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‘Invaluable’ for Agudath Israel to discuss anti-Semitic crimes and zoning with the New York AG

By 06/19/2023 11:44 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

According to the 2022 State of Antisemitism in America Report by the American Jewish Committee, 89% of U.S. Jews believe that antisemitism is an issue in the United States, and 41% reported feeling less secure than the year before.

Another research claims that over the previous four years, 52% of Jewish assaults in New York City were Chassidim, while another 42% involved Orthodox Jews who weren’t Chassidim.

Representatives of Agudath Israel of America met with Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, earlier this month to discuss “pressing concerns on important issues affecting the Orthodox Jewish community in New York,” according to a release.

The team was led by Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, director of Agudath’s New York government relations, and they met with the attorney general on June 5 in her New York City office for nearly an hour.

The topic of discussion included anti-Orthodox media bias, increased attacks on Jewish people, the antisemitic commencement speech at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, and religious discrimination in zoning.

Agudath’s executive vice president, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, told JNS that meeting with elected officials is “invaluable” because she is “sensitive to the community needs and how she can use her office to help the community.”

“There is room for making an elected official aware of our needs and concerns, and while they will not always be able to accommodate our needs, the placement of a legal officer, who is responsive to the community, is very helpful,” Zwiebel told JNS.

“We can take advantage of these opportunities, which are very important, to help our community thrive and to combat illegal attacks on our community.”

According to the 101-year-old charity representing U.S. citizens, Agudath has a history with James that spans her 20-year career as a council member, public advocate, and attorney general. Jewish orthodoxy.

James expressed “deep concern” regarding the CUNY commencement speech and “emphasized her commitment to combating antisemitism in all forms and her determination to ensure that higher education institutions remain safe and inclusive for Jewish students,” according to Agudath. James’ office did not respond to questions from JNS.

“My office will keep looking into hate crimes and working to end discrimination. The Agudath statement reported the attorney general as saying, “I will never stand by and do nothing as hatred, antisemitism, and ignorance spread throughout this state.

The Agudath delegation examined housing discrimination, particularly land-use policies intended to prevent the establishment of synagogues and Jewish schools, according to Zwiebel, who spoke to JNS.

A 2019 incident in Forestburgh, New York, involved licenses for a property that had been granted to a non-Jewish developer being canceled when the property was purchased by a Chassidic developer.

It was purportedly done to “keep the Chassidic out.”

James has aided in earlier cases, according to Zweibel.

Eli Steinberg, a prominent figure in local communal politics in the New York region, told JNS that it is “heartening” to see James interact with Agudath in this fashion, not in response to a dramatic occurrence but rather “in a time when it’s not just something that the public is noticing particularly.”

Steinberg added that Every so often, there is a sudden awakening among the general public outside the Orthodox group that this problem must be resolved.

Then, it often dwindles not because the problem itself goes away but because people stop paying attention to it.

According to Steinberg, antisemitism is frequently seen through the prism of politics, with most people only identifying Jew-hatred on the other side of the political aisle while “turning a blind eye when those in their party are perpetuating it.”

Before his attacker was given an 18-month prison term, Joseph Borgen made a victim impact statement in Manhattan Supreme Court and questioned: “What kind of message does this convey to everyone, to all victims of a hate crime?”

He said, “I don’t understand why he’s getting a deal. “I desired to testify in court. I wished for complete justice.

Steinberg believes that conversations like the one between James and Agudath can aid in prosecuting antisemitic hate crimes and so assist in reversing Jewish resignation.


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