Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum views his work with members of the military and law enforcement simply as a way of giving back to serve those who serve the public.
Through Jewish Uniformed Services Association of Maryland, Tenenbaum estimates he annually provides outreach and services for as many as 300 individuals in military, police, fire and other public safety service roles.
The Baltimore-based organization, which Tenenbaum founded five years ago, will mark the occasion with an appreciation awards dinner at the Fifth Regiment Armory, 219 29th Division St., Baltimore at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25.
While Tenenbaum is pleased with all that the organization has accomplished, he said uniformed men and women often don’t receive the appreciation they deserve, making the need to spotlight their contributions a top priority.
“We want to make sure that these men and women are shown the gratitude they deserve for keeping us safe, especially in the climate they face now,” said Tenenbaum, 38, of Park Heights.
In addition to organizing meetings and events, JUSA offers participants one-on-one, around-the-clock religious and spiritual and social counseling. The organization also hosts High Holiday programs and Shabbat services and provides families with support.
“We want to ensure that we can help soldiers who may be suffering from PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] when they return home or officers who are dealing with high stress,” Tenenbaum said.
Ira Weiner, a Baltimore City police officer who is believed to be the city’s first Jewish cop shot and killed in the line of duty, will be among the event’s honorees. Weiner, 28 at the time of his death, became a bar mitzvah at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation in 1977 and graduated from Northwestern High School in 1982.
Gene Kirchner, a member of the Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company, will also be recognized. Kirchner, a 2006 Owings Mills High School graduate, died at age 25 on May 2, 2013, eight days after he was critically injured while attempting to rescue someone from a house fire.
Retired Army Col. Erwin Burtnick, commander of the Department of Maryland Jewish War Veterans USA, will also be honored.
About 120 people are expected to attend, including Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. William Pallozzi. All proceeds from the event will benefit JUSA, an affiliate of Chabad-Lubavitch of Maryland.