5/28/16

Ruchie Freier Challenges Mordy Avigdor

Ruchie Freier
What happens when a female attorney, observant orthodox Jew and dedicated civic activist challenges Hasidic Borough Park's male hegemony by running for a judgeship against a politically-connected orthodox male attorney?

Outlier judicial candidate Rachel “Ruchie’ Freier, who will face off in September with Mordy Avigdor in the race for a Civil Court judgeship in Brooklyn's Fifth Judicial District, is about to find out.

The politically-connected Avigdor has successfully argued a case before the Supreme Court, worked for several big non-profits, and staffed for Congressional Representative Anthony Weiner and Congressional Representative Yvette Clarke.

Avigdor's supporters see Freier as a rebel who has needlessly provoked the male-dominated hierarchy by forming the all-female volunteer Ezras Nashim ambulance company, rival of all-male volunteer ambulance service Hatzalah, the "crown jewel" of the Hasidic community.

Freier's Ezras Nashim has both earned her the respect of the orthodox community and angered the politically-connected Hatzalah, making Freier's race against Avigdor this fall an uphill battle.  

Avigdor is said to have the backing of City Council Member David Greenfield and State Senator Simcha Felder. He will also likely have the endorsement of Assembly Member Dov Hikind, who fears pushback by the Satmar sect if he backs Freier.

Freier, who attended law school part-time and passed the bar exam while parenting her six children, credits her supportive parents, who are proud of her accomplishments, for her self-determination. 

This isn't the first time Freier, a real estate lawyer, has taken on the orthodox establishment.   She also helped found B’Derech, an alternative yeshiva for young orthodox men who aren't making it in the traditional system that provides an alternative curriculum, including GED and vocational programming.

Although the male-cominated orthodox community eventually embraced B'Derech, Freier's Ezras Nashim, established six years ago to provide an alternative ambulance service for Orthodox women who prefer not to receive gynecological or obstetrical services from men, still faces male hostility.  

Freier doesn't see herself as a rebel so much as a problem-solver working within the confines of her faith to make things happen for her community. Orthodox women in Borough Park had been trying to create female ambulance service for 30 years before Ezras Nashim, she said. Although warned by the men not to get involved, Freier and her mother persisted, eventually building a cadre of women volunteers.

By solving longstanding problems within her community, Freier has built a following among orthodox women. One admirer, Rachel Mayer, called her "an impact person": a woman who, in addition to raising her children and making a living, has dedicated her life to giving back to her community. To have a woman like that as a judge, Mayer said, is something the people would want.

The article from Kings County Politics.

5/27/16

It's Easy to Drown at Rockaway Beach

Experts say that non-swimmers who enter the water at Rockaway Beach, where drownings happen regularly, fail to respect the fact that they're in the open ocean. And if, like 19-year-old Nepali immigrant Rudra Jung Guring, who drowned at Rockaway on Wednesday, they have been drinking alcohol, their body temperature plummets in the freezing water.

With the beach not yet open for the season and no lifeguard on duty, Guring cut school with a group of teens on that hot spring afternoon and headed to Rockaway.  The group was horsing around near the end of a jetty at Beach 67th Street when Gurung slipped beneath the surface, bobbed back up a couple of times, then disappeared.

Because the group he was with put off making the 911 call, due to their fear of getting busted for underage drinking, Gurung's rescue was delayed by critical minutes.

After responding NYPD and FDNY divers pulled Gurung's body out of the water, he was transported to St. Johns Episcopal Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The area where Gurung drowned is known as a surfing beach, regarded by the pros as off-limits to all but the strongest swimmers.

The most common causes of drowning at Rockaway are swimming before lifeguards are on duty or after they've gone home for the day, or swimming while impaired by alcohol. Rip currents are hard to spot from the shore, and the rip can easily sweep away an alcohol-impaired swimmer.

To be safe at Rockaway this Memorial Day weekend, don't ignore those red flags indicating closed beaches; stay near the lifeguard, and ask what the conditions are that day. Don't go into the ocean if you don't know how to swim. In fact, don't even stand at the shoreline by yourself.

Although, effective this Saturday, New York City beaches will be open from 10 AM to 6 PM daily through beach season, be aware that Rockaway Beach is not expected to be fully staffed with lifeguards until the end of June.

More from NBC NY.

5/26/16

Affordable Bay Ridge Studio

Third floor apartment at 125 96th Street, between Marine and Shore in Bay Ridge.

Clean, recently-painted, with natural hardwood floors and kitchen and bedroom alcoves that make the place feel bigger.  Bank of four big windows overlooking leafy back yard offers sweeping view of the northern sky.

Four big closets and a full bath.

Elevator, laundry room, live-in super, attached garage (additional rent.)

Smoking and pets are probably a no-go.

Easy walk to subway, bus, Walgreen's, Met Food and 3rd Avenue shopping and dining venues.

Take over stabilized lease at $1,300 a month.

Call Angela Manieri at 347-752-1978 for more information and to schedule a viewing.

Free Regina Opera Concert at Bay Ridge Branch Library

Tenor Aaron Halevy
At 6:30 PM on Thursday, June 9, the Brooklyn Public Library will host a free one-hour "Regina Opera in Concert” performance at the Bay Ridge Branch, 7223 Ridge Blvd. at 73rd Street in Bay Ridge (R to Bay Ridge Avenue/B-4, B-9, B64 to Ridge Boulevard.)

Performing a program of Italian traditional songs and selections form opera and popular music will be Regina soloists soprano Elena Jannicelli-Sandella; tenor Aaron Halevy, and guitarist Kirill Ulanove, with accompaniment by flutist Richard Paratley and pianist Maxine Feldman.

For more information about Regina Opera, visit the website, e-mail info@ReginaOpera.org or call 718-259-2772.

Supporters include the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs/ City Council; New York State Council on the Arts/Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC); City Council Members Carlos Menchaca and Vincent Gentile; Con Edison; Investors Foundation; Raymour and Flanigan; Peter and Gail Salvatore Foundation; Weichert Realtors - Franzese Group; Law Office of Robert L. Howe, Esq., and Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.

5/25/16

Dan's Trump's Man

New York City's only Washington Republican, former Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, elected last year in New York's 11th Congressional District to serve out disgraced Michael Grimm's term, wants to be Donald Trump's man in New York City.

The Staten Islander, who calls the Queens native a "personal friend", recently told a Staten Island crowd that while Trump may not be their first choice, he's the only hope of keeping Republican arch-nemesis Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

No surprise that Staten Island is Trump Country, with 80% of the Borough's Republican vote going to Trump in the April 19 Primary.

While Donovan, who calls himself a "moderate", tries to distance himself from Trump's obnoxious positions on Muslims, immigrants and women, he says he believes the flag-waving billionaire would still make a better president than Clinton.

Donovan even predicts that Trump could take the majority Democratic vote in New York City in the November General Election.

That's not what the polls are saying, though.

The article from the Observer.

Bay Ridge Democrats at the Bridgeview

At 7:30 PM tomorrow, Thursday, May 26,  local Democratic club Bay Ridge Democrats will meet in the banquet room of the Bridgeview Diner, at 9011 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge.

At this must-attend monthly meeting, the club will vote to endorse a slate of candidates running for office in November.

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