Responding to the Chabad of Poway Attack

STATEN ISLAND -
At the press conference denouncing the attack at Chabad of Poway, at the main entrance of the Young Israel of Staten Island. (L-R): Assemblyman Charles Fall; COJO CEO and Executive Vice President Scott Maurer; Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon; COJO President Mendy Mirocznik; Chaplain Tahir Kukaj; NYPD PBSI Commanding Officer Chief Kenneth Corey and Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield, Young Israel of Staten Island.

Staten Islanders join the rest of Klal Yisrael in mourning the senseless attack on the Chabad of Poway.

On Thursday, May 2, Staten Island’s District Attorney, religious leaders, political representatives and officials took a stand against hate at a press conference in front of the Young Israel of Staten Island in Willowbrook.

“There is no room for hate in New York City,” said Chief Kenneth Corey, the borough commanding officer. “If you commit a hate crime in Staten Island we will investigate. We will find you, we will arrest you. You will be prosecuted to the full extent that the law allows.”

The way the four Staten Island precincts approach hate crimes effectively decreased hate crimes by 12.5% from 2017 to 2018, while New York City as a whole saw an 8% increase. In 2019, the number of hate crimes has kept skyrocketing in the city. New data released on Thursday by the NYPD indicates a 67% increase in hate crimes just in the first four months of 2019.

“We are saying clearly with one voice: Not on Staten Island. We will not tolerate hate crimes of any type,” said Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon.

The message sent on Thursday was strong and clear as religious leaders from different religious affiliations stood together.

“This is the beautiful part of this country,” said Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield.

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, president of the Staten Island Council of Jewish Organizations (COJO), said standing united is what makes today different than 76 years ago, a reference to the Holocaust that killed six million Jews. “Unlike 76 years ago, we are not going to tolerate it,” he said. Rabbi Mirocznik also said more and more people are reaching out to COJO sharing fear, concern and uncertainty.

Representatives from the mayor’s office, the JCC, the United Federation of Teachers and the city comptroller’s office also attended the press conference. District Attorney McMahon concluded the press conference by thanking COJO CEO and Executive Vice-President Scott Maurer, who also serves as the co-chair of the District Attorneys Hate Crimes Task Force, for coordinating and helping to organizing the press conference.

Mr. McMahon stated, “COJO’s leadership, partnership and relationship that it has with the broader communities of Staten Island and its ability to communicate effectively with them is the key in winning the war on hate. I thank Mr. Scott Maurer and Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik for working with my office around the clock in helping to constantly improve the quality of life on Staten Island.”

While the shooter wanted shuls to be a place of terror, Chabad Lubavitch of Staten Island has resolved to make everyone feel even more at home and uplifted in shul. They invite the community to a special JLI presentation, “Infusing the Synagogue and Prayer with Meaning” on Sunday, May 12, 10:00–11:30 a.m., at Chabad of Staten Island, 289 Harold Street, and on Tuesday, May 14, 7:30-9:00 p.m. at the JCC, 1466 Manor Road.

There is no charge, but RSVP would be appreciated at rabbimendy@chabadsi.com.