Brooklyn On February 25, 2020, The Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim convened its monthly dinner and conference in observance of Rosh Chodesh Adar and the fourth Yahrzeit observance of Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, ZT’l, who faithfully served the RAA/IGUD as its longstanding Menahel/Director.
Rabbi Tannenbaum served as the rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel of Linden Heights, known as Borough Park’s 9th Avenue Shul. Rabbi Tannenbaum was also active with the Borough Park Bikur Cholim, assisting patients, physicians and Maimonides hospital staff with the objective of obtaining the best hospital stay and care for members of the local community. “We at the RAA/IGUD do not know where Rabbi Tannenbaum found the time and energy, but he balanced his professional career at the RAA/IGUD and masterfully led B’nai Israel and, with patience and love, cared for the sick at Maimonides. Since he lived near the hospital, if you could not find Rabbi Tannenbaum at his study or home you were sure to find him at Maimonides helping someone. That was the type of rabbi he was, committed to the welfare of every person he was able to help,” stated Rabbi Yaakov Klass, Presidium Chairman of RAA/IGUD and close friend of Rabbi Tannenbaum.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the RAA/Igud, opened the Yahrzeit observance by introducing and thanking Maimonides Medical Center President & CEO Kenneth Gibbs for hosting the event and for sponsoring a lavish dinner. Rabbi Mirocznik emphasized how appreciative the RAA/IGUD is for “the exceptional medical care and service that Maimonides provides the community. From the miracle of childbirth through the last breath of a person, Maimonides is there for the community. That commitment starts from the top, President Gibbs and Executive Vice-President for Patience Relations Douglas Jablon, who are committed to excellence and do not stop even once achieved. They constantly strive to raise that bar even higher. Thee is no need to wonder why Maimonides Medical Center is a world-class hospital.”
President Gibbs commented that “we have a tradition of recognizing a Yahrzeit and celebrating the soul and life of a person. It is very important that we continue to learn from one of us who has passed and as an institution, we are honored to host you this evening. We are a house of healing and we try to be a source of wellness. Our relationship to the community is central to our ability to deliver on that mission, to which we are totally dedicated. To that extent, we are in communication with the leadership of the community, and we look for and seek your support and guidance. We are united in our work to give this care and as a result of our efforts, we are rated among the top ten hospitals in the country. We are committed to delivering exceptional care on an ongoing basis daily. Douglas Jablon, who we call the Mitzvah Man or Mr. Maimonides, is dedicated to delivering on that mission and he acquired that commitment from his spiritual guide and rabbi, Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum.”
In honor of the memory of Rabbi Tannenbaum, Dr. Robert Frankel, director, Interventional Cardiology Maimonides Medical Center, gave a special presentation on recent developments in the field of Cardiology.
Dr. Frankel began by saying that he has been affiliated with Maimonides since his stay as a medical student some forty years ago. “I came as a student and have stayed ever since.” Dr. Frankel explained how he has personally witnessed the evolution in how “open heart surgery” is done. How today in a span of 45 minutes he can, “do surgery which is less intrusive with a better recovery rate.” This is, “especially true when it relates to a heart valve which thank G-d a 90-minute procedure I am able to save many lives.
The oldest patient I have had was 100 years old and I am now looking at a patient who is 105 years old. This procedure is done in a Hydra Operating Room and Maimonides is one of the few hospitals with such an operating room. From the time Maimonides did the first heart transplant in America in the 1960s, Maimonides has been tied with 3 other national hospitals in first place for cardiology. We are blessed in that we are ranked number 2 in the country and number 1 in New York when it comes to cardiology and having the longest mortality rate. Dr. Frankel remembered Rabbi Tannenbaum, who cared for his cardiology patience and on the spiritual side collaborated with him to bring the best in medical and spiritual care. Rabbi Tannenbaum cared for the sick and was a passionate strong advocate of prevention and early detection. We cannot credit him enough for the thousands of people whom he helped and cared for. May his memory be a blessing.”
Inspector Paul Valerga, commanding officer, Community Outreach, also spoke at the Yahrzeit observance. The Inspector focused on how his division of the NYPD is focusing on tackling ant-Semitic and hate crimes. Recently, he was charged in revamping the Clergy Liaison program which falls under his purview. “The strongest weapon in fighting hate is the Clergy who have the sensitivity and the ability to get the word out that hate is wrong and has no place in New York City.” Inspector Valerga quoted Sir Robert Peal, the father of modern policing who stated in 1826 that, “the police are the community and the community is the police.”
To that end, the newly appointed Commissioner Dermot Shea has appointed a new Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnership Chauncey Parker. Deputy Commissioner Parker’s division now encompasses all the NTPD’s community partners and collaborators. It’s overseas Community Affairs and will place a special emphasis on youth strategies. It will look at how to keep good kids on a good path and intervene with youth in order to prevent them from going down the wrong path. This is important as to 86% of hate crimes were property damage in the form of swastikas and most of those perpetrators were the youth. Inspector Valerga commented that the assignment of youth coordinating officers is the key and they will be working with and seeking guidance from groups such as the Rabbinical Alliance of America which has a great relationship with the NYPD in further making this City a safe place. As a partnership together with prayer we will be successful.”
Also participating in the memorial for Rabbi Tannenbaum, ZT’l was the Hinover Rav, Rabbi Avraham Friedlander, Rabbi of Maimonides Medical Center and Rabbi of the Bais Medrash of Maimonides Medical Center, Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, presidium member, RAA./IGUD, Rabbi Yehuda Blank, director Chaplaincy Commission, and External Affairs RAA.IGUD, Rabbi Dovid Katz, Menahel/Director, RAA/IGUD, Rabbi Tzvi Mandel, who besides memorizing his father Rabbi Pinchas Mandel, also memorized his great friend Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, and Rabbi Chaim Zev Tannenbaum and Rabbi Yitzchok Dov Tannenbaum, the sons of Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, ZT’L.
Rabbinical Alliance of America gave a special thank you to Rabbi Yidel Feig for all his help in coordinating this beautiful event.