By Stephen E. Lipken
In light of Anti-Semitic graffiti discovered at the Garden of Remembrance, White Plains on erev (evening of) Yom Kippur, an Interfaith Vigil was organized at the site by the Westchester County Executive’s Office, working closely with Harrison based, Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center (HHREC), on Thursday, October 10 at Noon, witnessed by over 350 citizens, elected officials from State, County and local municipalities, plus clergy of all faiths.
“We are witness to an outpouring of support from your presence here in the Garden of Remembrance,” HHREC Executive Director Millie Jasper stressed. “The Garden of Remembrance was built in 1992 to honor the memories of the millions of men, women and children who were murdered in the Holocaust and to pay tribute to the brave people of all faiths who risked their lives to save others…”
“A few nights ago, an individual came to the very spot where we are standing. That person thought that they could send a message of hate that would resonate in the community of Westchester County,” County Executive George Latimer stated. This is the response…We have reverends, rabbis, imams and priests unified… We make a simple statement today. At a time when we are not sure what is true or false…, we know these truths: Love is greater than hate. Unity is greater than division. Joy can conquer pain...We stand together today and when we stand together, we shall overcome.”
Michael Snow, speaking on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo said that Cuomo has directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate the crime and fund security for non-profit religious institutions of all denominations.
“On this day, Jews should be outside building their Sukkah,” Rabbi Daniel Gropper, President, Westchester Board of Rabbis and Rabbi, Community Synagogue of Rye noted. “And yet, here we are today because of a cowardly act...” Gropper relayed a Talmudic story about ruffians moving into Rabbi Meir’s neighborhood. “He prayed for their deaths. His wife Bruriah suggested that instead of praying for sinners to die, Meir should pray that their sins should be overcome.”