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Statement From Mayor Of Los Angeles Regarding Kol Nidrei Incident At Yeshivas Yavneh

LAYomKippur57682.jpg(In regards to the story reported HERE on YW:) Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilmembers Jack Weiss and Tom LaBonge issued the following statement regarding the incident at Yavneh Academy during last week’s Kol Nidre services:

“On Friday evening, two inspectors from the Department of Building and Safety conducted an outrageous intrusion into the Yavneh Academy as worshippers were observing the beginning of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. The inspectors disrupted the services and caused great pain and anguish to the hundreds of people who had assembled for an evening of solemn prayer.

“For the government to intrude in this manner on a religious observance is offensive to our most basic and cherished principles. We extend sincere apologies to the hundreds of members of the Yavneh family who understandably feel that their basic rights and freedoms were callously violated.

“This incident has no place in our City and we will do everything in our power to ensure that the right to worship is preserved for people of all faiths.

“Upon learning of the incident, we convened a meeting of City officials, Jewish community leaders and Yavneh administrators, board members and parents to reassure them that this episode would not go unanswered. “We ordered an immediate investigation into Friday’s event and the policies and procedures allowing the Department of Building and Safety to respond to this complaint in the midst of a solemn religious observance.

“Schools like Yavneh Academy exemplify the values of educational excellence, good citizenship and moral leadership, and students, parents, teachers and administrators deserve nothing less than our sincere appreciation for their ongoing contributions to the broader Los Angeles community.

“In a City defined by diversity and shaped by the belief in a brighter future, we must recognize the contributions of every community; re-dedicate ourselves to building bridges of understanding and tolerance; and reiterate our commitment to the freedom of every resident to practice their faith without fear of interruption or persecution.

“We are also developing cultural sensitivity training to foster tolerance within Department of Building and Safety and educate employees on the history of racism, hatred and bigotry worldwide.

“We are committed to making sure that an incident like this one never repeats itself.”

14 Responses

  1. Why have no heads rolled yet? Do we need a Yiddishe Groise Pisk to start an Imus response?
    BTW what type of Shul is this? Where did they finsh davening?

  2. As a Los Angeles resident, I can tell you that this was not an isolated action of one or two individuals or a “miscommunication”. This was a well planned act against the Jewish community.

    A little background here.

    There has been a 10 year battle between the Hancock Park Homeowners Association and local Jewish institutions. The HPHA, run by local WASPs (with a few self-hating Jews on board) mask their activities of anti-semitism by saying that they just wish to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood.

    Here is the integrity that they wish to preserve. The deed of my house in Hancock Park, dated in 1922, reads that the house cannot be sold to “Negroes, Indians or Jews”. This is the integrity that the HPHA wishes to preserve…a judenrhein neighborhood.

    The HPHA is well funded and well connected. Their head is the president of the Los Angeles Planning Commission. They have many wealthy members who have outwardly expressed antagonism towards orthodox Jews.

    The local city councilman, Tom LaBonge, is well supported by the HPHA. He has given more grief to local mosdos than any other city councilman in Los Angeles history. When the outrage over this incident became apparent, LaBonge self-servingly expressed that he knew nothing about it in advance and (like O.J. Simpson) would find out who was responsible for this action.

    The above comments are correct. In any other ethnic setting, this would have been front page news. Heads would be rolling, and so would cameras. But, alas, it’s only about Jews.

    It is up to us to make this front page news. I can assure you that in a couple of days, when we are all engrossed in our heilige yom tov, the city will find a couple of low level scapegoats and declare that the matter is over.

    We cannot allow this to happen. LaBonge and his supporters have pulled off events like this in the past. This time it caught up with them. Outrage, in the form of e-mails, phone calls and letters should pour into LaBonge’s office, letting him know that Jews around the country are watching his every move. He will still be an anti-semite, just a less outspoken one.

    Mayor Villaraigosa needs to know that the united Jewish community will not be satisfied with weak apologies. Firm action and future assurances that Jewish mosdos may operate without fear are needed.

    I would like to thank those who have supported this effort.

  3. Let’s remember there WAS some sort of violation involved here. Granted, some “lower-downs” (as opposed to “higher-ups”) did not use their heads. Typically subordinates just know how to follow orders and not how to make spur-of-the-moment judgments or to make exceptions when necessary. As far as anyone knows at this point, the only crime the city is guilty of is stupidity and not some deep-rooted anti-Semitic agenda.

    The school, on the other hand, should have made sure all THEIR i’s were doted and t’s crossed.

    The city’s ACTION was “by-the-book” albeit insensitive, untimely, and poorly thought out. Their RE-action was understanding, quick, and to-the-point.

  4. How many times has midnight mass in the area been raided by the police? Cancel midnight mass in December and we’ll call it even.

  5. The school, on the other hand, should have made sure all THEIR i’s were doted and t’s crossed.

    What, exactly, do you think they should have done? Held kol nidrei an hour earlier? Not held kol nidrei at all?

  6. We are Jews. Our word is supposed to mean something. When we promise our neighbors that we will finish before 8PM, we should keep our word, or accept the consequences. Shame on Yavneh Academy. What kind of example are we teaching our children?

  7. How did they ever get a city employee to work at night! How does the “governator” weigh in on this or is he not to be bothered by such “trivialities”

  8. Melech, how can kol nidrei finish by 8pm? Every shabbos they finish by 8pm, by starting early, but on yom kippur?

    We’re teaching our children that we are not powerless in the world, and that we have a right and a duty to disobey unjust laws.

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