From the Desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
May 7th, 2020
On behalf of Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, Executive Vice President, Presidium and Directors of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, I want to offer Captain Richard Taylor not only our congratulations on having been chosen as Jewish Liaison of the Community Affairs Department of the New York City Police Department, but our sincerest blessings for success in all his endeavors. On a personal note, as a former New York Housing Police Department chaplain, years of affiliation with NYPD and FOP, as well as my present position with the RAA, I truly appreciate the immense challenges and meaningful opportunities for enhancing and developing significant community relationships between and amongst the diverse Jewish communities, their Rabbinic leaders and the NYPD. I have had the privilege of meeting Captain Taylor on many occasions including at Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem when he came to meet with the Rosh HaYeshiva HaGoan HaRav Dovid Feinstein shlita. I am familiar with his sterling reputation and wonderful work he has done in his diverse positions with the NYPD. He graduated from the NYPD Academy in 2005, was promoted to Sergeant in 2010, promoted to Lieutenant in 2014 and promoted to Captain in 2016. He has worked in the office of the Chief of Community Affairs, the 1st, 61st, 63rd, 67th, 88th police precincts, PSA-1 and PSA-5 of Housing Divisions, an Integrity Control Officer and also the Commanding Officer of the Manhattan South Investigation Unit during his tenure through the years with NYPD. He is respected by police officers of all ranks. He truly brings much pride not only to the entire NYPD for his professionalism, his caring, kind, and respectful demeanor, but to the entire Jewish community and the Orthodox Jewish community in particular making what we so dearly consider a tremendous Kiddush H. He sanctifies the name of the Holy One with his erlichkeit- his sincerity and honesty. We commend Police Commissioner Dermont Shea for having chosen Captain Taylor for his new designation. There is a powerful quote from the Alter of Slabodka “All people are precious because they are all made in the image of G. When one showers others with kindness and respect, one honors G Himself” (from the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation).
We are all going through incredibly challenging times and for many, the fear of the unknown only adds to the helplessness, hopelessness, and other uncomfortable feelings. Rabbonim and chaplains have the wonderful connection between mispallim, family members, neighbors and the Aibershta bringing hope in many different and meaningful ways. We are also blessed to have relationships with mental health professionals to call upon for their special expertise. I shared last week just a sampling of how chaplains can and do bring hope in many ways and the challenges they have encountered.
HOPE: I would like to share with you one of my experiences with a chronically ill hospice patients I used to visit. She was very distraught and disappointed with whomever she sought comfort, emotional and spiritual relief from her pain which was having an impact on her quality of life. She felt no one was realistic in their approach. She had severe pain that never seemed to dissipate. She shared with me that nothing seemed to bring her any comfort of mind and spirit and she cried her heart out.to me. I listened to her. I validated her pain, her discomfort, her anguish and then she asked me for my thoughts. I asked her if she would like to share what the pain is like. She was pleased, I was interested that I took an interest in knowing what she was going through before offering my thoughts (but not my opinion). She mentioned she had moments when she did not experience any pain and during those moments felt good. She asked me for a blessing that those moments will never stop. I mentioned that I was neither a doctor nor a prophet and unable to tell her what could be, but I could give her a blessing that whenever she does have those moments to have much comfort for as long as possible. I shared with her words of comfort from prayer and Pslams and also a spontaneous blessing from my heart and to know she is not alone. She mentioned how much she looked forward to those moments and she mentioned how realistic and practical my thoughts of hope were for her. I suggested she discuss her pain and discomfort with the medical staff and even the social worker and ask how to help her with those moments of not having pain. She appreciated my giving her the feeling she is not alone and that she too can pray for those special moments. Most of all giving her hope where she did not think any hope was possible.
I hope to continue bringing other meaningful thoughts about hope.
Please continue to be mispallel for all cholim and include Keila Lutza bas Tziporah
Thank you. Sincerely, Yehuda Blank
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