The First HAITI JEWISH REFUGEE LEGACY PROJECT Tikkun Olam Award Presented to Two People in Brooklyn, New York

We decided to give a TIKKUN OLAM award and in this regard spoke to Boris Noble who then sent us the following description of his work and the focus of A NEW HAITIAN-JEWISH COALITION. 

Boris Noble has been volunteering since May of 2010 for Rodneyse Bichotte who ran for the district leader position in the 42nd Assembly District here in Brooklyn, NY. The 42nd district is a diverse district with a majority of Caribbean-Americans and with a substantial number of Orthodox and other Jews. Amongst the Caribbean’s the Haitian population is in the majority. Rodneyse and I decided that it is necessary to have the Jewish and Haitian populations work together for common goals and to get to know one another in the Flatbush community. We were successful, and Rodneyse won the race %52-%48 carrying the Jewish populations overwhelmingly (in the 90 percentile) on election day which was September 14. Rodneyse met with various rabbis and Jewish community leaders in her efforts. She met with representatives of AIPAC as well. I together with Sam Pierre (a leader in the Haitian community and a campaigner for Rodneyse) have assisted Haitian leaders in creating a format for the community to get needed social services and entitlement counseling through the Haitian American Caucus in April 2009. This initiative was made before the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010. Haiti even before the earthquake was a country plagued by many problems and had the dubious distinction of being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. As such there are large numbers of people that have migrated to the United States and have settled in central Brooklyn. Many of these folks have limited incomes and a need to learn about various things that they by law are entitled to. We hope to get the people in both communities to work together on common issues. Issues like crime, property taxes and schooling. What our coalition has demonstrated is the ability of people to put aside their differences when they believe in working together to better the community that we all live in.  

Boris Noble’s  experience is 2004-2007 B.A. cum laude Brooklyn College History/Political Science major, 2007-2009 M.A. Political Science. He worked at New York Legal Assistance Group, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, United Jewish Appeal Government Relations and currently work at Midwood Development Corp. as the housing director working with various groups on housing issues and foreclosure prevention. 

At Boris’ suggestion, we also considered his working partner, Rodneyse Bichotte, for a similar award. Please see the following details on her background and current efforts. 

Rodneyse Bichotte is a consummate community organizer dedicated to improving the neighborhoods and lives of her fellow Brooklyn residents. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Rodneyse is proud of her Haitian-American roots. 

A true product of the “Big Apple”, she matriculated through New York City Public Schools and the LaGuardia School of Music and Arts & Performing Arts, where she studied classical music such as Beethoven, Schubert and Mozart. Later, Rodneyse continued her studies at both Buffalo State College and SUNY at Buffalo, where she received her undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering; Illinois Institute of Technology where she received her Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering; and Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where she received her MBA in Finance and Marketing. Her professional career carried her to Chicago, Japan, and China for several years before returning back home to work on Wall Street as a Corporate and Investment Banker. 

Her most recent display of commitment and service was when she travelled on a week-long medical mission to Haiti to help those impacted by the devastating earthquake. She administered medicine, offered counsel and support and prayed with families to help heal their wounds, both physically and spiritually. 

Rodneyse has been a dedicated public servant for over 20 years, and continuously worked on a number of initiatives with her local elected officials. Recently, she won the primary for Democratic State Committee Female Leader of the 42nd Assembly District. 

For a more complete biography of Rodneyse CLICK HERE 

CLICK HERE for an update which includes Rodneyse’s trip to Israel with UJA, her nomination by Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke to be an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention and last but certainly not least, her candidacy for the New York State Assembly.

Tikkun Olam is a fundamental Jewish principle and lived value. According to Wikipedia, Tikkun Olam is “a Hebrew phrase that means ‘repairing the world’ In Judaism, the concept of tikkun olam originated in the early rabbinic period. The concept was given new meanings in the kabbalah of the medieval period and further connotations in modern Judaism.” For more information on Tikkun Olam, CLICK HERE. 

Some special words to Boris and Rodneyse: When Haiti opened its doors to fleeing European refugees, facing the threat, atrocities and genocide of Nazi politicizes, Haiti tried to help us. The people of Haiti wanted to keep as many Jews as possible safe from the most horrific circumstance imaginable.

One of the core missions of our project is to let the Haitian people know what they did for us in the 1930’s and now, to say thank you by taking action on their behalf.  

We could not be more excited about what is going on in Brooklyn, because the two of you stepped up to the plate and did the right thing. 

We support and stand with you and commend your work and look forward to following your progress toward a new unity and integration between people who suffered in many similar ways. 

For the back story on our connection to Boris, see Haiti – From Words to Action

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