizkor Service for our fallen Jewish comrades in law enforcement at the National Law Enforcement Memorial. The group was honored to be joined by a contingent of our Israeli police brethren. The service was led by Jay Gruber, Chief of Public Safety for Georgetown University, who was joined in communal prayers by Cantor Michael Shochet, Chief Chaplain for the Fairfax County Police in Virginia, Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz, and Rabbi Chesky Tennenbaum. Among the guests were Rick Snyder, Fraternal Order of Police National Chaplain, and Rabbi Mark Shook, Chaplain Coordinator for the St. Louis County Police Department in Missouri. Israel Police Major General Eran Kamin, Police and Public Security Ministry Attaché to North America, Embassy of Israel, delivered the keynote address. Queens residents will be acutely familiar with Michael Conigliaro, a lawyer by trade and the Republican candidate for New York State Assembly in District 28. Conigliaro, who previously ran a competitive race for the New York City Council seat to represent Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Rego Park, and parts of Richmond Hill, was also in attendance to honor the fallen officers.
Rabbi Tzvi (Harry) Berkowitz, National Shomrim Chaplain, Chief Chaplain at the NYS Fraternal Order of Police, and Founder and Director of The Universal Jewish Police Association, invited me to attend the event but unfortunately scheduling did not allow. Our conversations leading up to the program and thereafter exemplified the tried-and-true Jewish traits of the organization.
National Shomrim is comprised of police Shomrim chapters covering the entire country and includes associate members from the United States and other parts of the world. Together, they are all united in joining our Jewish brothers and sisters employed in the public safety fields.
On Friday, as part of the Police Unity Tour, National Shomrim police officers joined other officers from around the country, joined by the Israel Police contingency, biking from the World Trade Center Memorial Plaza in New York to Washington.
The Police Unity Tour aims to raise awareness of the law enforcement officers who have perished in the line of duty. The tour also raises funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Museum and Memorial Fund.
The tour launched on Monday, May 9, with an invocation and benediction by Rabbi Mendy Carlebach, chaplain NYNJ Port Authority Police, and NYNJ Port Authority Shomrim chaplain.
Later Monday, Rabbi Carlebach hosted the Israeli Police delegation at the Chabad House at Rutgers University. Wednesday evening, May 11, at the initiative of Rabbi Berkowitz, the group was hosted at the Knish Shop, in Pikesville, Maryland, by Rabbi Chesky Tennenbaum, chaplain for Maryland Shomrim; Mordechai Singer, president of the Maryland Shomrim; and local community leaders.
As the Friday memorial concluded, the attendees sadly learned of the death of Israel Police Sgt. Noam Raz, 47. Raz was killed during an operation against terrorists in Jenin.
Communicated to Shabsie Saphirstein