Fired DA Employee Files Discrimination Suit
Tami Levin, who was fired from Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office after 26 years, filed a federal discrimination suit against both the City of Philadelphia and Krasner saying she was fired because she was white, Philadelphia magazine reported.
In the suit, Levin, 53, said she began in the DA’s office in 1991 and had been director of victim services since 1999. She received an award from the Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy in 2015.
Krasner made sweeping personnel changes when he took office in January 2018, replacing Levin with Movita Johnson-Harrell, an activist whose son died in a 2011 shooting and who founded the CHARLES Foundation shortly thereafter. Johnson-Harrell has since become the first Muslim woman elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature.
Levin’s complaint contends that Johnson-Harrell was less qualified for the job. The suit seeks unspecified damages.
Levin declined to speak with the Jewish Exponent.
Rabbi’s House Burns
The Northeast Philadelphia house of Rabbi Akiva Pollack was severely damaged by fire on July 22, although nobody was injured, the rabbi said on his Facebook page.
Pollack, who is the executive director of the Russian American Jewish Experience at Congregation Beth Solomon, said his son Avromy heard a smoke detector go off around 11 a.m., saw smoke when he opened an upstairs bedroom door and saw a buffet at the bottom of the steps on fire. He was able to run past the fire to safety.
Although the fire was contained to the first floor, the house was heavily damaged by smoke and water, Pollack said.
Synagogue Founder Dies
Marian Goodman Rosenbaum of Wynnewood, who was a founding member of Overbrook Park Congregation, died July 12, according to her family. She was 94.
Overbrook Park Congregation became Congregation Beth T’fillah of Overbrook Park before merging with Adath Israel. Rosenbaum continued to belong to Adath Israel and also became a member of Congregation Beth El-Ner Tamid in Broomall, where she sponsored the annual Blessing of the Animals.
She was active in B’nai B’rith Women, serving as chapter president, as well as president of the Philadelphia Council, where she oversaw the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization.
Man Who Avoided Kristallnacht Dies
Jerry Freimark, who escaped with his older sister from Germany as a teen just days before Kristallnacht, died July 24, according to his family. He was 97.
Freimark and his sister settled with distant family in Philadelphia, later bringing over their parents, who were liberated from Tereizin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp. When they were liberated, they went to a displaced persons camp hoping their children would find them.
Freimark worked in a dental laboratory, but was described by his daughter, Linda, as a “self-educated Renaissance man,” dabbling as an inventor, composer, photographer and jewelry maker.
Pennsylvania Teens Participate in OU Summer Program in Israel
More than 2,500 Jewish teens, staff and guests from 29 states, Canada, Israel, Argentina and the United Kingdom — including 39 from Pennsylvania — participated in summer programs operated by the Orthodox Union in Ra’anana, Israel.
Participants enjoyed American barbecue and listened to live music at Yom NCSY. The event also marked the end of a 72-hour initiative to fund scholarships for next year’s programs and to dedicate a United Hatzalah Ambucycle.
“Yom NCSY represents the very essence of what NCSY summer is all about,” NCSY Summer Director David Cutler said. “At the event it doesn’t matter what your religious background is. It’s about a united, nonjudgmental, encouraging environment celebrating our shared connections in the home of the Jewish people.”