Our Update #28
Of Advocacy and Aspirations
Dror’s Legal team held a meeting with Letitia James, NYC’s Public Advocate, featuring prominent issues in city prisons as the topic of the day. Ms. James expressed her reverence to the humanitarian efforts of Dror, reassuring the coordinators that she will assist to the best of her abilities. This meeting was just the start of a couple of ongoing meeting which are being held these days to discuss these concerns.
Cocktails, comedy, and camaraderie
A Women’s Night Out was held on March 8th at the Stems showroom. It was an evening par excellence, with Stems’ iconic ambiance merging black tie with good cheer. A feast for the senses, the sumptuous meal was of the finest cuisine. The evening took off with a comedy oriented motion picture presentation, setting the Adar tone. A roundtable conversation was initiated with Dr. Norman Blumenthal, providing meaningful give and take to an elite fine dining experience. Renowned dancing instructor, Shaindy Spector, ended the evening with a fun take on dance moves. Before leaving each women received a beautiful Mishloach Manos gift package. Special thanks to host, Gershy Doppelt, and to sponsor, Avigdor Berkowitz, who contributed in honor of his daughter’s wedding.
In their own words: “Thank you so much for the wonderful dinner and program you provided for the wives last night at Stems. The ambiance was beautiful, the food was delicious and the program was so much fun. I haven’t danced like that in years. I enjoyed it very much and it really put smiles on all our faces. I also thought Dr. Blumenthal was very helpful and had very good advice. I was so touched by the Tehilim and the bookmarks. At first, I thought that the names on the bookmarks were the relatives of the amazing people at Dror and that it was in their zechus that you gave us the Tehilim. But I soon realized that the names were those of our husbands and I was so moved by this personal touch. I looked at the bookmark at least three times before I put it in our sefarim shrank. I am looking forward to telling my husband all about it. Thank you too for the Purim gift. It’s beautiful. I really don’t know how to thank all of you for ALL your incredible kindness and generosity. Just the wives getting together to see each other and to spend time with one another would be enough, but Dror makes it extra special – it’s so comforting. I don’t know what I would do without the opportunity to speak to other women who are going through a similar situation. Tizku L’Mitzvos! May Hashem repay all of you for your tremendous chessed – b’karov. Have a Freilichen Purim – you certainly make our lives so much more freilech than we could have imagined.”
Professionals and families who have been through the prison system convened at the Renaissance ballroom, led by Dr. David Pelkovitz, head of Dror’s women’s support group division. A resounding success, Dror would like to thank all those who attended despite their busy schedules. When specialists come together, some with professional titles and others with a shared experience in the field, the collaboration is beneficial in creating a soundboard of advice to all present.
Let them be boys
A pre-Purim gathering was organized for the Bochurim and young married sons of the Dror families. They were treated to food, music, and a full-fledged Kumzitz, where some of the boys played their instruments as well.
Special thanks to:
*Motty Zeiger for taking the time to encourage and entertain those present.
*Shea Langsam for being available to assist Dror, and for personally joining the evening.
*Shloime Feder for providing the location and hosting the event, along with Yedidya Liebler.
Purim: a welcome reprieve
Each of Dror’s families received a complete catalog of trending costumes to choose from. For once, there was no budget constraint to their happiness. Every child got a chance to be the hero or heroine of their dreams, although some took some time to give it a shot. Just skimming through the pages put them in the Purim spirit. A special thanks to Yossi Itzkowitz for making this project possible.
In their words:
“My kids were on such a high looking through the pictures of costumes. It gave them such a feeling of harchava to be able to choose from such a nice and huge selection. Thank you!”
“I can’t thank you enough for continuing to keep the smiles on my daughters faces! My kids were ecstatic! Thanks for always thinking how you can help and brighten up our days.”
“Thank you so much! Just got home to a wonderful costume delivery and all the extra things you added to it – the kids are super excited at all that candy! The kids are already trying them on!!!”
“I didn’t think that my brothers would be interested in dressing up this year but they all wanted to when that saw the costumes! It really makes this difficult time much easier when there are exciting new things!”
“My kids are so excited this morning they were jumping and laughing having a great time opening all the yummy stuff and the costumes. This is really a special gesture, particularly this Purim. You’ve made a difference”.
“What a wonderful sight of my kinderlach in adorable new costumes, faces glowing, gull of excitement for this Yom Tov! “
The legal team at work
Dror’s legal team discussed the progress of the Kollel M’Haram M’Rottenberg program, as well as the upcoming Holiday schedule requests with the higher ups in D.C. Meetings were conducted in the offices of the Commissioner and Chaplaincy. The proceedings went well and elicited positive response. Particularly so, that the Kollel program is in its final stages of entry into the program catalog.
New: Dror’s driver database
Yoel Usher Labin created a new whatsapp group for all drivers, volunteer visitors, and families, coordinating the rounds of visits so that they’re conducted in an organized manner. This advancement secures visits to all inmates, connecting families to drivers, and keeping tabs on those who have/ haven’t yet had a round of visitors.
Save the date: Dina Event
Dror’s Dina prevention event is scheduled to take place on May 4th at 8:30pm in the Ateres Golda ballroom. The focus of the event is to educate the people of our communities on important topics and preventative measures. Proper prevention may be the key toward mitigating the need for Dror’s legality intervention. Too many are suffering due to misinformation and lack of business acumen. Some of the panelists scheduled to speak at the event include Hon. Peter P. Sweeney, Kings County Democratic Chairman Hon. Frank R. Seddio (ret.), Hon. Barry Kamins (ret.), Murray Richman Esq., Abraham J. Backenroth Esq., Benjamin Z. Epstein Esq. , Glenn H. Spiegel, Esq. and will be moderated by Joel Schmidt Esq., an attorney at legal aid society. Intense preparations are mid-way, with the lawyers and judges in a communal effort to prepare the itinerary and forums. The community is fully involved and everyone is on high gear anticipating this event with hundreds of question pouring into the Dina office. With the influx of questions from the general public, we anticipate answering many of your inquiries and concerns.
Mazel Tov mentions
- Chaim Hersh Freund, upon the engagement of his son.
- Chaim Hersh Freund, on the birth of his first granddaughter.
- Mrs. Davidowitz, upon her daughter’s wedding.
- Lipa Meisels, upon his daughter’s wedding.
- Duvi Birenbaum, upon his wedding.
- Yitzchok Mechel Moskowitz, upon the birth of his daughter.
- Avigdor Berkowitz, upon his daughter’s wedding.
- Rabbi Stein, upon the recent weddings of his grandchildren.