Local Pols Call for State Troopers, Brooklynites Show up to Stand with Jewish Neighbors

GRAND ARMY PLAZA — After the violent stabbing of five people in the home of a rabbi on Saturday night in Monsey, NY, Brooklyn politicians called for a state of emergency to be declared to protect Jewish residents in New York, as residents came together to celebrate the 8th night of Chanukah at Grand Army Plaza.

Saturday night, around 10 p.m, as rabbi Chaim Rottenberg and his guests were celebrating Chanukah, an intruder broke in with a large knife and wounded five people gathering to light candles on a menorah, the New York Times Reported. The suspect has since been apprehended.

Last night, despite the rain, neighbors of all backgrounds gathered at the Grand Army Plaza to light the last candle on Brooklyn’s largest menorah and condemn anti-Semitic violence.

“Well, we consider this a crisis,” Mayor Bill De Blasio said this morning on NPR’s Morning Edition. “Really there is a growing anti-Semitism problem in this whole country. It has taken a more and more violent form.” 

The mayor announced yesterday in a press release, that there will be intensified NYPD presence in key locations in the Jewish communities, with additional light towers to prevent attacks. He also proposed an effort to bring together community safety coalitions. The mayor also announced focusing on the education of young people, introducing an intensified curriculum focusing on anti-Semitism and the danger that is created by hate.

The governor directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate the stabbing.

The Anti-Defamation League released a statement yesterday saying, “We are committed to surging our joint resources to combat the growing spate of anti-Semitic attacks, particularly those taking place in New York State. New York has a growing problem. This is at least the 10th anti-Semitic incident to hit the New York area in just the last week. When will enough be enough?” 

This is one of many anti-Semitic crimes in New York in the past week, and the second one in Monsey since late November when an Orthodox Jewish man was beaten and stabbed as he walked to his synagogue.

We reported that hate crimes overall were up 64% in mid-2019 in NYC, and 60% of the total hate crimes were against Jewish people in neighborhoods that are home to many Orthodox Jews like Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Borough Park. According to NYPD reports, there were 166 hate crime complaints in NYC in the first three quarters of 2019. By comparison, there were 186 complaints for all of 2018.

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the menorah lighting for the last night of Hanukkah. Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. Sunday, December 29, 2019. Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

In response to the tragedy, local politicians wrote a letter to Governor Cuomo asking for more support and protection of the Jewish community.

Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein, State Senator Simcha Felder, and Councilmembers Chaim Deutsch and Kalman Yeger, who all represent heavily Jewish areas of Southern Brooklyn, wrote a letter to Governer Cuomo asking to appoint a special prosecutor for anti-Semitic violence and to deploy the New York State Police and New York National Guard to all Jewish neighborhoods and maintain a visible presence to combat the “slow-rolling pogrom.” 

“Outraged at Monsey attack tonight. Jews are being attacked EVERY SINGLE DAY, does no-one care?  Eichenstein wrote on the night of the attack. “Jewish neighborhoods need protection. It is a CRISIS.

“We’re calling for a state of emergency in New York. We need help from the State Police & the National Guard so that we can protect our constituents, Deutsch wrote in a tweet.  “Our communities are shaken. We have watched our neighbors beaten, stabbed, & gunned down. We don’t feel safe in our own homes.

“Government is failing in its obligation to provide for public safety. Here in New York City, it’s been evident for some time,Yeger said in a tweet. “Now in Rockland County, it’s become abundantly clear. It’s open season on Jews, aided and abetted by government inaction. It needs to end.

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the menorah lighting for the last night of Hanukkah. Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. Sunday, December 29, 2019. Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

“I’ll say it again. Those who commit hate crimes must face justice, but that’s not where our work ends. We need a comprehensive, holistic, all hands on deck approach,said Councilmember Mark Treyger in response to the events. “Hate crimes should be treated as other major serious crimes, with sustained resources and proactive programming.

“There absolutely must be a unanimous response, unequivocal, right now,“ wrote Councilmember Stephen Levin in response to the crime. “Anti-Semitism is hatred with deep roots-it’s poison can have no place in our society. It’s our obligation to address it head on.

“This is unimaginable pain and anxiety that my Jewish friends & neighbors are experiencing, particularly during Chanukah, wrote State Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie in response. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can, and I will use every light at my disposal to stand with the community to drive out this despicable hate.

Council Member Laurie Cumbo who represents Crown Heights has not issued a statement and has not responded to Bklyner’s inquiry for comment at the time of publication. Bklyner also reached out to NYC Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, but has not received a response at the time of publication.

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Irina Groushevaia

Irina Groushevaia

Irina Groushevaia is the Managing Editor and covers Bushwick, Williamsburg, and beyond. Questions & tips: Irina@bklyner.com

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