It was meant to be an expression of solidarity with New York and a gesture of American unity against terror.
But a special joint session of Congress, to convene in the Big Apple this fall, is being panned by local representatives as "disrespectful," "problematic" and "an insult."
As it turns out, the session is scheduled to convene Friday, Sept. 6: the eve of Rosh HaShanah.
"It would be an insult to hold the session on a day when so many of us will be in the synagogue," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, a Democrat representing parts of Queens and Nassau, in a statement.
Bronx Rep. Eliot Engel added: "It’s a terrible inconvenience. If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right. If we’re bringing people to New York, let’s put our best foot forward. We want people to hang around, not just come and leave. This is disrespectful and ill-advised."
Rep. Anthony Weiner, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens said the date was more an issue for non-New Yorkers than local pols, who will be home in plenty of time for the holiday. "It creates a problem for non-New York Jewish members. I certainly wish they would not have chosen that day."
But Weiner added that with the Democratic primary the following week, closely followed by the first anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks (which prompted the solidarity session) the calendar was already crowded.
Amy Rutkin, chief of staff to Manhattan and Brooklyn Rep. Jerrold Nadler said the congressman had "raised concerns about the date and will continue to raise concerns. It’s highly problematic, sends the wrong message and obviously excludes Jewish members." She later called to say that the session was due to end long before the holiday.
John Feehery, a spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, said the date had been chosen by Mayor Mike Bloomberg. "We understand the concerns and will try to make sure members can get home in plenty of time for the holiday," said Feehery.
Not good enough for Ackerman, who says he’s sending a Jewish calendar to the speaker. "He’s a sensitive leader," said Ackerman. "I am sure he will change the date."