Urging all our readers to vote in the June 25th election
As the end of yet another decade is fast approaching, for Brooklynites this juncture in time has taken on added meaning. Just ask any resident of the County of Kings and they will tell you that the upcoming June 25th election is the most crucial in terms of defining our future as a borough that is predicated on an unwavering commitment to championing the highest degree of legal ethics.
On June 25th, Brooklynites from every area of the borough will flock to the polls to push the lever in the Democratic primary for a judgeship position in Surrogate Court. The reason this particular election is of paramount importance is because Brooklyn has a very long and exceptionally proud legacy of tenaciously upholding its cherished values, traditions and customs which have been the bedrock of life of this truly beloved place on earth that we all call home. And now, a tireless advocate for our rights and an extremely qualified and experienced jurist who has thrown her proverbial hat in the ring to serve all Brooklynites as she runs for Surrogate Court seat. Her name is Judge Elena Baron and it is a name that all of us must become familiar with.
What happens in the Surrogate Court is of vital importance to the Jewish community. The Surrogate’s Court oversees all matters relating to a decedent’s estate. A great deal of money from Jewish decedents comes through Surrogate Court. The judge in the Surrogate’s Court is called the Surrogate, and this person renders crucial decisions pertaining to deeply personal issues regarding families during the most vulnerable times of their lives. This includes, but is not limited to, such matters as burial arrangements, property disputes, adoptions and guardianships for minors in order to ensure that the assets are used for the minor’s benefit, as well as for legally incapacitated persons. A Surrogate Court Judge is consistently called upon to decide very complex and thorny issues, with disputes and litigation involving contested probate proceedings including validation of documents such as Wills or Trusts, document interpretation, kinship issues, business matters and family disputes. Also under the aegis of the Surrogate’s Court are accountings, where the appointed executor or administrator provides a record of all financial transactions and expenses relating to a decedent’s estate.
Judge Elena Baron has earned a stellar reputation of showing genuine concern about matters directly affecting our community, such as closures of yeshivos and synagogues; as she handles cases brought before her on the bench with palpable sensitivity and profound compassion.
Judge Baron’s judicial employment history is beyond impressive. She has worked in five New York City courthouses for over a decade, handling guardianship proceedings, fiduciary appointments, receiverships, refereeships, credit card debt, small business corporate matters, personal injury matters, labor law disputes, landlord-tenant issues, and residential and commercial property cases, including foreclosures, as well as small claims. Those who have stood before her in her court have taken note of her remarkable diligence and her laborious efforts to maintain judicial equity under every and all circumstances.
Judge Baron is grateful for endorsements by Rabbi Aaron D. Twerski, Rabbi Shimon Hecht, Rabbi Rabbi Shea Hecht, Rabbi Avracham Reich, Rabbi Tzvi Twerski, Rabbi Aaron Raskin, Rabbi Bernard Freilich, Rabbi Avraham Reich, Rabbi Chaim Yosef Pinkesz, Rabbi Mendy Hecht, Rabbi Meir Fund, Rabbi Eli Cohen, Rabbi Yehuda Levin, Rabbi Shea Rubenstein, Rabbi Moshe Levin, Rabbi Tamir Zalsman, and many other rabbis and community leaders and she is the only Jewish candidate running in for Surrogate’s court.
“Growing up in the former Soviet Union, under the corrupt and frightening rule of the Communist Party, there was no opportunity for me to explore my Jewish identity or to receive a formal Jewish education. That is why I sent my son to Yeshiva, to learn our traditions, family values, and a commitment to public service. My grandmother, a doctor, saw more than 100 patients a day, and still found the strength to volunteer, visiting the sick in their homes,” declared Judge Baron.
Judge Baron immigrated to Brooklyn 25 years ago from Rostov-on-Don, the city where great Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber Schneerson, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, lived during his final years and is buried. Rostov is also a site where 27,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis in 1942. Judge Baron’s grandparents were decorated World War II veterans, who lost their family members in the Holocaust. Judge Baron is an active participant in Jewish life, who serves with alacrity on the board of directors for Congregation B’nai Jacob in Park Slope, gives tzedakah generously and volunteers to fund and feed the Jewish poor, the elderly and the infirm.
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