January 2020 -- Tevet-Shevat 5780,  Volume 26, Issue 1

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L to R in background behind U.S. Senator  Kristen Gillibrand; Thomas Walsh, District Attorney-Elect; Rockland County Legislator Phil Soskin; Congressman Eliot Engel; Ramapo Town Supervisor Michael Specht; NYS Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee; Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel

Area Legislators Condemn Rockland County Attack

On December 29, 2019, County Executive George Latimer stated that, “Westchester County stands with the people of Rockland County and condemns the horrific act of violence in Monsey. I have directed the Westchester County Police Patrol Units to conduct additional inspections of synagogues and any other Jewish facilities within our jurisdiction.  We must come together and protect and support our neighbors. We pray for the victims and pray that unity and tolerance prevails.”


In addition, members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators noted that they deplore the attack on the night of December 28, 2019, at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey and offer strong support to the victims, their families and Congregation Netzach Yisroel.


Board Chairman Ben Boykin (D- White Plains, Scarsdale, Harrison) said, “While we wait for all the facts to be investigated, we do not hesitate to categorically condemn all acts of violence, hatred and bigotry wherever and whenever they occur.


“But we need to do more than offer our condemnation after the fact.  We must work proactively and with vigilance to protect one another and to combat the rising tide of violence and intolerance plaguing our nation and the world.


“We thank County Executive George Latimer for directing the County Police to offer additional protection to the County’s synagogues and other Jewish facilities, and we will continue to work with the administration and the County’s Human Rights Commission to face the scourge of bias, discrimination and related violence during this holy time of year and always.”


Majority Leader Catherine Parker (D - Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye) said, “The Board of Legislators is committed to seeing that our laws provide the highest level of protection to our residents. I have reached out to our Chair of Legislation to ensure that we will take up discussion to investigate strengthening our definitions of hate crimes and hate incidents as New York City has done, as soon as our new term begins.”


Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane concurred. “All of us in the Jewish community share the pain of the Monsey community following this horrific act. The time for talk about anti-Semitic attacks is over--this is a time for action.”


Governor Cuomo issued a joint statement with over 130 Faith Leaders and organizations from across New York State, condemning Anti-Semitism in the wake of the attack in Rockland County.  With Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, UJA Federation of New York, American Jewish Committee NY and Westchester Jewish Council supporting the statement, it reads:  “Anti-Semitism, bigotry and hate of any kind are repugnant to our values and will not be tolerated in our state. We condemn this attack and all attacks against members of the Jewish community in New York----an attack against one of us is an attack against all of us. Together we will continue fighting hate and intolerance with love and inclusion.”


After meeting with Rabbi Rottenberg and his wife on December 29, 2019, Governor Cuomo commented on the stabbing in Rockland County.  “It is intolerant, it is ignorant, but it is also illegal. And at the end of the day it’s not just about words, it’s about action. And we have seen enough in New York.


“This is violence spurred by hate, it is mass violence and I consider this an act of domestic terrorism. Let’s call it what it is. These people are domestic terrorists and the law should reflect that and they should be punished as if it was an act of terrorism.”

On December 30, 2019, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand hosted a roundtable at Ramapo Town Hall in Rockland County and spoke out against anti-Semitism. She called for more Federal Funding to protect Nonprofits and to support the Never Again Education Bill.