Faith and the Force: Rabbi Celebrates 54 Years in the NYPD

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Chaplain, Faith, Inspiration, Jewish, Media, New York, New York City, New York News, NYPD, Queens, NY, Rabbis, September 11th, Service

By Emily Drooby

With a handshake and a smile, Rabbi Alvin Kass focuses on what he does best: serving the NYPD and God. 

The chaplain is the longest serving member of the police department in uniform today, but it was a job he never expected to have.

“I had never been in a police station in my life,” Rabbi Kass explained. “I never knew any policemen.”

He was called to interview in 1966, and was set apart from the other applicants by the most unlikely of things: bringing a gym bag filled with handball equipment to the interview. It’s a move that ultimately made the Chief of Detectives pick him. 

“He thought that a rabbi who played handball would be the right fit for the NYPD,” Rabbi Kass said.

On December 16, the now three-star chief chaplain marked 54 years on the force. 

“In that healing each other, I believe we are carrying out God’s plan,” he said. 

Rabbi Kass has spent his time helping to heal and protect those who keep New York City safe, dealing with the good times and with tragic times, like September 11, 2001. 

Serving alongside the officers who risked it all, he pushed through his own grief to care for them. 

“God gave people free will, and people abuse that free will and do some terrible things. ButGod gave us the ability to respond to these abuses through the strength of human love,” he said. 

No matter how difficult it is, Rabbi Kass gets the job done – a job he doesn’t plan on giving up anytime soon. 

“I’m not retiring,” he assured. 

For Rabbi Kass, it’s been 54 years filled with tragedy, happiness, laughs, tears, but most importantly, faith.