An advocate for people in need.
Growing up in Czernovitz, a city in Ukraine, Inna Vernikov did not experience anti-Semitism herself, but she heard stories of family members who had.
That, she says, sensitized her to the position of Jews — and other victims of discrimination.
She decided to become a lawyer. If someone needed help, “I wanted to do something about it.”
A recent graduate of the Florida Coastal School of Law, and a resident of Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay neighborhood, Vernikov interned with Brooklyn’s District Attorney while studying in college.
Over the years she’s established a Jewish women’s study group, volunteered as a matchmaker with the Rajemate organization that serves the Russian-speaking community, and, as president of her law school’s Jewish Law Student Association, invited filmmaker-human rights attorney Brooke Goldstein to campus to speak about the recruitment of Palestinian children as suicide bombers.
The school’s Muslim Law Student Association objected; Vernikov prevailed; the speech drew a SRO crowd. “I learned a lot,” she said — never give up, stick to your principles.
Vernikov discovered 18 months ago that the commencement of her law school class was set for a Saturday. Sabbath-observant, she lobbied to have the date changed. The administration resisted — it’s always on a Saturday, they told her. She kept pressing.
Vernikov graduated a few weeks ago — on a Sunday.
No Fan of ‘Dolls’: Alerted that the Lifeline network was airing a “Russian Dolls” reality show about emigrés in Brighton Beach two years ago, Vernikov tuned in. Then she wrote an op-ed for the Forward, in which she called the program “an embarrassment and an offense to Russian Jews.” Some readers applauded her article, others said she was overreacting. Dugout duty: An active member of Baruch College’s Hillel chapter, she was chosen to present a Hillel T-shirt to Shawn Green in 2004, after the ex-Mets outfielder declined to play on Yom Kippur.
The Jewish Week feels comments create a valuable conversation and wants to feature your thoughts on our website. To make everyone feel welcome, we won't publish comments that are profane, irrelevant, promotional or make personal attacks.
Recent Special Sections