Edited by: TJVNews.com
On January 16, 2022, Mendy Mirocznik, president, Staten Island Council of Jewish Organizations joined Inspector Bruce Ceperano, commanding officer, Pct.121, together with Sgt. Vasile Dubovici, Officer Vito Ingrassia, Officer Anthony Solitario, Officer Vincenzo Trabolse and Community Affairs Officer John Sibal on visiting several Synagogues in Staten Island. Besides the ordinary routine patrols by NYPD in checking up on houses of worship and community organizations, these extra patrols and Synagogue visits by NYPD was the result of the January 15, 2022, incident at Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, Texas when a gunman disrupted religious services, held five people including the rabbi hostage, and began a standoff with police that lasted for more than ten hours. Thanks to the efforts of law enforcement, all the hostages were safely released on Saturday night.
Mendy Mirocznik, remarked that,“[a]fter visiting several Staten Island Synagogues, I am proud to say that I witnessed firsthand and am proud to report that the NYPD is diligent and that they truly care about the community. We are fortunate to live in a city and have a great police department with dedicated police officers who truly are devoted and consider public safety their number one priority. Sadly, antisemitic incidents and hate crimes appear to be on the rise. We at COJO appreciate the efforts of the NYPD especially in light after Johnathan A. Greenblatt, the CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), called for vigilance in securing synagogues and Jewish institutions across the United States following the hostage situation in Texas.
As Greenblatt remarked, “[t]his situation is a painful reminder of the fact that synagogues in America continue to be at risk for terrorist attacks,” and he added that the organization urged “continued vigilance in securing synagogues and all Jewish institutions.” “The risks remain high in light of the historic level of antisemitism across the country and the proliferation of anti-Jewish hate online,” he said.
Mirocznik added, “COJO’s partnership with the NYPD is rock solid. I truly appreciated the warm heartfelt reassurances of the NYPD that they take the threat to public safety serious and are there for us in our time of need.
Yesterday before the conclusion of the Shabbat, the NYPD began to beef up monitoring the Borough’s Synagogues by placing police cars outside watching them. It was meaningful to me to receive a phone call from Inspector Ceparano who advised me, “we are taking all necessary precautions and want to advise COJO that I am just a phone call away,” and then the Inspector invited me to join him as he, “personally will be accompanying the officers as they watch and protect the Staten Island Synagogues.” This truly is leadership by example, when a high-ranking police officer, a precinct commander takes the lead and invites the community leadership to observe first hand. I dare say the actions of Inspector Ceparano helps to fortify community trust and COJO is proud to be part of this important bonding experience.”
Inspector Ceparano remarked, “that dealing with COJO is a pleasure. Their leadership team, Mendy Mirocznik, Scott Maurer, Ari Weiss and Iva Reuven are always available. They are just a phone call away and a pleasure to work with. It is just natural to utilize this relationship when advising the community that the NYPD cares and is ready, able and prepared to take all steps in relieving any security threat they face as a community. This partnership is crucial to the NYPD and by disseminating helpful information we calm the public knowing the NYPD is there to help.”
Rabbi Aharon Zeev, Spiritual Leader of the Aur Torah Sephardic Minyan took time from his schedule and joined up with the NYPD and to thank them for their “Heroic actions.” Rabbi Zeev added, that the best deterrent is when the potential wrong doers and copycats understand that the NYPD means business and will apprehend them if a hate crime occurs. Facing accountability keeps many away from toying with the idea of engaging in criminal actions.
As a Staten Island Rabbi, I thank COJO for working hand in hand with the NYPD. I thank Inspector Ceparano and his wonderful officers for accepting the extra burden of policing caused by the reality we currently face. But these extra actions do not go unnoticed, they are appreciated and it helps me as a Rabbi relay to my colleagues and congregants that our safety is in the good hands of the NYPD and because of them we will get through this ordeal safely.”