On Wednesday, September 20, First Deputy Commissioner Tania Kinsella visited the Kew Gardens Hills community where she spoke of a partnership with the Jewish community and made it clear that we have a friend in her. During her visit, she spoke of a recent trip to Israel alongside Mayor Eric Adams, where she learned of sacred Jewish traditions. 

Kinsella’s career with the NYPD began as a police officer in 2003, patrolling the streets of the 120th Precinct on Staten Island. In 2008, she was promoted to sergeant and assigned to the 68th Precinct in Brooklyn. In 2013, she was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to the 13th Precinct in Manhattan, then to captain in 2016, and she began her executive career as the executive officer of the 120th Precinct, where she became the precinct’s commanding officer in 2020. Kinsella was designated as the commanding officer of Housing Police Service Area 1 in 2018 and was promoted to deputy inspector in 2019. In 2021, she rose to the rank of inspector.

In 2022, Kinsella was assigned as the executive officer of the Office of the Chief of Patrol, where she was subsequently promoted to deputy chief. There, she focused on the deployment of the Patrol Services Bureau’s approximately 13,000 members, monitoring crime, crime statistics, crime trends, and domestic violence crimes. She was designated First Deputy Commissioner of the NYPD on July 17 of this year working alongside Commissioner Edward Caban.

Kinsella broke bread over some kosher nosh as she discussed the melting pot of New York City at a roundtable discussion held at the Chazaq headquarters. She spoke of unity under faith, culture, and the universal concept of loving one another to fight against hate of all kinds. Kinsella noted the decrease in hate crimes that the department takes extremely seriously. District Leader Shimi Pelman mentioned how hate builds on itself as it had in Nazi Germany, and how our community organizations work as partners to reduce acts of bias.

Kinsella admitted that visiting Israel was never on her bucket list; however, following a three-day trip a month ago with the UJA, she learned that it is a melting pot of different cultures where people of different cultures live in harmony. Kinsella praised the inclusion of women in the political and policing leadership of Israel. “It was a surreal experience and an emotional moment,” Kinsella said, as she spoke of plans to bring her daughter, 12, and son, 8, whom she is raising Catholic, to the Holy Land. “It was a dream trip that I never knew I needed.” Using a lesson taught by her mother, “the humble never stumble,” Kinsella spoke of educating our youth to be humble and share with the less fortunate by dedicating their time to a charity organization or some of their money or possessions to the poor.

At Safra Judaica on Main Street, Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov, clergy liaison to the precinct, spent time educating the First Deputy Commissioner on the beauty and significance of the shofar during the Days of Awe. Evoking the words of Rabbi Rabbi Alvin Kass, chief chaplain of the NYPD, he stated, “We cannot undo the past; we just look forward to the future.” Commissioner Fred Kreizman of the mayor’s Community Affairs Unit pointed to the correlation of the shofar during the time of the akeidah and how it all leads to the Jewish people seeking their redemption. Joel Eisdorfer, Senior Advisor to the mayor, showed Kinsella a pair of Shabbos candlesticks that a woman lights to bring peace and tranquility to a Jewish home at the onset of Shabbos as we disconnect from the outside world. Rabbi Nisanov also pointed to the birchas habayis blessing to fill a home with sunlight and warmth. Moshe Davis, Senior and Jewish Liaison of the mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, explained that a mezuzah and its scroll act as a reminder of Hashem always being in our midst. Looking at a picture of the Kosel HaMa’aravi, the First Deputy Commissioner showed her own portrait as she placed a kvittel in the Wailing Wall to Victoria Zirkiev, Presiden of Chazaq’s Women›s Division,

Richie Taylor, Commissioner of the NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau, who shares a 20-year rapport with Kinsella, pointed to the eishes chayil prayer that expresses how a woman of valor is the strong center of the Jewish family. Rabbi Nisanov pointed to Rabbi Yaniv Meirov, CEO of Chazaq, as an example of a man who always praises the efforts of his wife Leora as the woman who keeps their beautiful family happily centered.

Rabbi Yehiel M. Kalish, CEO of Chevra Hatzalah, and Rabbi Binyamin Kessler, Coordinator of Hatzolah of Queens and Great Neck, amongst a crew of members showed Kinsella the workings of a Hatzolah ambulance. Moshe Vatch, founder of the local Misaskim branch also brought the organization’s vehicle. Kinsella was amazed to learn of the bereavement work of the organization.

The meeting included the presence of Captain Michael Black-Larkin, newly appointed Executive Officer at the 107th police precinct; community advisor Alan Sherman; Israel Peskowitz, Director of Chazaq’s Government’s Affairs; Simon Sebag, Jewish liaison to Public Advocate Jumaane Williams; and Rabbi Shlomo Brukirer, Director OU-JLIC at Queens College.

By Shabsie Saphirstein, Community Outreach Coordinator, QBSP-Shmira