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How the next DA will fight hate crimes • Graffiti attack at Staten Island Chabad • Anti-hate rallies in Queens, Long Island
Daily Update

How the next DA will fight hate crimes • Graffiti attack at Staten Island Chabad • Anti-hate rallies in Queens, Long Island

Hadassah CEO Janice Weinman (second from left) and Hadassah supporters at the Rally for Israel at the World Trade Center in New York City on Sunday, May 23. (Courtesy)
Hadassah CEO Janice Weinman (second from left) and Hadassah supporters at the Rally for Israel at the World Trade Center in New York City on Sunday, May 23. (Courtesy)


Eight candidates for Manhattan District Attorney discussed their approach to fighting hate crimes in a forum Tuesday night. 

The ACLU’s Udi Ofer moderated the forum sponsored by the New York Jewish Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform, asking the candidates if they supported criminal enhancements that would increase the prison sentences for those accused of hate crimes.

Only state Assemblyman Dan Quart (D-Manhattan) unequivocally ruled out enhancements, although many of the others seemed hesitant to endorse hate crimes “bump-ups” at a time when progressive groups like the Jewish Coalition are demanding sentencing reform.

Like nearly all of the candidates, Quart said his approach to fighting hate crimes would include education and restorative justice.

Point: ”Increased incarceration is not going to change conduct,” said Quart. “And there are the tools within the district attorney’s office to prosecute people for misdemeanor assault and felony assault, and those tools are sufficient enough.”

Counterpoint: “What makes the hate crime different from an ordinary crime is that when a hate crime occurs, it’s not just one person who is on the receiving end of the shove, or the punch, or the act of vandalism, but an entire community,” said former federal prosecutor Tali Farhadian Weinstein. “That’s why I think we need to name it, and to treat it differently from an ordinary crime. Now, that doesn’t mean that we have to choose between a more vigorous response and getting at some of the underlying causes and I think that we need to do both.”

Watch the whole thing here.

Seven candidates for New York City comptroller said they would not support the Israel boycott or divest the city’s pension funds from Israeli companies.

The candidates outlined their plans for the city’s recovery during a virtual forum Monday night sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York and other nonprofits. Shira Hanau reports.

The Hate Crimes Spike

Mayor de Blasio denounced a graffiti attack on the Chabad of Staten Island. Earlier this week, a vandal scrawled the words “LIFE IS WAR” in red spray paint on the building in Meiers Corners.

“That incident is unacceptable,” de Blasio said at a press conference Tuesday. “It’s being investigated right now as a presumed hate crime. Anyone who commits a hate crime, we’re going to find them.”

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards will lead a unity rally today to denounce hate in all its forms. The “One Queens” rally, coming a day after the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, will address hate toward Asian Americans, Jews and Muslims, organizers told QNS.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and local Jewish community groups will hold an in-person rally in Cedarhurst tomorrow in support of Joseph Borgen, a Jewish man severely beaten by pro-Palestinian protesters in New York last week. He and other speakers will address the recent spike in antisemitic incidents. Details here.

The organization that advises U.S. Jewish communities on security matters said it recorded an 80% spike in antisemitic acts in the last month. One of the causes, according to the Secure Community Network, was disinformation spread on social media during and since the Israel-Hamas conflict.

CEO Michael Masters said Tuesday that foreign actors, including states, may have contributed to the incitement.

First Person

Twenty years ago, The Jewish Week had the scoop on Sheldon Zimmerman, a prominent rabbi accused of sexual misconduct. But the accuser feared retribution, and it wasn’t until this year that the full story came to light. Gary Rosenblatt describes the dilemmas of reporting on abuse in the pre-MeToo era.

People and Places

American Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem holds a virtual fundraiser at noon today with a panel discussion on global health moderated by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Panelists include Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, co-founder and chief executive of the biotechnology company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Dr. George D. Yancopoulos, co-founder, president and chief scientific officer of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. $100 and up. See a link to the event here.

The Orthodox Union’s Yachad, an organization for individuals with disabilities in the Orthodox community, hosts a free virtual concert as part of the organization’s ongoing fundraising campaign. Featuring performances from Mordechai Shapiro, Benny Friedman, Shulem Lemmer and Eli Schwebel. Advance registration is encouraged here. Tonight, 7:30 pm.

The Manhattan Jewish Historical Initiative inducted 10 new members into its Manhattan Jewish Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Bryant Park Tuesday night. The inductees are Georgette Bennett, Jamie Deroy, Rabbi Robert Levine, Judge Jonathan Lippman, Howard Lorber, Liz Neumark, David Price, Joan Roth, Laurie Tisch and David Zaslav.

Theatre Emory at Emory University is releasing a filmed adaptation of Yiddish writer Chaver Paver’s Labzik stories, about a dog adopted by an ardently Communist family. The puppet show, based on a translation of the stories by Miriam Udel, will videostream on demand, free, from May 24-June 5. The Jewish Week spoke to Udel earlier this year about “Honey on the Page,” her anthology of Yiddish children’s literature.

Streaming Today

The Pew Research Center released its “Jewish Americans in 2020” report on May 11. What are implications for Jewish education and engagement? The Jewish Education Project’s CEO Dr. David Bryfman, Dr. Arielle Levites of the Collaborative for Applied Studies in Jewish Education, Dr. Moshe Krakowski of Yeshiva University and Dr. Analucía Lopezrevoredo of Jewtina y Co. will discuss the report and help educators, parents and grandparents make sense of these new findings. Register here. 2:30 pm.

Join Israel Policy Forum’s Michael Koplow for a talk about Jerusalem, Gaza and where things stand now post-ceasefire. Register here for this Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan program. 7:00 pm.

Author Ethan Daniel Davidson discusses his book, “These are the Developments of the Human,” a compilation of wisdom and insights captured over years of various study partnerships of Jewish text with rabbis and other learners from around the world. An author and musician, Davidson helps run the William Davidson Foundation established by his late father, Bill Davidson. Register here. 7:30 pm.

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