Honorable Gilbert Rabin
An exceptional man, sharp of mind, always generous with his time, expertise and attention, Gilbert always maintained a fundamental desire to be of real help to others. He worked tirelessly for fairness in the law and believed to his core that everyone deserved an equal chance at the promises our nation and our communities offer.
Judge Rabin was born in North Tarrytown, NY on June 10th, 1923 to Charles and Jeannette (Kalman) Rabin. He was a member of the 1941 graduating class of North Tarrytown High School. He attended City College before World War II began and answered his nation’s call in 1943.
Gilbert served as a Sergeant in the Signal Corps as US forces leapfrogged across the Pacific for more than three years, completing his tour in Osaka, Japan. He was awarded the Philippines Liberation Ribbon and Asiatic Pacific Service Medal for distinguished service and later served as First Lieutenant, Judge Advocate General Department, Reserves.
During the war, Gilbert and his future wife, Zita Lorraine Segall, began their romance through V-Mail correspondence and, upon his return from service, Gilbert married Zita on June 18, 1950 and began a love affair which lasted more than 66 years.
Judge Rabin earned his Juris Doctor, LLB and LLM degrees, Cum Laude, from New York University in 1948 and served as Decisions Editor for the NYU Law Review. Upon graduation, he immediately began trying cases in NYC, working at the firm of Sidney O. Raefield, a decade at his own NYC firm, Rabin and Green, followed by establishing his own law practice in 1966 on McLean Avenue in Yonkers, NY.
“The Judge”, as he became affectionately known by everyone, was elected as a City Justice in 1969 serving in that office for 12 years. In 1982, he was sworn in as a Yonkers City Court Judge. Unfalteringly diligent and fair-minded, he continually received endorsements from all political parties until his retirement as Chief Judge of the Yonkers City Court in 1993. His retirement was short lived when in 1993 he was appointed as a Judicial Hearing Officer in the Westchester County Supreme Court, an appointment which continued each year until 2019, when he retired from the bench. The Judge wore many hats but was best known for overseeing jury selection for Ninth Judicial District. Rabin’s Rules for Jury Selection are used in courts around the State of New York and have widely become the model for the jury selection process. His daily speeches to groups of prospective jurors were poignant, profound, inspiring, and often humorous.
Gil was a longtime member of the NYS Bar Association, the Yonkers Lawyers Association,Westchester County Bar Association, and served as its Ethics Chair in the last decade. Gil received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Mercy College. He was admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court, Southern and Eastern Districts. Gil served on many committees and had many roles during his long career, including the Board of Immigration and Appeals, US Treasury Department; Committee of Law Reform, Bronx County Bar Association; Special Assistant Attorney General, Election Frauds Bureau; Special Referee, Supreme Court, State of New York; Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association; Pace University School of Law, Moot Court Judge; Faculty of Judicial Seminars in NYS. Early in his career, he worked tirelessly for the United Givers Fund, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and UJA, all in various capacities.
With his beloved wife, Zita, and lifelong friends Rochelle and Norman Kessler, Judge Rabin co-founded the charitable organization, CHEAR, Inc. (Children’s Hearing Education and Research) to raise awareness for the hearing impaired and nerve deafness research. Their indefatigable efforts created the first NYS deaf relay service allowing hearing impaired individuals to communicate by telephone and contributed substantially to many other developments in deafness research.
Judge Rabin was a devoted member of the Lincoln Park Jewish Center Community in Yonkers. He served as President of the Synagogue and began an annual tradition of celebrating the legal profession at a Lawyer’s Sabbath, shining a proud light on how Lawyers and Judges of all faiths contribute to our Westchester community.
Gil loved going to Yankee Games with his children and grandchildren, and he was honored as the “Veteran of the Game” by both the Yankees and Mets in recent years. He was always in the audience cheering for his grandson, Abraham, watching him perform in school and community productions. Even nearing his 99th birthday, he could still beat Corey at Gin Rummy!
Judge Rabin is survived by his three adoring children, Dr. Jill M. Rabin (Barbara), Corey B. Rabin, Esq, (Nancy) and Marni Rabin-Marron (Thomas), their four grandchildren Erick Rabin, Casey Rabin-Feldman (Andrew), Aaron Rabin, and Abraham Marron, his loving nieces and nephews, as well as his sisters-in-law, Audrey Segall and Doris Rabin. Gil was predeceased by his wife, Zita in 2016. Our family is grateful for the angelic care provided to him by his caregivers in recent months, with special thanks to Joan Parris who was with him since Zita’s passing.
We are saddened by our loss but are grateful for all of the gifts Gil provided to us–his wisdom, support, perspective, insight and love. For now there are tears, later there will be fond rememberings. May his memory be for a blessing.
Funeral Services will be held at Riverside Memorial Chapel, 21 W. Broad Street, Mt. Vernon, N.Y. 10552 on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 9:30 am. Interment will follow at Temple Israel Cemetery in Hastings on Hudson, NY. Shiva will be observed at the Rabin home in Yonkers, NY. Family members wish to thank all their good friends for their loving expressions of sympathy. If you would like to make a gift in Judge Rabin’s memory and in lieu of flowers, please direct donations to UJA Federation of New York, 6900 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 302, Syosset, NY 11791, ujafedny.org.