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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘NYPD’

Kapparot ‘Sacrificial Chicken’ Ritual Gets Green Light in New York

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

The much-embattled Jewish ritual of using a purchased, donated live chicken as a “kapparah,” or sacrifice with which to absolve one’s sins before Yom Kippur has been given a green light in New York.

The purchased chicken is returned to the organization after completing the prayer and is then ritually slaughtered and donated to the poor for food. In some communities money has replaced the rite where chickens have become unavailable or where politics have made the issue so unpalatable that it community leaders no longer have the energy to cope with the fallout.

State Supreme Court Justice Debra James decided against a petition by The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, ruling there was insufficient evidence to prove the ritual a public nuisance, the New York Post reported last week.

The lawsuit was filed this past July and named several rabbis, synagogues, the New York Police Department and New York City as well. It accused the NYC Health Department and the NYPD of aiding and abetting in the ritual by blocking off streets and sidewalks, and not enforcing city and state health and animal cruelty laws.

Various animal rights organizations, including PETA at one point, have annually made the same attempt.

Rabbi Shea Hecht, chairman of the board of the Chabad-Lubavitch-linked National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education (NCFJE), told JewishPress.com in a phone call on Sunday the organization is greatly relieved the judge upheld the ancient custom.

“We are very happy and proud that the Judge held up our Constitutional rights, which are based on freedom of religion, and has allowed us to keep this ancient minhag (custom). Although we recognize that this issue is not over,” he added, “we are thankful to God that we have the opportunity to carry out this important mitzvah to its fullest measure.”

The ritual is carried out as follows:

The live chicken is held above one’s head, and then slowly moved around in three sets of three circles as the petitioner recites a prayer that speaks of the “shadow of death… foolish sinners, afflicted because of their sinful ways and their wrongdoings.”

At no time is it considered permissible to handle the bird roughly, nor is it permissible to torment or upset the bird in any way, which itself is considered the separate sin of tza’ar ba’alei chaim (causing distress to a live creature of God).

The prayer (a brief excerpt follows) goes on to urge repentance, and describe how to expiate one’s sins on the day before Yom Kippur.

“They cry out to the Lord in their distress; He saves them from their afflictions. Redeem him from going down to the grave; I have found expiation [for him]… This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my expiation. This rooster/hen shall go to its death and I shall proceed to a good, long life and peace.”

Hana Levi Julian

Marchers Danced Through Rain at 2015 NY Israel Day Parade

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Parents carried little ones on their shoulders, and held five-year-old children by the hand. Older children gripped their blue-and-white flags tightly and waved them in the breeze as the marching bands played music to dance by — some of them not understand the tears in their grandparents’ eyes.

Tens of thousands of Jews turned out Sunday (May 31) to show their pride in being Jewish, in their visceral connection to the Jewish State, the reborn State of Israel. Politics aside, military threat aside, Israel’s desire for peace was in citywide evidence in the very theme for the event: “Israel Imagines Peace.”

Sponsored by some 35 organizations that included the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the government of the State of Israel and the UJA Federation, this year’s lineup featured some 40,000 marchers, according to UJA Federation CEO Eric Goldstein.

This year’s Grand Marshals were two representatives for the Russian-speaking Jewish community, Alan Meskin and Angela Reyzelman. “Jews originating from the Soviet Union were instrumental builders and warriors of the State of Israel and also directly benefited from the creation of the state in 1948, as for many, Israel became a safe haven, a land of opportunity and a new home,” explained organizers on the Celebrate Israel New York (CelebrateIsraelNY) website.

Representing the State of Israel were Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York; Science, Technology & Space Minister Danny Danon; and Minister Without Portfolio Ofir Akunis. Also marching were Knesset Members Yoav Ben-Tzur, Avraham Nagosa, Ksenia Svetlov and Revital Sweid.

Numerous prominent Jewish personalities participated in the parade; Dr. Ruth Westheimer made a surprise appearance as well, telling FOX television co-anchor Becky Griffin: “It is very important to support this parade, especially today… Imagine living with a Palestinian neighbor, and everyone living in peace – that’s the most important thing for you and me.”

At least 100,000 people lined both sides of Fifth Avenue to watch the marchers make their way up the famous avenue from 57th Street to 74th Street.

Marching up Fifth Avenue. The parade seemed endless.

Marching up Fifth Avenue. The parade seemed endless.

The New York Police Department’s Shomrim Society — the organization of Jewish police officers — was one of the first groups to lead off the parade, as always. The city’s Fire Department also marched, as it does to honor every ethnicity in New York, most of whom are also represented on the force as well.

The parade stepped off at 11 am and continued through until 3pm; at about 2 pm, a light rain began to fall on marchers and spectators – but no one paid any attention to the droplets.

Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center was also represented at the parade.

Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center was also represented at the parade.

“This year’s parade is the largest in the history of the event,” JCRC executive vice president and CEO Michael Miller smiled. “Next year it will be just as big – if not bigger!,” he added.

Perhaps the group that summed up the experience best was RAJE, the Russian American Jewish Experience, which ran the banner, “Let My People Know!”

Hana Levi Julian

LIVE: New York Celebrates the Israel Day Parade [video]

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

New York is celebrating for one of its largest, most popular – and possibly more controversial – parades of the year: the Israel Day Parade. More than 30,000 marchers are parading down the city’s most famous street — Fifth Avenue — from 11 am to 4 pm ET.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators began gathering early Sunday as organizations prepared their floats and schools brought their students on the buses to designated step-off sites. Random groups of protesters hoping to express their thoughts tried to break into the area of the march to reach spectators and marchers but failed miserably — New York’s finest had already blocked off the area long, long before.  Security is tight and the area is well-protected with both uniformed and undercover personnel.

Millions of others around the world who are unable to attend can participate virtually via the Internet as well: the Nachum Segal Network begins its live feed of the event at 11 am ET, and CelebrateIsraelNY.org — the official website for the parade and all Israel Day Parade events in New York today — kicks off its official live feed at 12 noon.

This year, popular Israeli vocalist “Rita” will be performing, as will: Miri Ben-Ari, a Grammy Award-winning violinist, Golem, SoulFarm, The Shul Band, The Ramaz Band, The Israel Dance Institute, The Areyvut Mitzvah Clows and many others. The NYPD Shomrim Society – the organization of Jewish New York City Police Officers – will also be marching, along with the city’s Fire Department and many local and state officials as usual. Hundreds of Jewish schools and community organizations will be joining them on foot and on floats as well.

Also marching in the parade this year are several controversial groups, including the Americans for Peace Now and the New Israel Fund, both of which carry out activities against Israeli development and in support of the Palestinian Authority. There has been a great deal of debate over their participation in the parade, which was established to express pride in the rebirth and continued life in the State of Israel.

Other Israel Festival activities are continuing in various locations around the city, including Central Park and at Pier 94, until 7 pm.

 

Hana Levi Julian

NYPD Cop Shot in the Head

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

A NY Police Department plainclothes officer, Brian Moore (25), was shot in the head in Queens, NY.

Moore and his sergeant, Eric Jensen, where sitting in an unmarked car when they saw a suspicious man.

They pulled up beside him, and the man, identified as Demetrius Blackwell, allegedly shot at the cops three times. Two bullets hit Moore in the head.

Moore was rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where doctors placed him in a medically induced coma after 4 hours of surgery to reduce pressure on the brain.

He is the 5th NYPD cop to be shot in the past 5 months.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Former Cop Sues NYPD for Anti-Semitism, Including Nazi and Oven Jokes

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Imagine having the job of your dreams: you become a New York City cop and you are stationed at the iconic World Trade Center command post.

But then, imagine having your dream dissolve in a cesspool of anti-Semitism, with messages like “Hail [sic] Hitler,” and “dirty f[expletive deleted] Jew” and Nazi salutes from fellow officers? 

And it gets worse: when you finally cannot take it anymore you present the problem to your superiors who ignore the problem, but tell your colleagues you ratted on them, and as a result, your squad mates ramp up the anti-Semitic vitriol?

That is what David Attali, an Israeli-American Orthodox Jew experienced, according to the Complaint he filed on January 20, in the federal district court in the Southern District of New York.

Attali brought his lawsuit against the City, several of his fellow police officers and four of his supervisors for racial and religious discrimination and for their retaliation against him after he raised an internal complaint.

The story outlined in Attali’s legal complaint would be awful, but not shocking, had it happened thirty or forty years ago.

But today? 

Attali’s Complaint is a catalog of ugliness. It includes posting of threats in and on his police locker, vicious texts, physical taunts, and Nazi salutes by police officers in full uniform, on the sidewalk in New York City.

Attali became a police officer in July of 2008. According to his Complaint, just about as soon as he joined the force he observed instances of anti-Semitism.

For example, one of his fellow officers referred to a group of Jewish schoolboys as “Christ killers,” and said he “bet they have horns” under their kippot. He also noticed that the ringtone of another police officer was a speech of Adolf Hitler’s.

But when Attali first joined the force his colleagues did not realize he was Jewish. It was not until they realized he was Jewish that the ugliness intensified and became directed at him.

The other police officers with whom he worked began referring to him as either “the Jew,” or “the dirty Jew,” or “dirty f[expletive deleted] Jew.”

These same officers vandalized his locker by placing anti-Semitic notes in and on his locker, carved swastikas on his locker and constantly made anti-Semitic remarks, including Nazi and concentration camp jokes and references.

All of this harassment took place in full view of their superiors, none of whom did anything to stop the wrongdoing.

One of the more egregious recurring incidents lasted for months. Several of the officers in his squad, during work hours – so while wearing NYPD uniforms – would give Attali the Nazi salute right on the street outside of the Command office.

Finally, in late May of 2014, Attali complained about the discriminatory harassment and religious and racial discrimination to the New York Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. In addition to laying out the many instances of harassment, officer Attali requested a transfer from the World Trade Center Command center.

But nothing changed.

According to Attali’s Complaint, on May 27, 2014, several different police officers made anti-Semitic comments to Attali. One said:

I want to push you into an oven and [expletive deleted] burn. I want to [expletive deleted] tattoo a number on you.

Attali’s father-in-law lived in Belgium under German occupation in World War II, and his wife’s grandfather died in a concentration camp.

Despite Attali’s repeated complaints, and despite the supervisors’ direct observation of the constant harassment, Attali alleges in his lawsuit, none of his supervisors did anything to rectify the situation.

Instead, his colleagues began calling him a rat and a “rat [expletive deleted], for complaining, while the anti-Semitic and racist comments and actions continued.

Attali began arriving extra early to work and leaving after the others left for the day, in order to avoid having to be confronted by his fellow officers in the locker room.

In mid-July, 2014, Attali learned that his transfer request was denied, although twelve other transfers were permitted during his service. 

After having his transfer request denied, Attali realized there was no hope for the situation to improve. In August, no longer able to tolerate the ceaseless harassment, Attali left the police force, claiming he had been “constructively discharged.”

Now Attali is waiting for the police officers to formally Answer his Complaint. The officers denied any wrongdoing at the OEEO stage. At this stage, however, Attali’s lawyer, Rocco Avallone, will submit evidence which include pictures, text messages and at least one videotape which reveal the discrimination inflicted upon him by his fellow police officers.

Avallone, of Avallone & Bellistri of Lake Success, New York, spoke with The Jewish Press. The lawyer said that, “the destruction of one man’s dream led to this lawsuit. The police department could have averted this terrible situation had those responsible paid any attention. Instead of taking it seriously, the supervisors just swept it under the rug. Now there is a lawsuit which we hope will begin to rectify the situation.”

The lawyer who represented the defendant officers at the internal hearing stage said Attali just wanted to get out of the job, so he made false claims against other officers and is now ‘“trying to get money on the way out the door.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

NYPD Warned to ‘Consider Tactics, Watch For Hands’

Monday, January 12th, 2015

New York City police officers were given new orders on Sunday at roll call: “Remain alert and consider tactics at all times.”

It sounds pretty basic but the instructions carried an extra bit of warning after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror group issued a new direct threat to the world.

“Pay close attention, and look for their hands,” the curt memo continues.

New York’s finest are already in a state of heightened security in the wake of last week’s terror attacks in Paris.

Although there has been no specific threat extra police were placed on patrol after ISIS issued a worldwide call to attack soldiers, police, civilians and anyone else by “lone wolf” operators.

In addition, police were told they can no longer sit together to eat or wait in patrol cars; one officer must be outside standing guard at all times.

Basically… none of us are safe,” commented a correspondent for New York’s ABC News.

However, NYPD has yet to prepare its force to meet the challenge in a comprehensive way. Few of the patrol officers on the street have actually received any training whatsoever in how to deal with terrorism. Such skills are not part of the regular Police Academy curriculum for America’s largest police force, even though one could argue that New York is one of the three top targeted cities in the United States.

Since the Al Qaeda attack on the Twin Towers at New York City’s World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the NYPD ESU squad is tasked with responding to terror threats. But the rank and file has had no such training; the force is poorly equipped to deal with the kind of challenges that Paris security personnel had to face last week.

 

Hana Levi Julian

A ‘Wall of Blue’ Bids Farewell to NYPD 1st Detective Wenjian Liu

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Wenjian Liu, the first Chinese-American cop in New York to be killed in the line of duty, was honored in his home 84th precinct Sunday with a sea of blue stretching “as far as the eye could see.”

Among the crowd were representatives from all the Jewish first response and security teams, as well as many Jewish civilian residents of Brooklyn. “Hakaras hatov” – acknowledging and thanking someone for the good they’ve done – was the reason given over and over when asked why they came.

Tearfully, Liu’s young widow Pei Xia Chen thanked the tens of thousands who gathered to grieve with her.

“He is my soul mate… an incredible husband, son, co-worker and friend; my best friend. As the only son, the Number One Son, he was extremely close [to] and respected his parents, of course,” she added. “One his many passions was being a police officer. He took pride in the fact that he was NYPD… I thank you, my extended family, my family of blue.”

The couple had wed only two months prior to Liu’s death. The 32-year-old police officer, promoted posthumously to first detective, had been on the job for seven years. Together with his parents he emigrated from China 20 years ago, with a dream to become a cop.

In addition to Sunday’s funeral, Liu’s family was to hold private ceremonies in the Buddhist and Chinese traditions as well.

“God bless America. God bless NYPD. You are the best!” Liu’s father said in a broken voice after delivering a eulogy in Chinese.

In addition to his wife, his father, cousins and city officials, a police chaplain and FBI Director James Comey spoke.

“These are our most difficult days,” Comey said. “I make far too many calls [like these] … 115 police officers killed this year, a shocking increase over 2013. I do not understand evil, I cannot understand evil. Our obligation is to do good, to honor this good man and do everything to protect those who would protect us. They want to do good for other people.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was to have spoken as well, but his own father passed away on New Year’s Day and arrangements for the wake and funeral, which are to take place Monday and Tuesday, were still being made.

With reddened eyes and a husky voice, Police Commissioner William Bratton expressed the feelings of the “thousands upon thousands” of officers standing outside a Brooklyn funeral home on a “very gray morning.” He commented that Liu was about to join his partner, “his partner for all time,” First Detective Rafael Ramos – also promoted posthumously –to be laid to rest. The two were executed by deranged gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley while eating lunch in their squad car. Brinsley turned the gun on himself right after.

“Liu believed in the possibility of a city free from fear,” Bratton told his family, who had traveled from China to attend the funeral. “The NYPD has done that for millions upon millions of citizens of this city.”

Addressing the tens of thousands of officers, Bratton went on to explain: “He left China at age 12, and his parents worked hard; his father was a garment worker in Queens. Liu called himself Joe and was on the way to becoming an accountant on 9/11, the day Al Qaeda attacked the Twin Towers.” That event changed his life, and inspired Liu to become a cop instead.

“The NYPD looks like the city it serves,” Bratton noted. “Our heroes are from everywhere too.” He listed the departed and the lands from which they had emigrated to America. Ramos and Liu came last.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/a-wall-of-blue-bids-farewell-to-nypd-1st-detective-wenjian-liu/2015/01/05/

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