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He’s Got the Ticket

C. Rosenberg

A tentative effort by one well-connected Brooklynite helped Boro Park’s Jews keep Shabbos without their usual parking tickets. It also marked him as an effective liaison between city officials and the Torah-observant community. Fifty years later, Rabbi Edgar Gluck is still the prime address

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

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GOING STRONG At the age of 80, Rabbi Gluck is still going strong. City officials often reach out to him for information on important Jewish dates for inclusion in the municipal calendar (Photos: Amir Levy)

Before 1966, Yom Tov in Boro Park meant parking tickets festooned roughly half of all windshields. Alternate side parking — a law mandating that cars could not park on alternate sides of the street on specific days, to allow for street cleaning — was an inviolable quirk of Brooklyn life. If a car owner couldn’t move his car because it was Yom Tov — well, being ticketed was just part and parcel of being a frum motorist. 

Then Rabbi Edgar Gluck stepped into the picture, and all that — and more — changed. 

As Jewish advisor to New York mayoral candidate John Lindsay, Rabbi Gluck developed a very close relationship with the rising politician, eventually bringing him the only Republican victory of the year’s municipal election. Following his victory, Rabbi Gluck became fully immersed in a position he never left: that of community askan and liaison between his coreligionists and the city officials. 

RABBI GLUCK RECALLS the genesis of his role as a small grassroots effort to alleviate the alternate side parking woes. “In 1966, I wrote all Jewish Yom Tov dates on a calendar and distributed it to city officials, and explained to them that frum Yidden wouldn’t move their cars on Shabbosim and Yamim Tovim.” He then asked the officials to waive the alternate side parking laws on those days as well. Twenty-five years later, when Noach Dear was councilman, he procured the “freedom” for Purim too, when Megillah leining often interfered with motorists’ ability to move their cars. 

Brooklyn residents had a hard time wrapping their brains around the fact that the Yom Tov ticket plague had finally came to an end. Rabbi Gluck was inundated with congratulations for removing a chip from frum Jewry’s shoulders. No longer were they forced to spend Shabbosim and Yamim Tovim praying for the cops to somehow ignore their cars. Realizing he had listening ears of city officials, Rabbi Gluck decided to solve two more problems… (Excerpted from Mishpacha’s Behind the Scenes, Pesach Mega-Issue 5777)

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