July 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

How a Soft-Spoken Shomer Shabbat Man Becomes a Ramapo Town Councilman

Highlighting: “Mr. Reiss Goes Into Politics” by Marion Reiss. Independently published. 2020. English. Soft covered. 188 pages. ISBN: 978-965-7041-23-9 (paperback) ISBN: 978-965-7041-24-6 (ebook)

There is a great amount of charm in “Mr. Reiss Goes Into Politics,” written by Marion Reiss as a tribute to her late husband Harry, z”l. The author wrote the book with the intention that her children, Wendy Schindler, a Teaneck resident; Linda Wolicki, a resident of Israel; and Rabbi Yona Reiss of Chicago, and grandchildren remember their father and grandfather’s amazing life journey. This journey took him from being an ordinary citizen, teaching as an adjunct professor of political science at Rockland Community College, into the throes of local community politics from a grassroots perspective. His reputation as a soft-spoken, kind and honest man followed him wherever he went.

Interestingly, Harry eventually became a council member in Ramapo,where he served as a town councilman for 13 years and was the Democratic winner in five consecutive years. Prior to running for office Harry had always shown an interest in local politics and community action. It was through his initiative that, after many requests, he was granted the creation of a Holocaust studies course at Rockland Community College. Building on its success, the Rockland Center for Holocaust Studies was established in the annex of the Finkelstein Memorial Library in Spring Valley.

Throughout his working days and his campaigning Harry always took pride in his growing family, and they encouraged him to carry on with his civic duties. In one of his first campaigns, the flyer that was posted on as many poles as possible was one that stated “Out of the Mouths of Babes,” with a picture of his six grandchildren at the time, with the most prominent tagline

“Vote for Our Saba—Harry Reiss.”

Unfortunately, with politics sometimes comes disloyalty. The knowledge that friends might not actually be who they seemed did not deter Harry, and with Marion always at his side he continued to forge ahead. Marion, as Harry’s biggest campaigner and enthusiastic better half, allowed nothing to deter Harry from doing what he thought was necessary for the region.

One of the highlights of the book is that it affords the reader the chance to take a pictorial journey through the days of Harry Reiss’ life as a politician and family man. Marion, several years after his passing, made aliyah, but realized the need to categorize and compile the many mementos and files she had kept of Harry’s journey. Ultimately, she decided that this would be a great way to honor her late husband and to ensure that her children and grandchildren, who had always been so much a part of their lives, would cherish this book as a reminder of the unique and special character traits that their father and grandfather had.

May his neshama have an aliyah.

The book cover was designed by Michael Shindler, incorporating a campaign cartoon by Yona Reiss. The book is available on www.Amazon.com.

By Nina Glick

 

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