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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Center In Midwood To Promote Diversity
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11/04/14
Jewish Week Correspondent
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Event honorees Ezra Friedlander, far left, and Ed Powell, right, flank Bridge founder Mark Meyer Appel. Photos by NikWes C reati
Event honorees Ezra Friedlander, far left, and Ed Powell, right, flank Bridge founder Mark Meyer Appel. Photos by NikWes C reati
More than one person attending the recent open house at The Bridge, a new center in Midwood, Brooklyn, devoted to promoting diversity, marveled at what they saw that night.
Members of the borough’s Orthodox-Jewish, black and Muslim communities cross paths every day, but rarely do they come together to celebrate what they have in common, as about 300 did Oct. 19 for the opening of The Bridge.
The gathering included elected officials, political activists and religious leaders from all three communities, some of whom spoke at the event and two of whom were honored. And toward the end of the evening, a good number of guests danced the hora, as the Caribbean band hired for the event teamed with an Orthodox singer and played “Hava Nagila.”
The center, the full name of which is The Bridge Multicultural and Advocacy Project, is the vision of Mark Meyer Appel, a social activist who owns the building, along with neighboring properties on Flatbush Avenue. His idea for the center, he told the gathering, is to bring together diverse elements of the community through art shows, music and dance concerts, and advocacy efforts around issues affecting Brooklyn.
But Appel is doing so at what seems like an especially tense time, marked by a rash of violent incidents. The incidents have included so-called “knockout” attacks by gangs of black teens who, according to reports, have targeted Jews in Crown Heights, reminding some residents of the riots 23 years ago. The latest such attack took place Oct. 12, when teens rushed into a kosher deli, ransacked the store and shouted anti-Semitic slogans as one of them punched the owner in the jaw, newspaper accounts said.
Only days earlier, pro-Palestinian protesters allegedly attacked Leonard Petlakh, executive director of the Kings Bay Y, following an exhibition basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and Maccabi Tel Aviv at the Barclays Center. Police have arrested a suspect in that incident, but say they won’t charge him with a hate crime because they don’t believe bias was involved.
Some of the speakers at The Bridge, including Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, alluded to those incidents, promising that any hate crimes would be investigated and vigorously prosecuted. But the speeches also emphasized the positive, focusing on the value of efforts like The Bridge.
“There’s no greater cause than allowing people to gather together under one roof and share our similarities,” said Ezra Friedlander, a political consultant active in the chasidic community and Democratic politics. Friedlander was honored at the event, along with Ed Powell, a local political leader and an assistant imam at one of Brooklyn’s largest mosques.
Other speakers included New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Assemblywoman Rhoda S. Jacobs, Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind and City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams, all Democrats. Religious leaders addressing the event include Rabbi Joseph Potasknik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis, who said that, ultimately, the center is about “making a better life for all of us.”
In interviews before and after the speeches, various leaders of the Jewish community described their admiration for The Bridge’s founder, who is in the process of moving back to Brooklyn after several years in Florida. Rabbi Postasnik called Appel a “bridge builder,” one of the things that attracted him to the event, he said. Similarly, Bob Kaplan, director of intergroup relations and community concerns at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, said Appel “has always been there” whenever tensions in the city have escalated.
“He’s always been someone who believes that diversity is a value, not just something to be managed,” Kaplan added.
If the presence of Kathyann Clarke was any indication, The Bridge is already benefiting Midwood residents. Clarke, an accountant, said she learned of the event only a day earlier, when she rented out space at the two-story center for her daughter’s fifth birthday party. She had never heard of The Bridge before, but she spoke briefly with Appel and believes that “what he’s trying to do is important.”
Appel, who grew up in Crown Heights and Boro Park, has ambitious plans for The Bridge, where he hopes to build a computer lab, gallery space and a TV studio. The studio may be used to livestream cultural events and discussions on the Internet. In addition, he said, local charities and arts groups will be able to use space in the 6,000-square-foot center free of charge for their own events.
Appel told The Jewish Week that he first learned about diversity while hearing of his mother’s rescue at Auschwitz, where the soldiers who helped her survive included black and Asian Americans.
Appel worked for many years for nonprofit organizations, but made most of his money from real-estate investments, he said. He’s also played an active role in advocacy efforts, especially those geared to helping abused children and developmentally disabled children. That background earned him appointments during the Giuliani administration to the advisory board of the city’s Department of Mental Health and, later, to the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation.
The Bridge now has a staff of one, Dorinda Angelucci, who previously worked as a camerawoman for WABC-TV’s “Eyewitness News.”
Although the project is new  for now, Appel said he hopes to form a task force that would represent all of Midwood’s major racial, religious and ethnic communities. But the one area in which he may have trouble achieving consensus is over the positions he takes on various political issues, including his opposition to “stop and frisk” police tactics and his support of vouchers to attend private and parochial schools — both heated issues in the community.
One elected leader who spoke at the open house, but wished to remain anonymous while talking about the subject to The Jewish Week, said most of the kids in his district attend public schools and, for that reason, would oppose anything that might siphon money away from public education.
David Pollock, associate executive director of the JCRC, said his own organization, representing a cross-section of the Jewish community, takes no stand on tuition tax credits because there’s no consensus on the issue among Jewish groups.
Meanwhile, Appel and Angelucci hope to partner with other organizations, including the JCRC, that already work in the area of intergroup relations.
The JCRC, for instance, is behind the We Are All Brooklyn Coalition, which sponsors a leadership-training fellowship for teens and organizes training forums on issues of concern to the community, Kaplan said. He added that the fellowship program now has more than 200 alumni, including some in influential positions, and they represent a “great resource” for efforts like The Bridge. 

THE BRIDGE MULTICULTURAL CENTER SLATED TO OPEN OCT 19 2014 BRINGING UNITY TO OUR COMMUNITIES

New community center in Midwood seeks to connect different racial groups

                                                              

Mark Meyer Appel raised $300,000 in private funds to repair the 6,000 square-foot brick building he has long owned on 1894 Flatbush Ave. Its renovated first floor open studio space, which can fit up to 300 people, will be lent out free of charge to nonprofits and art groups to host events.


NEW YORK DAILY NEWS                                                                 



Monday, October 13, 2014, 8:29 PM
                                                                                                        


City Councilman Mathieu Eugene, left, Mark Meyer Appel, center, and Rev. Anthony Meyers.Courtesy of the Bridge ProjectCity Councilman Mathieu Eugene, left, Mark Meyer Appel, center, and Rev. Anthony Meyers.
This Brooklyn Bridge is a different type of connector.
A top advocate for Jewish victims of childhood sexual abuse is set to open The Bridge Project, a multicultural community center designed to host empowering talks about social justice issues. If we work together, we can do better and have a stronger voice,”said MARK MEYER APPEL, who raised $300,000 in private funds to convert and repair the 6,000-square-foot brick building he has long owned in Midwood.
The new interactive facility on Flatbush Ave., set to open Sunday, will also house local meetings and events meant to unify the neighborhood.
And its location is symbolic. It borders large, separate Hasidic and Haitian neighborhoods.
Appel hopes the center will unite the two racial groups and many others in the borough, including Muslims.

Bridge Project headquartersCourtesy of the Bridge Project Bridge Project headquarters
“We, as advocates, have been able to effectively send a message and begin major changes in the way the government deals with child abuse, special education and health initiatives for the community,” he said.
“The way these things were accomplished was by bringing diverse communities together.”
The building’s renovated first floor of open studio space, which can fit up to 300 people, will be lent out for free to nonprofits and art groups to host events.
Discussion topics to take place at the site include stop-and frisk, special education problems and rising poverty levels.
rblau@nydailynews.com

TIME FOR HEALING


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
                                                    
December 3, 2014
BUILDING MORE TRUST BETWEEN THE POLICE AND THE COMMUNITIES
The recent verdicts of the  Ferguson and Garner jury have bought turmoil to our great nation,While we must respect the law and the findings of the grand  juries  one thing is clear. Policing in the United States needs a major overhaul. Young men of color as well young people of all races face  danger when confronted by police officers while driving, walking  or just hanging out.,  Urgent reforms are needed now to ensure the process  of fair justice and to protect the lives of innocent  persons, and to ensure that police officers deal with fairness in their actions
Need For Reforms
We need changes that  provide on going anti bias and increase funding which will provide  for continued training on a continued basis and on a annual basis , at the same time.. Texas has used such a system over the past decade to develop personnel expertise while satisfying the interests of specialized interest groups and legislated training mandates. Chiefs, academy directors, and POST commissions can and should provide recommendations regarding line personnel training issues as well as a supervisory curriculum that reflects a step-by-step, progressive education program. There has been considerable discussion in several states regarding “cafeteria”-style training programs. Such programs offer both mandated training topics as well as discretionary training preferences within defined timelines. Both limit impact on staffing and agency training costs. Such a system could provide the framework in which special interest, legislated, and profession-preferred training programs would be limited without adversely affecting basic training academy timelines.

Restoring Confidence
The police and all officers of the justice system must continue rebuilding the trust in our communities thru more outreach and community partnerships  which are the key to rebuilding that trust.Issues of proper policing is not a minority problem it is a problem for all of all our diverse communities.

Healing
let  us begin the process of healing by ensuring that our  police and our communities continue to work together to make our city a better and safer place for all of us 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

THANK YOU SENATOR SIMCHA FELDER AND JEFF LEB OF THE ORTHDOX UNION FOR MAKING THE CHANGES TO HELP ALL SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN IN NYC

MR JEFF LEB   ORTHODOX UNION
SENATOR SIMCHA FELDER

 

ORTHODOX UNION Applauds Sweeping Change in NYC For Families With Special Needs Children                 


 




(Tuesday, June 24th, 2014)
oulOU Advocacy’s work with New York state legislators promoting Special Ed legislation culminated with today’s announcement by New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio of sweeping changes within the New York City Department of Education (DOE) for families with children with special needs.
The agreement between Speaker Silver and Mayor de Blasio ends the DOE’s practice of automatically challenging private school placements for children with special needs.
OU Advocacy partnered with and the New York Catholic Conference to support the Special Ed bills before the New York State legislature. Last week, OU Advocacy and Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), brought a delegation of students with special needs and parents to Albany to advocate for the bills.
Key modifications to be implemented by the DOE in time for the upcoming school year include: expediting decisions about settling cases within 15 days; making tuition payments to parents on a monthly basis; providing a payment schedule to parents; reducing paperwork by only requiring parents to submit full documentation every three years; and refraining from re-litigating settled or decided cases, unless there is a change in the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
“This agreement provides much-needed financial and emotional relief to parents who have, in the past, had to resort to costly, time-consuming and emotionally-draining litigation as their only option to secure funding for their children’s education,” said Jeff Leb, New York State Director of OU Advocacy.
“For too long, New York City parents of children with special needs—whose IEPs have approved placement in non-public schools—have suffered needlessly through endless litigation, financial uncertainty and educational instability,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, International Director of Yachad. “We are hopeful that today’s deal with help thousands of New York City’s families.”
The Silver-de Blasio deal was preceded by Special Ed bill S.7691 passing in the New York State Senate. Sponsored by Senator Simcha Felder, that bill included many of the details included in the Silver-de Blasio deal. A sister bill was sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein.
We are extremely grateful to Speaker Silver and Mayor de Blasio for reaching this deal, to Senator Simcha Felder for sponsoring the Special Ed bill in the State Senate and ensuring its passing, as well as to Assembly Members Phil Goldfeder and Helene Weinstein for their unwavering support of the Special Ed bill in the Assembly,” Leb added. “We also want to thank  the New York Catholic Conference for working with us to keep the concerns of families with children with special needs top of mind for our legislators.”
Noting that New York City had an opportunity to do “something foundational and right some wrongs,” Mayor de Blasio called the deal a “streamlined, parent-friendly, family-friendly, respectful approach.”
“Every child in this city deserves a quality education. But for years, parents of children with special needs have had to wait for the City to settle legitimate claims for tuition reimbursement. Today, we are turning the page, making changes that will ease the burden on these parents. We are cutting red tape, speeding up the process, and reaching outcomes that do right by families,” said Mayor de Blasio at today’s press conference.
“This is a great victory for our special needs children and their hardworking families,” said Speaker Silver. “For too long, parents of special needs children had to engage in a lengthy fight to get their children placed in a private school,” Silver said, adding that the deal “gives children with special needs the education they need and gives parents the emotional and financial relief they deserve.”
“We look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio’s team, particularly New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen FariƱa” said Leb.



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Friday, May 23, 2014

MISSING PERSONS ALERT





AARON BERGER










The New York City Police Department is asking the public’s assistance ascertaining the whereabouts of a male reported missing on Thursday, May 22, 2014.
Details are as follows;
Missing:
Berger, Aaron                      
22-year-old white male
559 West 188 Street Apt 25

NY, NYThe missing was last seen at 6:00PM on Monday, May 19, 2014 inside of his residence in Washington Heights, just 3 blocks away from Yeshiva University where he was studying throughout the year.
He was wearing black shoes and beige pants.
The missing is 6’2″ tall and weighs 180 pounds.
Anyone with information in regards to this missing is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS, or contact the Princeton Police Department at 609-921-2100, ext. 0.
The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
 OR CALL VOJ AT 1 800 621 8551

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Five Members of Williamsburg Shomrim Indicted for Patterson Assault

Five Members of Williamsburg Shomrim Indicted forPatterson Assault

\Kings County District Attorney Ken Thompson Announces the Indictment of 
 Five Members of the Williamsburg Neighborhood  Patrol for  Assault

BROOKLYN DA KEN THOMPSON

Taj PattersonBrooklyn, NY.  Kings County District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson today announced the indictment of five defendants for their participation in the brutal gang assault of Taj Patterson, a 23-year-old Fort Greene resident. The defendants, who are associated with the Williamsburg Safety Patrol Unit, a civilian neighborhood watch group, face multiple charges for allegedly beating Patterson in the early morning hours of December 1, 2013. The District Attorney said that a Kings County grand jury has indicted the following defendants: Pinchas Braver, 19; Joseph Freid, 25; Mayer Herskovic, 21; Aharon Hollander, 28; and Abraham Winkler, 39, for acting in concert to commit Gang Assault in the First Degree, and other related charges. If convicted, the defendants each face up to 25 years in prison.
“We simply cannot allow anyone walking on the streets of Brooklyn to be knocked to the ground, stomped and brutally beaten.  Our streets must be free of such violence and everyone must adhere to the rule of law, including these defendants,” said District Attorney Ken Thompson.
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, “These indictments send a clear message that acts of vigilantism are unacceptable and cannot be condoned by the NYPD.  I want to thank the NYPD’s investigators as well as the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for their exceptional work in helping to bring these individuals to justice.”
The NYPD and the District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation to identify and prosecute the individuals who took part in the assault. According to court documents, the defendants began to chase Patterson along Flushing Avenue, while he was walking home in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Members of the patrol detained Patterson while investigating neighbors’ reports that he had damaged cars; however, they did not call the police. Despite the fact that these reports of vandalism proved to be unfounded, the group, which had grown to approximately 15 members, surrounded Patterson, preventing him from continuing his walk home. When Patterson tried to get away from the group, he was held down, and savagely punched and kicked by a number of the males surrounding him, including these defendants.
Patterson sustained injuries to his head and body, the most serious of which was a torn retina and a broken eye socket, causing him to lose vision in his right eye. The beating ceased only when passersby arrived and threatened to take pictures of the group assaulting Patterson. All of the assailants fled the scene, leaving Patterson on the ground injured. None of the attackers were present when the police and an ambulance responded to 911 calls.
The case was investigated by Prosecutors from the Investigations Division of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, along with detectives from the New York Police Department Hate Crimes Task Force and the Intelligence Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.