Assemblyman Hikind

photo Assemblyman Hikind with Jack Rosenberg, who can now proudly serve his country
Jack Rosenberg had his heart set on serving in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. After completing his training, receiving his pilot’s certification and passing his federal security review, he was eager to embark on flotilla missions. However, because of his yarmulke he was told he could not serve. Coast Guard uniform regulations prohibit the wearing of religious apparel except during religious services.

Although since 1988 U.S. law has permitted members of the armed services, such as the Air Force and Marines, to wear yarmulkes or any other religious head covering, the Coast Guard is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security, and is bound by its own set of regulations.

When Mr. Rosenberg turned to Assemblyman Hikind for help, the Assemblyman contacted the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thomas H. Collins, to expedite the determination of the National Uniform Committee and to call for a modification of its policy.

Mr. Rosenberg was recently notified that the regulations have been revised and he may now wear his yarmulke while in uniform.

Assemblyman Hikind commended the Coast Guard for doing the right thing. "In 2004 the Coast Guard Auxiliary provided three million volunteer hours augmenting counter-terror efforts, which has become the primary function of the Coast Guard in the aftermath of 9/11," he remarked. With President Bush’s implementation of the National Strategy for Maritime Security, which charges the Coast Guard with ‘primary responsibility’ for counter-terror efforts in securing U.S. oceans, manpower will be spread even thinner. Mr. Rosenberg can now remain faithful to his religion while honorably serving his country."


In a special awards ceremony held at the Boro Park Y before an overflow audience, Assemblyman Hikind paid tribute to several outstanding individuals, the "unsung heroes" who tirelessly contribute their time and efforts to benefit others.

"Some of these individuals are stars within their governmental agencies, while others discovered a need or population that was not served or underserved in our community," said Assemblyman Hikind. "I wanted to commend these people for creating a system of support and services to address those needs, and this ceremony was a perfect forum for doing just that."

Honorees included:

  • Mendel Rosenberg, founder and president of the Chesed Shel Emes organization, which, under his direction for the last eight years, has provided dignified burials and related services at no cost to indigent individuals and comforted grieving families;

  • Mordechai Mandelbaum, co-founder of Masbia, a full-service soup kitchen feeding healthy and delicious meals to nearly 200 destitute men, women and children a week in a dignified, restaurant-like setting;

  • Shlomo Torn, Administrator of the Borough Park Jewish Community Council, whose expertise in the areas of social service benefits, crisis intervention, Holocaust-related issues, kids-at-risk and more, has eased the burden of countless people;

  • Briendy Katz, Chairwoman of the Board of M.A.R.C.H. (Mothers Alone Raising Children), offers encouragement, advice and emotional support to 700 single mothers and their 2000 children, and also obtains funds, goods and services for distribution;

  • Ann Neuberger, board member of M.A.R.C.H., who implemented the Sister-to-Sister Program which provides individualized assistance in the form of advocacy, parenting courses, and classes on economic self-sufficiency;

  • Vincent Accetta, Executive Director of the Council of Neighborhood Organizations, has successfully organized and provided a variety of social service and youth programs for the past 13 years for residents of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights

The following public servants have distinguished themselves for their professional excellence, commitment and responsiveness to the concerns of our community:

  • Superintendent James Quinn of the New York City Department of Sanitation, BK 12;

  • Julius Spiegel, Brooklyn Borough Commissioner of the New York City Parks Department; and

  • Rena Diamond, Community Representative for Congressman Jerrold Nadler.

photo Mordechai Mandelbaum, co-founder of Masbia soup kitchen photo Mendel Rosenberg, founder of Chesed Shel Emes
photo Vincent Accetta, Executive Director of CONO photo James Quinn, Superintendent of NYC Sanitation Dept. BK 12
photo Ann Neuberger and Briendy Katz of M.A.R.C.H., with Councilman Bill de Blasio photo Shlomo Torn, Borough Park Community Council administrator
photo Rena Diamond of Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s office photo Julius Spiegel, NYC Parks Dept. Borough Commissioner

photo Assemblyman Hikind with Councilman Michael Nelson and protesters displaying the objectionable titles, which were subsequently removed.
When Assemblyman Hikind learned that a number of Russian bookstores throughout the city were selling anti-Semitic literature, he conducted an investigation in the Russian-Jewish enclave of Brighton Beach and other communities. What he discovered was an extensive list of titles by authors known for their vicious tirades against Jews, their denial of the Holocaust and their celebration of the Nazi ideal.

Joined by Councilman Michael Nelson and local community leaders, the Assemblyman called on the store proprietors to remove the offensive titles from their shelves. Almost immediately, the manager of one of the largest stores assured him that all 21 anti-Semitic books would be taken off the racks.

"These books are primers for the anti-Semite," Hikind charged. "The hatred preached in these books condones the worst kind of prejudice and leads to violence. Highly inflammatory and blatantly false accusations which have long been completely discredited can only serve to undermine our democracy."

credit cards Credit card thieves have devised a new way to illegally obtain your financial information.

Posing as representatives from the VISA or MasterCard Security and Fraud Department, scammers have been calling cardholders to advise them of unusual activity on their account. These "representatives" claim they need to verify suspicious purchases, and ask the cardholder to prove they are in possession of the card by providing the numbers on the back of the credit card.

The scammers already have the customer’s credit card number and billing address. What they are after is the 3-digit PIN number issued on the back of the card which allows them to readily make Internet and other purchases.

If you receive a call similar to this scenario, do not engage the caller. Instead, contact your credit card company immediately and file a fraud report. It may also be advisable to close your account and request a new card and account number.