Black Jew Wants To Help Divided Crown Heights


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yosef.jpgCBS2 reports: A 16-year-old teenager is hoping to help improve relations between Orthodox Jews and blacks in his Brooklyn community by trading on what makes him a curiosity to both: He is black and a Hasidic Jew.

Yosef Abrahamson got a chance—at least symbolically—when he was made commanding officer of a Crown Heights police precinct on Tuesday. He joined 120 other city teens for the one-day-only recognition. Abrahamson says he is willing to do anything to help the two communities.

“There’s a lot of trouble in my community,” the teen, who wears the distinctive black suit and fedora of the Chabad Lubavitch Orthodox Jews, told the NY Daily News.

“But I’m willing to do anything to help,” he said.

Yosef won an essay competition for the honor of being named the top cop of the 71st Precinct.

According to the NY Daily News, Yosef arrived last year from Nebraska, where he was home-schooled by his mother, Dinah Abrahamson – the daughter of a Jewish woman who fled Nazi Germany and an African-American father.

Yosef was subjected to sharp comments about his mixed heritage. Some Jews have told him he doesn’t fit in and some African-Americans have warned him that his schooling is turning “him into a Jew.”

But for the most part, “People have been very welcoming of us,” said the boy’s mother.

“I hope I can make some difference,” he said. “Things have to change.”

(Source: WCBSTV / NY Daily News / Photo: Maisel for Daily News)


  1. A sweet boy with noble intentions. The reality is that the police have to stop releasing the blacks after catching them so that it can continue on to court. The real perpratrators heretofore have been none other than the police themselves. Hopefully they will stop this despicable practice.

  2. His grandmother was Jewish, which makes his mother and himself Jewish, so comments made to him about his “turning into a Jew” are senseless. Since he is already a Jew from birth is a credit to him that he accepts it and keeps the mitzvos. As for his “fitting in” does that refer to the black or Jewish community? He is Jewish so he fits in to the Jewish community, what’s the question?

  3. I hope Yosef gets to see this, he sounds like a wonderful young man! May he continue to go from strength to strength.

  4. We’re proud to have the Abrahamsons as personal friends. They are an incredibly talented & capable family with all the right values. Yosef is a credit not only to his mother but to his Yeshiva, Darchei Menachem, & the entire community.

    Great job, Yosef!!

  5. #2 Maybe try explaining that to a Black person

    They say the same thing of a kid with 1 black parent and 1 white parent they call them oreo black on the outside and white on the inside. And these “oreos” dont have an easy time they are always being told that they are too “white” even if their skin is dark.

  6. Kudos to Yosef.

    I caution him to have a strong
    Jew as his guide in this effort, perferrably a Jew of Color, i.e. Rabbi Frances.

    He may encounter jealousy and an attempt to have the color card played against him in an effort to divide him in two.

    African-Americans do not like other African-Americans who are different. It is called the “crabs in a basket” syndrome. Crabs in a basket pull down any crab who is trying to get out.

    To Americans, Jews have white-skin not dark-skin so it is difficult for non-Jews & Jews to believe you are a Jew. Jews are the Chosen People. Chosen is not a word Americans associate with African-Americans.

    African-American is a description of skin-color however, Americans treat it differently. What I am trying to say is that no one would tell Russians, Germans, Italians, British, Irish, & Greeks that you are all the same and must behave the same and have the same likes & dislikes because you have white-skin however, in America that is the message to African-Americans. Sammy Sosa and Tiger Woods are great examples of African-Americans who do not embrace the “African-American” mindset and “culture”.

    I wish Yosef much success. He must walk with ‘H in the same manner as King David. King David always asked ‘H for advice and guidance. He must always ask ‘H to reveal that which is hidden from him.

    May ‘H protect Yosef from all evil.

    P.S. Yosef must touch-base with the Beis Din of Crown Heights to find out what topics and/or events he is permitted to discuss with his non-Jewish neighbors.

  7. Nice story and 7, thanks for the link.
    If anyone from Darchai Menachem is following this thread, I hope my suggestion will be taken in the spirit in which it is intended:
    You will be getting a LOT of traffic over the next little while. You may want to spend some time proofreading and getting your website, and Yosef’s essay, as professionally cleaned up as possible.

  8. CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn [CHI] — In the wake of resent attacks on our community, Officer Vinie Martinos of the 71st Precinct Community Policing Unit, turned to the Jewish community for their input in the Police Athletic League essay competition. The competition is open to all the public and private high schools around the entire New York City.

    Entitled: if you were police commissioner for a day, what steps would you take to reduce violent crime and protect all new yorkers? Yosef Abrahamson a student at Darchai Menachem took on the challenge.

    Yesterday, Tuesday, Yosef essay was one of the essays picked. We have obtained a copy of his Essay. It is a must read, even from the mouth of a 16 year old, his words and message is strong and clear.

    If I Were Police Commissioner For A Day
    By Yosef Abrahamson age 16

    To reduce crime and protect all New Yorkers if I were Police Commissioner for one day, I would take the approach of the Big Picture scheme, what policy I institute today will in the long run consistently applied is going to create a society free of crime.

    Effective immediately I would put forth a statewide order to begin a policy of Pro-Active Policing, rather than Community Policing, Pro-Active Policing pays attention to the lesser crimes and makes them just as important as the more violent crimes, treating them as though they were the larger more serious, visible crimes, so that those who commit petty crime don’t get away with the small stuff – breaking and entering, car theft, petty robbery, loud car radios, rowdy disorderly teenagers, panhandling, loud mufflers, running yellow lights, etc. Ticket them, tow them, arrest them – – because if you ignore them in the name of spending all the resources fighting crime like murder, etc, the group of criminals gets bigger and better and moves from small, ignored crime to all the bigger and more serious crime. It is not mean spirited or harsh – – we need to pay more attention to the people who are law abiding and want to be safe and respectful, instead of coddling the law breakers, being community policers, saying to these petty law breakers that we want them to listen to us, behave and be nice and don’t do that again, and now run along, – – – and they keep breaking the law, because they feel that they can get away with it. Community Policing is the reason we have such an increase in violent crime, because we let the base of the number of petty criminals grow unchecked. Jail works. Law and Order must be firm, clear and the penalty for doing crime, swift and certain. Most crime is thought crime – – it is planned, so society must assert a planned penalty.

    I would hold meetings with my Deputy Commissioners, Bureau Chiefs, Patrol Borough Commanders, and Precinct Commanders reviewing our selection, training and supervision of our officers, discussing ways of making sure they have a clear sense of their authority and that along with questioning, apprehending and arresting perpetrators it includes regulating behavior, protecting communities and individuals, pointing out a few bad incidents have happened , however reassuring them they ultimately are the keys to law and order, and in most cases their presence really gives a feeling of safety. On the agenda would be a review of the placements of high tech surveillance equipment in areas, making sure we have no gaps.

    I would round up the day with a meeting with the press to release the events of the day, and to send a strong message assuring the citizens and visitors of New York we will live in a just, safe, and civilized community and to send an even stronger message to inform all those that break laws we will immediately began a motivated agenda and unless they correct their behavior they will definitely be going to jail.

  9. Great story. Way to go Yosef! You’re a credit to klal Yisrael.

    #6: Does that mean Obama is an Oreo too? (They seem to have ignored the fact that he’s only half Black.) Boruch Hashem, it’s not that way with us. If your mom’s Jewish and her mom is Jewish then you’re Jewish. It’s as simple as that. No halfs, no quarters, just 100% Jewish.

  10. yasher koyach to yosef..I seriously doubt that any black guy who’d do something violent(emphasis on ‘who would do something violent’ since there are many who wouldn’t) would take what he says to heart – to a violent or hateful person, he appears a traitor or outsider.

  11. Bruv As a mixed race bruver like yourself Im proud that you are doing the right thing, not many people of your age or older would do what you are doing by bringing peace to your community! G-d was to look upon you now I think he would be happy that you are doing good! So my bruver keep up the good work, I m not a Jew but a Christian and I admire what your mother has done in raising you up and educating you, and you have especially out done your class, but be humble in everything you do! and hopefully one day this will be a thing of the past, I have much love for my Jewish friends and envy them a bit that they our Gods chosen people, but I respect them and love them very much an im glad you can hopefully bring them together in unity with our black community! Respect to you my bruver and if you ever come to United Kingdom give me a shout, it will be a honour to meet you!

    From Richard