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COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTS





Sephardic Bikur Holim Hosts 4th Annual Hesed Day

On Sunday, March 19th, Sephardic Bikur Holim held its
4th annual Hesed Day, turning their Kings Highway headquarters into a one-stop shop for doing mitzvot. In just four hours, over 800 people of all ages stopped by to volunteer.

In those four hours 37 donors attempted to donate blood,
20 visits were made to our Seniors, and 200 bracelets were beaded for “Little Sisters” and Seniors. What’s more, 200 Shabbat packages and 200 Bedikat Hametzpackages were assembled for our clients. In addition, countless fresh potato borekas, olive balls, and sambusakwere made for the Food Pantry by our volunteers.  Finally, Art Shack’s Monique Sultan provided a way for attendees to express their love of hesedwith a Matisse-inspired art mural.

What made the day so special, says Elissa Menaged, Volunteer Coordinator, was that there truly was something for every volunteer to do. “From organizing and baking for the Food Pantry and making bouquets of flowers, to visiting seniors and stuffing therapeutic teddy bears, everyone was able to find their own perfect way to do hesed,” she said.

The day couldn’t have happened without Elissa Menagedand her team – made up of Karen Sabbagh, Danielle Mandalawi, Lisa Elo, Meriav Abadi, Latisha Abadi, Shula Mann, Rachelle Safdie, and Sheri Shabot. A special thanks as well to Janet Gindi of Pop Box for bringing an extra dose of fun to the day!

Republicans and Democrats Both Start Petitions
to Lower Verrazano Tolls

In a rare instance in which Democrats and Republicans are in complete agreement, a lawmaker and a political candidate have each started a petition drive to urge the MTA to lower the tolls for Brooklyn motorists driving on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Councilmember Vincent Gentile has mounted an online petition on ipetitions.comcalling on the MTA to give Brooklyn drivers a break.

“I’m all for a lower toll for hardworking Staten Islanders, but thefact is a bridge has two sides,” Gentile wrote on the petition.

On March 19, the toll was raised to $17. Staten Islanders, however, can pay $5.74 under the MTA’s Rebate Program.

“And for the MTA to recognize the toll burdens for residents on one side of the Verrazano Bridge means the MTA must recognize the toll burdens for the residents on the Brooklyn side of the bridge. Anything less would give a new definition of highway robbery!” Gentile wrote.

Under Gentile’s proposal, residents who live in the surrounding zip codes on the Brooklyn side of the bridge would get the same toll discount as their fellow New Yorkers on Staten Island.

But as proof that there is just as much outrage on the Republican side of the aisle, Liam McCabe, one of the GOP hopefuls running for Gentile’s council seat, has organized a petition drive of his own.

McCabe’s petition, which is also on ipetitions.com, pushes the idea of giving Brooklyn drivers a lower bridge toll.

“Brooklyn residents often travel to Staten Island to visit family, friends and loved ones. Some of us may even work on Staten Island. The fact that the cost to travel to and from work has become unaffordable is not acceptable,” McCabe wrote.

“By signing this petition, we as a community are requesting figures of on average how many people pay the toll per day and compare that to how much is allocated towards standard maintenance or extensive restructuring. This is simple data that needs to be released to ensure people crossing the Verrazano frequently that our hard-earnedmoney is being used correctly,” McCabe wrote.

Greenfield Offers $1,000 Reward to Catch Synagogue Robbers

A robbery occurred shortly after 5 AM on April 16 at a Midwood synagogue, located at 1703 Avenue J, and Council Member David G. Greenfield posted a $1,000 reward to help quicken the apprehension of a suspect.

The robbery of the Chabad shul, named Bais Menachem Mendel, was allegedly done by two individuals who assaulted the synagogue’s caretaker, who also lives in the building.

The crime is especially awful, according to Greenfield, because it occurred during the holiday of Passover, one of the holiest times of the Jewish year.

“As we celebrate Pesach, it is especially disturbing to find out that a shul’s caretaker was assaulted and that the shul was robbed during this important holiday,” Greenfield said. “It’s more important now than ever that that we uniteas a community and find the hateful criminals who did this.”

Anyone with information that could help in solving this crime is encouraged call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers tip line at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Renewal Does the Unbelievable

This year, Renewal accomplished a truly remarkable feat: Four kidney transplants were performed on the same day! Given the precision and effort needed to do just one transplant, facilitating four in one day was unthinkable! Until now.

 Three of the four transplants were from altruistic donors, who have never met their recipients. They simply grasped at the opportunity to save someone’s life. The purest form of kindness, theirs is an act of hesedthat can never be repaid in this lifetime.

Currently, Renewal anticipates the milestone of its 400th kidney transplant! It is truly remarkable that such a small organization has done so much and changed so many lives. When Renewal was first established just a few years ago, the hope was to be fortunate enough to facilitate one or two transplants a year. In 2016 alone, 67 transplants occurred and the goal is to eclipse that number this year.

For more information on kidney donations please contact AJ Gindi atajgindi@renewal.org.

64 Yeshivot in New York Now Have Free Security Guards

Last month, Councilman David Greenfield celebrated theone-year anniversary of the passage of his school security law, which pays for security guards at yeshivot.

In the law’s first year, 64 yeshivot and Jewish day schools participated in the program that provides free security guards for schools with over 300 students. Collectively these schools have 50,000 students.

“We came together last year to agree that every child needs to be safe regardless of where they go to school,” Greenfield said. “This is one of our values as New Yorkers — we protect all of our children.”

In order to apply for security guards through the law, a non-public school needs to have at least 300 students. Schools with at least 500 students can get two guards, and an additional guard is added for every 500 students after that.

Applications for the coming school year were being accepted until
May 1, 2017. Greenfield urged every school to apply. About 40 percent of eligible schools did not apply for the grant last year, worth just under $20 million. Greenfield said that yeshivot can get help applying at his office, 718-853-2704.

Flatbush Shomrim Arrests and Alerts for March and April

March 11, 8:45 PM– Units dispatched to Kings Highway and East 7th to retrieve video footage of a mother and daughter who were assaulted on Shabbat afternoon. The case was referred to the 61 Det. Squad.

March 16, 6:00 PM – An autistic young man from the community went missing and multiple units responded. After an extensivesearch, said individual was located in good condition.

March 18, 5:00 PM– One perpetrator arrested for package theft on East 23rd between Quentin Road and Avenue R. FSSP member observed the area and had a neighbor activate 911, which resulted in the arrest.

March 24, 4:00 PM– A 12-year-old boy was assaulted in the vicinity of East 3rd and Avenue S. Units were dispatched to canvass the area and retrieve video footage of the perpetrator.

March 24, 6:00 PM(10 minutes before candle lighting) –One female housekeeper arrested for stealing jewelry on East 17th and Avenue N.

March 26, 12:15 AM– FSSP units responded in Williamsburg, assisting in a search for an autistic young man. The missing person was found at approximately 3:00 AM in good condition.

April 2, 4:00 PM – FSSP members responded to an incident on East 3rd and Ave S and successfully apprehended the perpetrator that was responsible for the March 24th assault on a 12-year-old boy.

April 2, 10:00 AM– Units were present at
the YDE Hanukat Habayit to ensure the safety of
those attending.

April 7, 1:00 AM– One perpetrator arrested for breaking into cars in the area of East 13-16th between Avenue M and N.

April 7, 3:30 AM–Two perpetrators arrested in the vicinity of Ave W and East 1st for attempting to break into a home, as well as entering several vehicles.

An Important Message from the Flatbush Shomrim: Please remember to lock your vehicles and to leave absolutely nothing in plain sight that will tempt a thief. Make sure that your home windows on the ground level are locked at all times. Keep your alarms on at all times, even when you are at home. Also, please cooperate with the Police Department and with FSSP members inreporting any crimes you may have been a victim of. If you witness a crime, please call 911 and then Flatbush Shomrim at 718-338-9797.