By David Heskiel

This past Wednesday, August 11, the NYPD was called to Canarsie Park for a missing 6-year-old boy. Little Yosef Shapiro wandered off while playing with his fellow campers. A massive multi-agency search and rescue effort was initiated between the NYPD, Hatzolah, Shomrim, Achiezer, Chaverim, etc. NYPD Deputy Inspector Richie (Yechiel) Taylor was one of the leaders of the search effort. Deputy Inspector Richie Taylor is the commanding officer of Community Affairs Outreach in the Office of the Chief of Community Affairs at police HQ.

As a religious person, I have a very strong relationship with the leaders of Hatzolah, Shomrim, Misaskim, Achiezer, Chaverim, etc., and they were all on the scene, from every neighborhood, including Flatbush, Boro Park, Crown Heights, Williamsburg, Far Rockaway, Staten Island, Queens, Manhattan, the Five Towns, etc. I know all of the leaders, so I was able to meet everyone in the command center, and they all trust me. We all do it as a team. I also used to be a Hatzolah member, so I know what they’re going through and I’m also close with the Shomrim guys. Deputy Chief Ruel Stephenson from Patrol Borough Brooklyn South was there also and he has a strong relationship with these leaders as well so it was certainly a seamless joint effort from the very beginning to the very end. 

I was on the phone with the Chief of Community Affairs Jeffrey Maddrey throughout the search, and every step of the way he made sure we had full access to every resource of the police department. My father-in-law, Akiva Klein, serves as the search-and-rescue coordinator for both Flatbush Hatzolah and Flatbush Shomrim and although he was upstate, he was in close contact with me and the other leaders there. Assistant Commissioner Pinny Ringel of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, Lieutenant Ira Jablonsky, Flatbush Hatzolah Coordinator Moshe Wulliger, Misaskim Coordinator and Boro Park Hatzolah member Yanky Meyer, Flatbush Shomrim Coordinator Tzvi Weill, Flatbush Shomrim member/Clergy Liaison Yehuda Eckstein, Clergy Liaison David Heskiel, Achiezer President Rabbi Boruch Ber Bender, Canarsie Hatzolah Coordinator David Sirkis, Williamsburg Shomrim Coordinator Yanky Itzkowitz, and Hon. NYPD Surgeon/Hatzolah Member Dr. Rafi Lilker were on the scene so we had the right people there across the board. Baruch Hashem, it ended with the best possible results.

This just goes to show that when we all come together, in unity, we prevail. There’s no stopping any community when people come together for good. So I think it shows how important it is to be together, to establish strong relationships with others, and to work together for the betterment of the community. It’s all about partnerships and teamwork! 

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