The Jewish community, including even those living far from New York, has lost a real friend with the passing of Judge Noach Dear, z”l. He was called “the Honorable Noach Dear,” and that title fit him perfectly, because he represented us as a frum Jew to the world, and he protected us from the world.
Noach Dear was a man who did not do anything without asking daas Torah. He started his day at the neitz minyan, took the time of two minyanim to daven Minchah or Maariv and yet still had time for anyone and for everyone.
I met Noach Dear when he was first campaigning for a seat in the City Council. He was a nice guy, and obviously a religious Jew, and so he got my vote.
As time went on, though, I had many opportunities to see up front what he accomplished for New York City, for Jews and Jewish communities, and for individuals. And I was one of the individuals.
When our house was struck by fire, we waited four months for the NYC Building Department to approve our plans to rebuild. Noach Dear called Mr. Shah, then the Commissioner of the NYC Building Department (Brooklyn). And, when Mr. Shah tarried, Noach Dear sent me in to the commissioner with these words: “Tell him, ‘I am the person that Noach Dear has been calling you about.’” And the job got done.
Judge Noach Dear’s davening was something to see. I still see him standing on the right side of Rabbi Landau’s shul in Flatbush, either davening next to the shulchan or in the front row right next to the aron kodesh.
At many a Minchah, after I had finished my own Shemoneh Esrei, I liked to observe how Noach Dear davened on and on. Sometimes, I was lucky enough to see him finish his Shemoneh Esrei and tarry a bit, slowly finishing his davening. If I was still around then, I would wave, congratulate him on his latest victory on behalf of some Jewish cause, or just stop to ask him a question.
He was always working on something, something that only a Noach Dear could do. For nearly two decades Noach Dear served Orthodox Jewry and voted our agenda in the New York City Council. He did not just add his vote to what someone else had proposed, but he himself would be the one to introduce an idea into the City Council, even if he was all alone in the effort, and even if others claimed that it “reeked of favoritism” for “the Brooklyn Jews.” “Right is right, no matter if no one else sees it; and, this is the reason that Hashem put me here” — that is the way he looked at every thing he did.
Noach Dear was truly a mentch for our times.
Rabbi Yosef Wikler, Son of Judge Samuel J. Wikler
Editor, KASHRUS Magazine