The Hon. Judge Rachel “Ruchie” Freier made history this week as the first Chassidic woman ever to be elected to take the bench in New York Civil Court. The founder of Brooklyn’s Ezras Nashim all-female ambulance service, Chasdei Devorah and the B’Derech program for at-risk teens turned in a stunning electoral victory in Brooklyn’s Borough Park and Flatbush neighborhoods.
Judge Freier-elect is replacing Judge Noach Dear in the 5th Judicial District Civil Court, State of New York. Dear was recently promoted to State Supreme Court, the main trial court of New York.
As an attorney, she is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia, with more than 30 years’ experience in the field of law. Freier specializes in commercial and residential real estate law, and until her election as a judge maintained offices in Brooklyn and Monroe, NY. She also shares space with her husband and children in a family-run real estate business.
Freier has served as a community board member in Borough Park in addition to founding numerous nonprofit organizations, and after also becoming a licensed EMT in 2012; she eventually earned a New York State license as a paramedic as well. As a lawyer, she has served as a volunteer attorney at the NYC Family Court and is a member of various Bar organizations.
The new judge ran a widely popular campaign, appealing to people across the spectrum with her history of working hard “from the ground floor up” to reach her goals, and persevering without cease until she has achieved the objectives she has set for herself.
A wife and mother of six, Freier attended Touro College to earn her B.A. at age 30, after having given birth to her first three children. That took six years, during which she gave birth to another child, and twins. Working as a legal secretary, she then started law school, and began observing court cases “in vivo” during the summer months.
In a 2015 interview with The Jewish Press, Shreier cited the strong support of her husband and her mother as major factors in her success, and noted that her “family always came first.”
Brooklynites in the 5th District clearly were able to relate to those priorities, as well as to her strong desires to help others get what they need, even when it meant putting in time and hard work of her own to do it.
New York City police are investigating an anti-Semitic attack against a woman as she driving down a main street in Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon, the New York Daily News reported.
The woman, 38, was wearing a traditional Jewish hair covering and driving with two children in her minivan on Nostrand Avenue near the corner of Avenue J.
The incident, which took place in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, began when two teens started yelling a litany of obscenities with the word “Jew” at the end, said police from the 63rd precinct. The entire string of profanity was not clear, the woman said.
One of the teens hurled a rock at the vehicle, which broke the rear window on the driver’s side. Miraculously the two children were not physically injured.
The incident is under investigation by the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.
It was dry and cozy at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, where NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday announced a new executive order that bans companies supporting a boycott of Israeli products from doing business with NY State agencies. Outside, on Fifth Avenue, the stubborn marching groups of the 52nd annual Celebrate Israel parade were pushing ever forward under the persistent rain.
Gov. Cuomo spoke to an audience that included many Jewish leaders and lawmakers, describing the BDS movement as an “economic attack” on Israel. “We cannot allow that to happen,” the governor said, according to the NY Times. “If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you.”
Mr. Cuomo signed the executive order, and then joined the wet masses in the parade.
The BDS usual suspects, such as the movement’s Qatari founder Omar Barghouti, called Cuomo’s move part of Israel’s “legal warfare against BDS,” and complained that Israel was trying to “delegitimize the boycott.” Mostly because the boycott represents an effort to delete, not just delegitimize Israel.
The governor later tweeted: “What a great honor it was to march in the @CelebrateIsrael parade today.”
It may have rained on Sunday in Manhattan literally, but it didn’t rain on Israel’s parade figuratively, as the Broadway Cast of Fiddler on the Roof, the band SOULFARM, – the Paprim Ensemble Dancers of Israel Dance Institute, and the Maccabeats — to name but a few — did their thing down the avenue.
Marching Bands included NYC Police, Cadets, Fusion Core, Saint Brigades Drum & Bugle Corps, Connecticut Hurricanes, Bushwhackers Drum & Bugle Corps, Long Island Sunrisers Drum & Bugle Corps, Upper Schuylkill Marching Band, Raiders Drum & Bugle Corps, Excelsior Drum & Bugle Corps, and Skyliners.
The parade featured floats and vehicles from the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center, American Friends of Magen David Adom, American Technion Society, American Zionist Movement, Ariel University, Avi Chai Foundation, Bank Leumi, Bnei Akiva of the United States and Canada, Carmel, EL AL & Israel Ministry of Tourism, Gift of Life Marrow Registry, Dr. Felix Glaubach & Family, Hazon, Hebron Fund, Hillel Yeshiva, IDB Bank, IDT Corporation, Israel Bonds, State of Israel, Jfiix, Jewish Agency, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Jewish National Fund, Kars 4 Kids, Kids of Courage, Nefesh B’ Nefesh, One Israel Fund, Russian American Jewish Experience, Sephardic Heritage Alliance Inc. & Iranian American Jewish Federation, Stand With Us, and UJA-Federation of NY.
Finally, this is the complete list of the marching groups:
92nd St Y/Jdate
AJC-American Jewish Committee
American Russian Jewish Community Cluster /COJECO
American Veterans of Israel Legacy
AIFL-American Israel Friendship League
Ben Porat Yosef
Berman Hebrew Academy – Rockville, MD
Bi-Cultural Day School
Bnei Akiva of US and Canada
Boy/Girl Scouts of America
Center for Jewish Life
Congregation Or Zarua
Cyprus Federation of America
Eagles Wings Ministries
East Midwood Hebrew Day School
Friends of Israel Scouts – Tzofim Tzabar
Friends of the IDF
Friends of Yashar LaChayal /East Brunswick Tri-Synagogue Alliance
Golda Och Academy
H.E.S. Hebrew Educational Society
HAFTR Lower/Middle/High School
HALB Middle School
Hannah Senesh Community Day School
JAFI – Jewish Agency International Development
JCRC – Long Island
Jewish Educational Center
Jewish Educational Center – Bruriah
Jewish Educational Center – Mesivta,
Jewish Federation Northeastern, PA
Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, NJ
Jewish Federation of North NJ
Jewish Federation Rockland County
Jewish Foundation School
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Joseph Kushner Academy/Rae Kushner HS
Kinneret Day School
Lone Soldier Center
Lower Merion Cluster
Ma’ayanot Yeshiva HS for Girls
Magen David Yeshiva Celia Esses High School
Magen David Yeshivah (2015 Winner)
Maimonides Academy – Los Angeles
Manhattan Day School
Manhattan Jewish Experience
Marks Jewish Community House
Marlboro Jewish Center
Monmouth County – Federation from the Heart of NJ
National Conference of Shomrim Societies
Northeast Queens JCC
Northshore Hebrew Academy Middle/High Schools
OHEL Children’s Home & Family Services / Camp Kaylie
Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School
Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva (2015 Winner)
Ramaz School Middle/High Schools
Rambam Mesivta – Midreshet Shalhevet
Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey
SAR Academy/High School
Shulamith School for Girls – Cedarhurst
Shulamith School for Girls of Brooklyn
Skaters and Bladers in Memory of JJ Greenberg
Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County
Solomon Schechter School of Long Island
Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan
Solomon Schechter School of Queens
Solomon Schechter School of Westchester
Team Lifeline (Chai Lifeline)
Temple Beth Abraham
Temple Israel of Great Neck
Temple Sholom of West Essex
Torah Academy of Bergen County -TABC
UJ Federation of Greater Toronto
United Congregations for Israel
United Mashadi Jewish Committee of America – UMJCA
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism/USY
Volunteers for Israel
Westchester Day School (2015 Winner)
Westchester Hebrew High School
Westchester Jewish Council
Yavneh Academy (2015 Winner)
YB Hillel of Passaic
Yeshiva at the Jersey Shore/Congregation Brothers of Israel
Yeshiva Derech HaTorah
Yeshiva Har Torah
Yeshiva High School 0f Boca Raton
Yeshiva of Central Queens (2015 Winner)
Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle/High School (2015 Winner)
ZOA – Zionist Organziation of America
New York City police have increased patrols around Brooklyn synagogues in the wake of a disturbing incident this past Saturday that was later deemed “a false alarm.”
Two “Middle Eastern-looking” men were seen walking up to the entrance of the Beth Torah synagogue on Ocean Parkway in Midwood,local news media reported.
They appeared to examine the video camera and then photograph the front of the building before a security guard on patrol outside the synagogue showed up. After recording their vehicle information and license plate number (they were driving a blue Honda Accord) he told them to leave.)
Both were seen again an hour later, this time in front of another synagogue a short distance away, according to reports. Both houses of worship serve the neighbor’s Syrian Jewish community.
According to New York City’s Channel 7 Eyewitness News, NYPD later determined the men were “no threat” and the incident was “a false alarm.”
Recently three Brooklyn men of Uzbekistani descent were arrested in connection with suspicion of providing support to Daesh, also known as ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror organization. One of the men was arrested at JFK International Airport just prior to boarding a flight, allegedly to join the terrorist organization in Syria. A second was arrested in Brooklyn. The third was taken into custody in Florida and was transferred back to New York for arraignment on the charges.
As a result, demand for security guards at Jewish community events, particularly in the Sephardic community, has grown in Brooklyn. Terror attacks on Jewish sites abroad have also raised tensions in the community and sparked a rise in demand for security at synagogues and general events.
Rabbi Uziel Admoni of Congregation Bnai Yosef has launched a new initiate to arrange security teams to serve synagogues, schools, banquet halls, and private events held at homes or elsewhere in Brooklyn’s large Sephardic community, according to Community Magazine.
Brooklyn residents, many of them Jews, are fed up with overflowing garbage bins, a situation that some people said is the worst in 50 years, New York’s CBS outlet WINS reported.
“We literally have piles and piles of garbage,” City Councilman David Greenfield told the local station.
Marilyn Leiman of Midwood told WINS, “I never saw it such a mess. If you walk down Avenue J, it’s just awful. And the other thing that gets me is a lot of tourists come here. They come to eat in the kosher pizza store. They come from Israel; from Los Angeles. And I’m so ashamed that they come here and see what it looks like.”
On Sunday, the media were given a unique opportunity to assess Anthony Weiner’s support among Jewish voters. At the Celebrate Israel parade on 5th avenue, the WSJ and the Daily News conducted many interviews with Jewish voters who had mixed feelings about the only Jewish candidate running for mayor in the Democratic primary.
“I have no desire to vote for him,” said Alan Walz, a 54-year-old legal assistant who lives in Queens. “Whether he’s Jewish or not is irrelevant to me. It’s about whether he’d make a good mayor, and based on his indiscretions, I won’t put him in office. He’s already made his bed.”
“The thing you most need in a mayor … is moral integrity, and this man has trampled on integrity,” said Sandy Lebowitz of Midwood, Brooklyn, once Weiner’s political base. “How dare he come here because it’s [politically] convenient.”
Karen Gordon of Riverdale, the Bronx, also said Weiner was unwelcome. “He embarrassed himself, and someone like that shouldn’t be elected,” she said.
“In some ways, your community is the one that’s going to judge you the harshest,” one prominent Jewish leader. told the Daily News, “There’s a Yiddish word for it: shonda. It’s like a shame to the community.”
Others were more forgiving.
“I was disappointed when he quit, so I’m glad he’s back,” said Ellen Kamaras, a 57-year-old accountant in the Brooklyn section of Mr. Weiner’s old district. “Not that I’m condoning what he did, but I always thought that he was good for the community.”
“Weiner for mayor!” yelled Jack Gindi of Flatbush, Brooklyn, who said he could ignore Weiner’s personal foibles.
“The man can and has served well for the people of New York City, and what he does in his private life and whatever else he’s done in the past, I’m willing to overlook for the sake of New York City,” he said.
Queens Rabbi Moses Birnbaum predicted many Jews would end up as Weiner followers, if not on Twitter. “Judaism believes in redemption,” he said. “As far as the unfortunate episode over the Internet, a lot of my people have said the media have fixated on this, when you consider the people serving in Congress who have violated laws, like tax laws, they think he shouldn’t have resigned.” Speaking to reporters Sunday before marching in the parade. Mr. Weiner played down any specific appeal he has to Jews. “I’m very comfortable with the issues that are important to middle-class voters in this city, and I’ve represented a district that had a heavy Jewish population for my entire career,” Mr. Weiner said. “But frankly the things I’m talking about in this campaign are unifying themes. It doesn’t matter where you live, it doesn’t matter what your faith is, you probably believe that this city has become harder for the middle class to live in.”