Following a morning press conference by Public Advocate-Elect Tish James in Williamsburg, an additional diverse group of elected officials, black and Jewish leaders led a rally on the steps of Brooklyn’s Supreme Court Sunday to call for unity in the wake of recent alleged “knockout” attacks. Fred Kreizman of Mayor Bloomberg’s office was also in attendance.
“We witnessed a series of knockout game assaults, we witnessed the assault of a young man,” Brooklyn Borough President-elect Eric Adams opened. “We are here together to state it’s unacceptable. It doesn’t matter if we leave a synagogue on Shabbos or we leave a Baptist church on Sunday, we want to walk our streets in safety.”
Mr. Adams announced a $5,000 reward for whoever comes forward with information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who’s involved in the recent hate attacks.
“We condemn and repudiate all the acts of violence,” said Rabbi Michael Miller, CEO of New York’s Jewish Community Relations Council. “We will not be silent. We will constantly do everything that we can to ensure that acts of violence, such as these, will not happen.”
At the rally, Rabbi Moshe David Niederman said the Williamsburg community was working with cops to apprehend the suspects. “We are here to say: This is not acceptable – by anybody, for anybody – for whatever reason,” he said.
Rabbi Berish Freilich, representing Borough Park, said, “We have to stand united and work together in order for these types of actions not to happen.” He also suggested holding the Department of Education responsible to teach students in public schools how they have to act on the street and how to live together with other communities. \
Also speaking on behalf of the various sects within the Jewish community of Brooklyn were, Williamsburg community leaders Rabbi Abe Friedman and Rabbi Moshe Indig, and from Crown Heights – Rabbi Chanina Sperlin.
Councilman Jumaane Williams, a candidate for Speaker of the City Council, called for unity not only to condemn hate crime attacks but also to gather occasionally to break bread with each other, learn about each other’s culture in order to change the perception about the two communities and live together to keep Brooklyn safe and thriving as one.
“If we can’t have these conversations, then these meetings are meaningless,” he said. “We have to have honest discussion about what’s going on, about what people are feeling, or we will continue to be coming to this point.”
Speaking to reporters after the rally, Brooklyn Borough President-Elect Eric Adams also called upon Brooklyn residents and New Yorkers to assist local community safety patrols with contributions that would go towards keeping them safe. “I ask New Yorkers to buy one less holiday present, one less dinner at a fancy restaurant and put some money towards the communities’ block watch programs, sponsor a bullet proof vest or some gas for local safety patrols,” Mr. Adams said. “We are also safe because a large number of men and women have taken upon themselves to commit their private time to make us publicly safe.”
(Jacob Kornbluh – YWN)