With no known credible threats for the high holiday season, calm and smiles were on hand this past Wednesday, September 21, in the auditorium at One Police Plaza when the renowned headquarters for the NYPD once again filled with Orthodox Jewish community leaders for a return to an in-person Annual High Holiday Briefing. In addition to the Mayor, police commissioner, and chief chaplain, in attendance were Richie Taylor, Inspector, Commanding Officer, Community Affairs Outreach; and his deputy commissioner, Mark Stewart; Chief of Department Kenny Corey; Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey; Chief of Staff to the Police Commissioner Oleg Chernyavsky; Chief of Brooklyn South Michael Kemper; Chief of Brooklyn North Judy Harrison, and Chief of Staten Island Gin Yee.
Over 400 officers and Jewish leaders took precedence for the honored speakers and busy police department, despite President Joe Biden and 150 world leaders in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
The program included a special presentation by Comm. Sewell in memory of Reb Yankie “Jack” Meyer z”l, NYPD Clergy Liaison, Community Affairs Bureau. In the presence of his son Shlomo, the commissioner called his father “an exceptional person, respected, and held to the highest regard by all who knew him.” Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass has served the NYPD as Chief Chaplain for over 56 years. He led a moment of silence for Reb Meyer “who did so much to help people during bereavement, who was such a vibrant champion of the Jewish people and Jewish causes throughout the years.” In acknowledging the recent passing of retired Chief Chuck Scholl, the police commissioner commented, “Chief Scholl served this city and this department for over four decades, and we own him and his family a huge debt of gratitude.” The Queens Jewish Link will discuss this loss further in our next edition.
First off, on Wednesday, was a Heroes Video narrated by Tom Selleck, and James Earl Jones, followed by words from Sergeant Timothy Shortell of the Ceremonial Unit. The NYPD Band played a live musical selection followed by the National Anthem led by Police Officer Eric Kramer. Delegations from the Queens Jewish community departed both the 107th and 112th precincts. Both commanding officers, Deputy Inspector Kevin Chan and Deputy Inspector Joseph E. Cappelmann, respectively, were in attendance. Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov, rav of Kehilat Sephardim of Ahavat Achim in Kew Gardens Hills, was on hand as community liaison to the 107, and Avraham Pinkhasov in the same position to the 112.
With the rise in anti-Semitism citywide, police vowed to be vigilant throughout the holiday season. This sentiment was echoed at a local pre-High Holiday briefing that I attended last week at the 107 with C.O. Chan and Kevin McCarthy of his Community Affairs Unit. Attending for the Mayor’s Office were Senior Advisor Joel Eisdorfer and CAU Commissioner Fred Kreizman. Pinkhasov and I represented Queens Borough Safety Patrol – Shmira. Additionally present were Israel Nitzan, Deputy Consul General of Israel in New York; Yechiel Kalish, CEO, Chevra Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Service; Rabbi Yaniv Meirov, CEO, Chazaq; Duvi Honig, CEO, Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce; Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, RAA Executive Vice President; Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank, RAA Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs; NYC Council Members Kalman Yeger, Ari Kagan, and Lynn Schulman attended along with Baltimore City Councilman Yitzy Schleifer. Schulman is the lone council member to represent the Jewish caucus from Queens. Pinny Hikind, Jewish liaison to NYC Comptroller Brad Lander; Simon Sebag, Jewish liaison to Public Advocate Jumaane Williams; Pesach Osina, Jewish liaison to NYC Council Speaker Adrianne Adams; Alan Weinberg, Fiscal Officer, Office of the Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; Avigdor Cyperstein, co-founder, Chaverim of Queens, Rabbi Daniel Pollack, Jewish liaison to Rep. Grace Meng; Alan Sherman, co-president Mid-Queens Community Council; Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, Director of New York Government Relations at Agudath Israel of America, and Stuart Verstandig, President, YIKGH. Community leaders at the event included NYPD Clergy Liaison David Heskiel, Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman, Rabbi Abe Friedman, Honorary Police Surgeons Jack Husney and Rafi Lilker, Achiezer President Baruch Ber Bender, FJCC Chairman Josh Mehlman, 48th District Leader Pinny Ringel, Political Activist Ushi Teitelbaum, Rabbi Michael Miller formerly of JCRC-NY, and American entrepreneur Brock Pierce. A breakfast buffet was provided by Isaac’s Bakery, Ostrovitzky Bakery, and Bagel Hole all of Brooklyn.
As always, if you see something suspicious, report the incident to 911, and dial the NYPD Counterterrorism Tipline, 1-888-NYC-SAFE.
By Shabsie Saphirstein