The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud HaRabbonim, with a membership of over 950 Orthodox Rabbis across the United States – extends its appreciation to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo on condemning the anti-Semitic writing on the Jewish Children’s Museum located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. The statement, “Hitler is Coming,” was drawn on the museum’s large mural for good resolutions.
Governor Cuomo stated, “I am disgusted by the anti-Semitic message scrawled in front of the Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights, Brooklyn….We have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, discrimination or hate of any kind in New York, and no person should ever feel threatened because of their religious beliefs.”
Cuomo added, “I have visited this great museum, built in honor of Ari Halberstam who was tragically killed in an anti-Semitic terror attack on the Brooklyn Bridge, after it received threats in the past. It’s all more distressing for this institution built to bring together children of all faiths and backgrounds to foster tolerance to be targeted.”
Cuomo emphasized that, “In the wake of a rise in anti-Semitic and other hate crimes in our nation, it is more important than ever that we stand united to condemn these despicable acts of violence and root out hate in all its forms…To ensure those responsible for this heinous act are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, I am directing the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to immediately provide the NYPD with any resources needed to assist in the investigation of this incident. Now and always, there is no place for hate in our state.”
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “On behalf of our member rabbis, we applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo’s condemnation of the anti-Semitic scrawling on the Jewish Children’s Museum large mural for good resolutions. It takes leadership, courage and a determination to do what is right to defeat the epidemic and scourge of anti-Semitism, hate and bigotry plaguing our nation. Governor Cuomo leads by example and has these three attributes. We applaud the Governor for taking a strong stand on combating anti-Semitism, hate and bigotry, and pray that the Almighty grant Governor Cuomo the ability to make this world a better place through the complete eradication of anti-Semitism, hate and bigotry.”
In a related development, less than a week after hate speech was written on a yeshiva wall in Meiers Corners, nearly 100 Staten Islanders, including religious and community leaders, gathered at a unity rally recently to denounce hate and encourage peace and kindness.
The unity rally was organized by Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon and his Hate Crimes Task Force which is Co-Chaired by Scott Maurer, the CEO and Executive Vice-President of the Staten Island Council of Jewish Organizations. The press-conference was held at the Chabad of Staten Island.
The graffiti was discovered on the side of the building on the eve of Lag B’Omer, a Jewish holiday celebrating unity and freedom from persecution.
The words, “Synagogue of Satan,” were written on the Chabad of Staten Island, while across the street, the letters “SOS” were written on the Yeshiva Zichron Paltiel of Staten Island, referencing the aforementioned phrase.
Residents and members of the Jewish community were joined by local elected officials, NYPD Assistant Chief Kenneth Corey, borough commander of Staten Island, and the Staten Island Hate Crimes Task Force.
Rabbi Moshe Katzman told the crowd that when he first learned of the graffiti on the Thursday morning of Lag B’Omer, he wanted to keep the vandalism quiet, and not make it a big deal. After people started to reach out to him, and photos of the hate speech began to appear on social media, he made the decision to use this hateful crime as a way to spread kindness.
“Every act of evil, we need to redouble our acts of kindness,” Rabbi Moshe Katzman said. “And this is the only way we can continue in life. “Rep. Max Rose, District Attorney Michael McMahon, Borough President James Oddo, Assemblymembers Michael Cusick, Nicole Malliotakis, and Michael Reilly, and Councilmembers Joseph Borelli and Steve Matteo, spoke at the unity rally as well as COJO CEO and Executive Vice-President Scott Maurer to encourage kindness and push back against hate.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, president of the Staten Island Council of Jewish Organization thanked District Attorney Michael McMahon for putting together this important press-conference. “In these trying times the key is communication and confidence building.” Mirocznik added, “We at COJO value the direct line of communication that we have with District Attorney McMahon, Chief Kenneth Corey and members of the broader Staten Island community. We at COJO appreciate that both District Attorney McMahon and Chief Corey are taking a strong vigilant stand against hate and anti-Semitism and these measures are giving the residents of Staten Island the fortitude and courage not to surrender to fear and hate. ”
He added: “May He who makes peace in Heaven make peace on earth. We pray that the world should no longer know of the evil of anti-Semitism, hate and bigotry.”