In a show of interfaith unity, faith leaders from across the city gathered on the steps of City Hall Tuesday afternoon to call for security funding for houses of worship. Organized by Councilman Chaim Deutsch, the rally was attended by dozens of community members and activists representing a variety of ethnicities and religious backgrounds.
“In the wake of tragedies in Poway, Pittsburgh, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka, it is clear that our houses of worship are vulnerable to threats,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch. “New Yorkers of faith deserve to be safe as they worship – it’s as simple as that. Houses of worship need a layer of protection to keep congregants safe, such as an armed guard. Every time a tragedy occurs, every City and State leader rushes to the nearest house of worship to extend thoughts and prayers to the victims – but where will these leaders be NOW, as we ask them to step up proactively and fund security?”
Councilman Kalman Yeger, who this week is introducing a bill calling for armed security guards at houses of worship, also participated in the rally. He said, “Government has certain very basic obligations. The most predominant of all is to keep its citizenry safe. We have to know we will be protected in our houses of worship, in our sanctuaries of peace. We have seen synagogues, churches and mosques under attack all over the world, in the United States, and here in New York. We know that the Mayor cares deeply about our security. Our bill will allow any house of worship to hire a private security guard, submit for reimbursement, and have the City pay the bill. This is our City and our money, and safety in our houses of worship is our most fundamental right.”
Also in attendance were Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, Councilman Ruben Diaz, Sr., Councilman Mathieu Eugene, and Councilmember Mark Treyger. Community and faith leaders in attendance included Father Myles Murphy pastor of the parish of Our Lady of Victory and St. Andrews in Lower Manhattan; Rabbi David Zweibel, executive Vice President of Agudath Israel of America; Eric Goldstein, CEO of the UJA Federation of New York; Michael Miller, CEO and executive Vice President of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York; Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt of the Park East Synagogue; Kashif Hussain, Muslim community leader and founder of the Pakistani American Youth Society; Lt. Adeel Rana, president of the NYPD Muslim Officer’s Society; Rabbi Joseph Potasnik – executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis; Josh Mehlman, Chaskel Bennett, Leon Goldenberg, and Shimon Lefkowitz of the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition; Devorah Halberstam, Director of External Affairs at the Jewish Children’s Museum; Joseph Rosenberg, executive director of the Catholic Community Relations Council; Rabbi Eli Cohen and Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council; Linda Sidaka of Moms on a Mitzvah; Avi Krakauer, assistant executive director of the JCC Marine Park; Avi Greenstein, director of the Boro Park JCC; Mark Meyer Appel, founder of The Bridge Multicultural Center; Maury Litwack, Chief of Staff of the Orthodox Union; Faye Zakheim, co-Chair of the United Task Force; Rabbi Pinchus Hecht of Mirrer Yeshiva; and Jacob Abadi, representing Bnos Leah Prospect Park Yeshiva and Yeshivat Darchei Eres.
Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel Executive VP @agudahnews addressing press conference called by Councilman @ChaimDeutsch w Councilman @kalmanyeger calling on @nycmayor @billdeblasio to provide security funding for houses of worship. Also attending @ysilber and @chaskelbennett. pic.twitter.com/Os1QAE75OU
— Agudath Israel of America (@AgudahNews) May 7, 2019
Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt, Park East Synagogue speaking on the steps of City Hall, alongside NYC faith leaders, calling for security funding for houses of worship. Thank you @ChaimDeutsch @KalmanYeger for your leadership and unifying faith leaders on this issue. pic.twitter.com/6Z2htN4Wes
— Yehuda Friedman (@YehudaJFriedman) May 7, 2019
— UJA-Federation of NY (@UJAfedNY) May 7, 2019
— Laurie Cumbo (@cmlauriecumbo) May 7, 2019
Proud to join @ChaimDeutsch & @KalmanYeger on the steps of NYC Hall to ask @NYCMayor for security funding for Houses of Worship. Religious leaders from across the City speak with one voice at this critical moment in history. We must protect our communities. The threat is real. pic.twitter.com/8LdU2NQnF2
— Chaskel Bennett (@ChaskelBennett) May 7, 2019
City leaders always turn to Houses of Worship during crises big and small.
Now, as Houses of Worship in NYC and across the world experience their own time of need, we must be there for them as they always have for us.
We need to fund security measures for houses of worship. pic.twitter.com/lVBdpCyNxt
— Mark Treyger (@MarkTreyger718) May 7, 2019
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