Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to spread the message of respect for the Jewish communities, so that all communities will be safe and protected, he told BoroPark24 this morning. The mayor made his comments after being asked about people who came to Boro Park a few weeks ago to try to scare adults and children, and a recent increase in anti-Semitic graffiti that has been seen in Brooklyn.
Although the mayor acknowledged that “a police presence is needed,” the mayor also emphasized that he wanted to also bring more education to New York City public schools about “the Jewish community and Jewish history.”
“One of the things we started to do before the pandemic is to go deep within the school system,” the mayor said, “and do education about the Holocaust, about the Jewish community, Jewish history, and other communities that have suffered discrimination.
“We have to get back to that. It is something that we can focus on again when we turn the page on the coronavirus.”
Although Mayor de Blasio said that he has met many Holocaust survivors in Brooklyn, he remembered “a realization on top of everything else that I had always known” when he had been invited, along with his family, to the Shabbos dinner table of Dov Hikind, who served for 35 years as the New York State Assemblyman for Brooklyn’s Assembly District 48.
“On a very human level, I often talk about a very painful moment I experienced,” when Assemblyman Hikind’s mother rolled up her sleeve, and the numbers from Auschwitz were there on her arm.
“My children saw that, and it was really affected to them.”
Although the mayor then said, “When someone scrawls a swastika on a yeshiva in the year 2020, whatever that person is thinking, they don’t for a second understand what that symbol fully means.” Notwithstanding the mayor’s opinion. the Jewish community, of course, worries that the person completely understands the meaning of that symbol.
“The horror of the Holocaust and the fact that people right now, in our city, lived through that, when they see that swastika what horrible pain that causes them and the memory of those they lost that surges through them,” said the mayor, perhaps not realizing that the symbol triggers not just bad memories, but current fears.
“This is not ancient history,” Mayor de Blasio said. “This is the history we are living with right this moment all over the world.
“We have a lot to do. We have been doing a lot. There is no question we have a lot to do.”