- Shomrim (fraternal police organization)
The NYPD Shomrim Society is a
fraternalorganization of Jewish members of the New York City Police Department.
The "First" Shomer
The first Jewish police officer in
North Americawas Asser Levy. He was one of the 23 immigrants from the Dutch colonyof Recife, Brazil, that came to New Amsterdam. On November 5, 1655, Asher Levyand Jacob Barsimsonfiled petitions with the colonial court asking that they either be allowed to stand watch with the other citizens or relieved of the tax. After an initial rejection and a two-year fight, Levy won the right to stand watch.On April 21, 1657, he became New Amsterdam's first Jewish watchman.
The first Shomrim Society was established in the
New York City Police Departmentin 1924. Capt. Jacob Kaminskywas the first president. It is rumored that a comment made to a young Jewish officer going on patrol was the spark that started this fraternal and charitable organization. It was suggested that he might feel more at home with a salami, rather than a nightstick, under his arm. At that time only 1% of the department was Jewish.
Shomrim blossomed in New York during the depression years. Civil service jobs provided the only secure means of making a living in those days. The civil service lists of 1935-37 added 400 new Shomrim members. One of Shomrim's early presidents,
Max Finkelstein, became famous in 1938 when he was selected by New York Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardiato oversee security for visiting officials from Nazi Germanyand to guard the German consulate.
Today, Jewish police officers hold many different positions, and almost every rank in the NYC Police Department. The highest ranking uniformed female police officer is a three star chief and she is also the current highest ranking member of the Shomrim Society.
The goal of the society appears atop its stationery "so that Law Enforcement Officers of the Jewish faith may join together for the Welfare of all"
* [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/amsterdam.html New Amsterdam]
* [http://nypdshomrim.org/ NYPD Shomrim Society]
* [http://www.shomrimillinois.org/ Shomrim Illinois]
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