Rabbi Mayer Birnhack
He made too many house calls.
A rabbi and EMS chaplain who routinely phoned medics to wish them happy birthday was disciplined by the FDNY for accessing unauthorized personnel data.
Rabbi Mayer Birnhack, aka the "birthday rabbi," was suspended without pay for 15 days after ignoring orders from brass to stop looking at confidential employee files.
Birnhack got the mazel-toss in April after defying repeated instructions not to peek at birth dates, hire dates, retirement dates and other info that he culled so he could make his cheery congratulations calls.
The FDNY has gotten numerous complaints over the years from EMS members who don't appreciate Birnhack's intrusions into their personal lives.
"Nice guy, good intentions . . . but I'm a little uncomfortable with how much personal info he has access to . . . always seems to know more about where your career is in EMS than some of your supervisors," one EMT wrote on an online forum.
But hundreds of others were outraged to learn the FDNY had muzzled the mensch. A Facebook page created last week in his defense got more than 700 members in a matter of days.
"I recall the rabbi calling," one FDNY medic posted. "I thought it was an accident because I am Catholic. He introduced himself and went on to wish me a happy birthday . . . I asked a co-worker about him and everyone proceeded to say that Rabbi Birnhack was one of the few people on the job who actually cared."
Another EMT wrote: "My birthday is in a few weeks. I eagerly anticipate his annual call and kind voice. I know he has my number."
A phone-call campaign to FDNY headquarters and an online petition were also launched.
"Please just let the rabbi go back to doing what he has done so well for so many years," pleaded one EMT.
Birnhack refused to comment when reached at his Gravesend, Brooklyn, home.
The 45-year-old Orthodox rabbi has worked for EMS since 1988, when the Health and Hospitals Corp. ran the city's medical service.
Shortly after EMS merged with the FDNY in 1996, the EMT-trained rabbi was assigned to the counseling unit. He makes $50,433 annually as an EMS chaplain.
In a 2002 article published in a Jewish newspaper, Birnhack claimed a top chief told him he was "too Jewish," and complained that he wasn't allowed to officiate at agency events.
The rabbi declined to officially file a complaint, however, and his claims were never substantiated. The FDNY denied the allegations.