I joined Queens Borough Safety Patrol-Shmira to bring protection services in our Jewish community to the next level. I am proud to say that we are well on the way to accomplishing this vital task. This past Monday evening, we had our monthly meeting where our force - 24 members strong - was introduced to a newly-organized board of directors, including Ari Hoch, Shimmy Idels, Meshulem Lisker, and Brad Martin. Kudos to Mr. Martin, who also joined as a member. The members went through a serious training led by Levi Leifer, director of the international organization, and several his executive staff members: Simcha Abramvitz, Yoely Friedman, and Yossi Leifer.
Our local division covers the widest range of territory - from Rego Park to Holliswood, including Kew Gardens, and loosely bordered by Briarwood and the Long Island Expressway. We have three patrol vehicles that go out regularly, often during the night, to patrol our streets and bring awareness to people with bad intentions that they should make an about-face. Time after time, we can proudly report that these measures have successfully worked in keeping wrongdoers from returning. As our organization expanded, so have the number of hotline calls. I can attest to this increase, as I carry one of the mobiles devices and answer the call of the community at literally any given hour. We respond in mere minutes and coordinate directly with law enforcement.
Our rabbinic board has also expanded to include not only Rav Noach Isaac Oelbaum, but now Rav Igal Haimoff and Rav Shmuel Marcus as well. Nothing is more important than the core of the community - unity. Like our diverse communities, our group does not see the ethnicity, customs, or traditions of the Queens residents we aim to protect. We lead searches for any Jew who goes missing, make wellness checks when the need arises, respond to noise and quality of life complaints, and offer advice to keep our families, institutions, and shuls safe – all our community partners in our mission of safety.
Protection and our community’s welfare works hand-in-hand with direct communication with the New York Police Department. Our friends at the 107th and 112th precincts are available to us at any hour, and we are developing our relationship with the 102nd precinct in Kew Gardens too. Prior to the chagim, our resources were vital to these precincts as we provided security for more than 20 Torah dedication parades in our immediate area, an incredible feat to say the least. For Sukkos, we ensured the success of a mega Kew Gardens Hills concert, and for Chanukah we led various parades and outdoor activities in conjunction with the NYPD. We are always available for community functions.
There really is no area we leave unturned, and patrolling our communities is the essence of our work.
We are here to be the eyes and ears of the community!
By Shabsie Saphirstein, Community Outreach Coordinator