Hamodia is saddened to report the passing of Noach Dear, who served the Jewish community in Brooklyn with distinction for nearly four decades. He succumbed to coronavirus on Sunday at age 67.
As a typical Jewish child growing up in Brooklyn in post-World War II Brooklyn, Noach was already an active participant in public life when he sang in the first record of the Pirchei Agudas Yisrael Choir. He went on to learn in Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, and graduated from Brooklyn Law School.
In 1983, he was elected to the New York City Council’s 44th District, where he represented the Orthodox Jewish community of Midwood, Boro Park and parts of Bensonhurst. He was known as a staunch advocate of protecting the morality issues which were close to the hearts of his constituents despite what other politicians held on these matters. While serving on the Transportation Committee of the City Council, Noach opposed “dollar vans,” commuter vans which offered a transportation alternative.
When he was term-limited out of office in 2001, he ran several unsuccessful campaigns for higher office, finally being elected in 2008 as a civil court judge, and for a 15-year term on the Supreme Court in 2015. In his new position as well, he used his extensive knowledge of the court system to assist many people in need.
Dear was involved in both the civil and criminal divisions of the court, but became increasingly focused on consumer debt, and was the ranking judge in Brooklyn in consumer debt issues. He developed a manual for judges on credit card debt at the instruction of the state’s retiring Chief Justice Jonathan Lippmann. “I took this whole concept of consumer debt and turned it into a national issue. We changed the way we do business,” Dear told Hamodia at the time.
City Councilman Kalman Yeger, who now occupies the seat which Dear held, tweeted, “Awful, numbing news. The passing of my predecessor Justice Noach Dear is impossible to digest. The first to hold the seat I am now honored to serve. Compassionate, funny, pragmatic, always patient & loved people. His lifelong public service touched many thousands.”
Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who served the same general community as Dear on the state level, said, “This is such sad news. Noach was a champion, a fighter for his people and all of his constituents. He especially cared for the voiceless and powerless, and dedicated his every single day to making the world a better place.”
Chaskel Bennett, a community askan, said Noach was a “legendary public servant & representative who understood that his position should be used to help the most vulnerable & downtrodden. He was respected & admired. To watch him pray was an experience. He will be deeply missed.”