David Pollack, director of public policy and Jewish security at the Jewish Community Relations Council, in response to the recent attacks against chasidic men in Crown Heights, claims that authorities are having trouble “connecting the dots” (“Crown Hts. Attacks Have Leaders Searching For Answers,” Feb. 8). Only by connecting the dots, he says, can these attacks be eliminated.
Rabbi Eli Cohen, director of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council agrees. His plan is to go into schools and talk to the young people. Midwood Councilman Chaim Deutsch is drafting legislation aimed at finding the root cause of hate in an effort to uncover the motives behind these crimes. Councilman Mark Levine talks of creating an office for the prevention of hate crimes.
It appears that the worn-out, illusory idea that if more money is provided for a government commission to study, analyze and probe reasons and motives, the problem, whatever it may be, is in fact being addressed.
Most of us have already “connected the dots.” For most of us, particularly Jews, hate has long ago been defined. Definitions notwithstanding, however, the problem persists.
An Orthodox Jew walking home from shul is an easy target. Scapegoats serve a purpose. They become the repository of hate and misdirected anger. No commission is required to connect these dots.
Rabbi Cohen must understand that the solutions call for more than simply “talk.” As someone who has worked in the public schools (I am a retired guidance counselor), I smile at his suggestion. It takes more than talk; most kids will laugh, perhaps some will listen politely. Those who truly need to listen will simply laugh. The problems are deeply rooted, insidious, longstanding and complex.
Until parents are equipped to deal with the reality of drugs and violence within their homes and neighborhoods; until schools are willing and able to adequately address problems with meaningful intervention and begin to do so in early grades; and until the community takes responsibility, all the talk in the world, well-intended though it may be, is unlikely to change a thing.