Riverhead, NY - At the September General Meeting, Legislators unanimously approved a resolution appointing Rabbi Lina Zerbarini as a member of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission. The Huntington Station woman will bring years of knowledge and advocacy to the role.
Rabbi Lina has dedicated her life, professionally and personally, to advancing equality for all people and standing up for those facing injustice. As a student at Barnard College of Columbia University, Rabbi Lina was active in the struggle against discrimination of LGBT people, she advocated for access to medication for people with AIDS, and worked to educate homeless youth to prevent contraction of the virus. After completing Rabbinical school nearly 25 years ago, her first position was with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Philadelphia where she worked to build bridges between groups. In that role she staffed the Black-Jewish Coalition and was a founder of the Latino-Jewish Clergy Coalition. While in Philadelphia, she advocated for Israeli Palestinian Peace organizing Americans of Jewish descent to support that peace movement. A Long Islander born and raised, Rabbi Lina left to pursue her education and career, but returned to New York nearly 10 years ago. As a member of the Long Island Board of Rabbis, she began a Black Jewish Clergy Coalition in partnership with the Long Island Council of Churches, and organized Rabbinic support for the Muslim community after the travel ban in 2017. In 2018, she moved to Suffolk County to serve as the Rabbi at Kehillath Shalom Synagogue in Cold Spring Harbor and quickly became a leader within the community participating in numerous efforts and helping fellow neighbors. She currently serves as the Secretary to the Huntington Anti-Bias Task Force and a member of the Steering Committee of the Huntington Interfaith Council.
“Although Rabbi Lina came to our community only a short time ago, she has already made a huge impact. She has experience in bringing together diverse groups and deeply understands the value of forming partnerships to address shared concerns. With her passion for protecting those facing injustice, in tandem with her educational background and notable roles throughout her career, I know she will bring much perspective and dedication to the Human Rights Commission,” stated Legislator Spencer.
Rabbi Lina attended the September 2nd Government Operations, Personnel, Housing, Information Technology, & Diversity Committee, where she spoke before legislators to introduce herself and express her interest in serving. “We are really all one family, we are all in the image of God and our work, our mission in this world, mine as a Rabbi and my sense of all of ours is to recognize everybody's basic humanity and extraordinary sacredness. I hope to have the opportunity to continue that mission through the Human Rights Commission,”
The Suffolk County Human Rights Commission was created in 1963 to work toward the elimination of bias and intolerance and enforce and investigate complaints of discrimination in Suffolk County. The 15 member volunteer board receives thousands of inquiries each year related to discrimination in employment, housing, credit, and places of public accommodation. Additionally, their services include providing speakers to community groups and businesses to explain the law and assist in the prevention of complaints.
Pictured: Legislator Spencer with Rabbi Lina Zerbarini in October of 2019.