Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

88-Year-Old Rabbi Injured at Coast Guard Ceremony Can Sue Government

A federal court ruling will allow an 88-year-old New York rabbi to proceed with a negligence lawsuit against the U.S. government.

Judge Margo Brodie of the Brooklyn District Court struck down the federal government’s request for summary judgment in the case of Rabbi William Kloner, who was seriously injured at a 2010 Coast Guard retirement ceremony on Staten Island. Brodie ruled Thursday that an exemption claimed by the government claimed does not apply in the suit by Kloner and his wife, Elizabeth, initially filed in 2013.

Kloner, a retired rear admiral of the New York Naval Militia and part-time Jewish chaplain for U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York, fell while trying to climb a stage with stairs that lacked a handrail in order to deliver a convocation at the ceremony at a private facility.

His plunge of more than 6 feet into an open orchestra pit put him in a coma for several weeks and caused multiple injuries. Since the accident, Kloner has required 24-hour nursing care and is “unable to perform basic activities of daily life without aid from several caretakers,” according to the ruling.

In 2015, the government pressed for summary judgment rather than a full trial, arguing that it should be exempt from liability under legislation that protects the government from certain claims by military employees.

Kloner was a civilian, but according to the government’s argument, he was acting in a military capacity at the time he fell, was wearing an official naval uniform and was performing services related to his contract with the Coast Guard.

Before the accident, Kroner also served as rabbi at Temple Beth Emeth V’ohr Progressive Shaari Zedek, a Reform congregation in Brooklyn.

According to the Staten Island Advance, Kroner served as the rabbi of the synagogue on New York’s Governors Island before the Coast Guard closed the base in 1996.

Dive In




    NY-12 Candidate Forum


    Aug 10, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    Will the last Jew left in New York’s congressional delegation be reelected? Will New York’s senior congresswoman receive another term? Or will one of the newcomers upend Manhattan politics?

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.