Shomrim Anniversary Dinner a Sellout Success (Video & Photo Essay)

By BJLife/Isaac Draiman
Posted on 11/21/17

Baltimore, MD – Nov. 21, 2017 - Shining on the outside wall of Congregation Shomrei Emunah was a ten-foot-high illumination of the Baltimore Shomrim Safety Patrol’s emblem. It was clear from the very start that this was not just another community gathering but a special, not to be missed, event.

On the evening of November 11, 2017, elected officials, top ranking members of law enforcement, congregational Rabbis and over 550 community members convened at the Shomrei Emunah Banquet Hall to show appreciation for the work done by Baltimore Shomrim (BSSP). The evening marked the 13th Anniversary of the BSSP and the installation of the organization’s new board of directors. The hall was beautifully decorated and the guests were treated to a gourmet cocktail hour followed by a lavish banquet complete with an impressive program of speeches, awards, video presentation and surprise gift announced by Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh and Baltimore City Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer.

The event was emceed by Nathan Willner, General Counsel of the BSSP, who welcomed the impressive crowd and read a greeting from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. He then welcomed the VIP list of law enforcement attendees that included, Baltimore City Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner Desousa, Chief Melissa Hyatt, Chief Robinson, Chief Branford, Crime Lab Chief O’Dell, Inspector Bauer, Major Kim Burris, Major Richard Gibson, Captain Jason Yerg, Detective Jeremy Silbert, Jewish Community Liaison Officer Bill Currie, Baltimore County Police Department’s Chief of Police Jim Johnson (Ret.), Colonel Alexander Jones and  the Maryland State Police’s 1st Sargent Robert Quirk.

In addition to the large law enforcement contingent, there was no shortage of elected officials. The elected and government officials present showing their support for the BSSP included, US Congressman John Sarbanes, State Senator and candidate for Baltimore County Executive Jim Brochin, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Delegate Nick Mosby,  Maryland Deputy Secretary of State Luis Borunda, Baltimore City Orphan’s Court Judges Lewyn Garrett  and Judge Michelle Lowenthal, Julian Sless of State Senator Bobby Zirkin’s office, Jonathan Schwartz of County Councilwoman Vicki Almond’s office, Izzy Patoka, candidate for Baltimore County Council, Dalya Attar, candidate for the House of Delegates, J.D. Merill, candidate for Maryland State Senate, Alex Freidman, member of the Baltimore City Youth Commission, Maxine Webb, President of the Glen Neighborhood Association, Hatzolah of Baltimore and Chaverim of Baltimore who provided assistance with traffic control outside the banquet hall.  

Rabbi Shmuel Silber, Rav of Suburban Orthodox Congregation and rabbinical advisor to the BSSP gave a heartfelt D’var Torah that had the crowd intently listening to every word. The BSSP then presented awards to Chief Melissa Hyatt, Law Enforcement Partner of the Decade, Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer, Pillar of the Community, Ronnie Rosenbluth and Danny Harris, Founder’s Award and Heshie Klein, Lonnie Bork Memorial Community Responder Award. Each was presented a beautiful award as the organization’s token of their sincere appreciation.   

The program then moved on to the installation of the new president and board as well as a roll call of the current BSSP members. The gavel was ceremoniously passed to the incoming President Michael Diamond by the outgoing President Ronnie Rosenbluth.  The new officers of the organization installed were: President Michael Diamond; Vice President Heshie Klein (Operations); Vice President Aaron Polun (Administration); Treasurer Hillel Frankel; Assistant Treasurer Eitan Schuchman; Secretary Azi Rosenbloom; and, Assistant Secretary Ezri Klein.

The highlight of the evening came at the conclusion of the banquet.  Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh addressed the attendees and then called Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer to the podium. Together they presented BSSP President Michael Diamond with a ceremonial key to a new 2017 Chevy Tahoe Command Patrol Vehicle. This vehicle will assist the organization in many of its community safety initiatives. It was an impressive evening that demonstrated the communities’ appreciation and strong support for the services this all-volunteer organization provides. The community could not have had enough positive words to say about the safety and security the BSSP provides 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Nathan D. Willner, Esq., Shomrim’s General Counsel and Director of Government Relations, commented, “As the emcee of the Shomrim Anniversary Banquet, I had the unique vantage point of looking out over the completely filled hall. It was impressive and overwhelming all at the same time. To see the broad range of elected officials, the multitude of the various law enforcement agency uniforms and community members from all walks of life, really brought home the message that Shomrim is a critical communal organization that the community relies on every day. It is such a fantastic feeling to be part of an organization that wants nothing more than to be there for their neighbors when they are in a time of need. We are so grateful for the community’s strong and unwavering support. We cannot thank our banquet chairman Aaron Polun and his banquet committee enough for all the work they did to make the evening a huge success. We also want to thank Councilman Schleifer for being the driving force behind obtaining the command vehicle and Mayor Catherine Pugh for presenting the vehicle that will definitely make a difference for the entire community. “    

Photo Credit: Yehudis Kruk Photography