August 2017 -- Av-Elul 5777,  Volume 23, Issue 8

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Port Chester Police Chief Richard Conway (left) and Kneses Tifereth Israel Rabbi Jaymee Alpert

Rabbi and Police Chief Bring Messages of Love and Tolerance

By Stephen E. Lipken


Rabbi Jaymee Alpert, 43 of Knesses Tifereth Israel {KTI} (Hebrew, “gathering and crowning glory of the people of Israel”), Port Chester appeared at KTI with Port Chester Police Chief Richard Conway, 59 to discuss the challenges of being a female Rabbi and tolerance of immigration in their Village.


“The challenge of being a female Rabbi is a complicated question to answer…,” Rabbi Alpert noted.  “Over the years I have encountered a number of challenges…I am not what people expect. When they hear the title ‘Rabbi,’ I think that most people expect to see a man…of a certain age.  I face a lot of the same challenges that many women professionals face, particularly in male-dominated professions...


“Sometimes people ask questions that I am fairly certain that they would not ask of a male colleague… Because it is not overt sexism it is difficult to pinpoint it when asked, ‘Are you asking me this because I am a woman or… because it is really your question?’”


An unofficial honorary Lieutenant Police Chaplain and Fire Department Chaplain, Alpert was asked about the recent Board of Trustees action at their Wednesday, July 5 meeting, rejecting a U.S. Justice Department Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant for three full-time police officers for three years, stipulating that all applicants comply with a Federal statute requiring sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about immigration status of individuals.

“It is known that Port Chester has a very large immigrant population and large undocumented immigration population,” Alpert replied.


Pointing out that his mother was an Italian immigrant, a partisan liberated from a Nazi work camp, Conway emphasized that immigrants contribute to the diversity and flair of the community. “When this proposal got out to the immigrant community which is 45% of our population, it became almost a panic.  They were quite vocal in their support of the Police Department but vocally against supporting this..,” Conway stressed.