Local, state officials gather in solidarity at Temple Beth-El for Shabbat

Local, state officials gather in solidarity at Temple Beth-El for Shabbat
Dozens of local and state officials stood together in solidarity against anti-Semitism at Temple Beth-El in Great Neck on Friday. (Photo courtesy of Karen Rubin)

More than two dozen local and state officials gathered in solidarity at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck for Shabbat in response to a recent streak of anti-Semitic crimes throughout the state.

State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) brought together nine state senators, eight local officials and scores of community members of the Jewish faith and beyond on Friday.  Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt attended.

“As a Jewish refugee who came to this country fleeing anti-Semitic violence in my homeland, my heart aches over the outbreak of anti-Semitic violence taking place here in New York and across the country,” Kaplan said. “I invited my Senate colleagues and colleagues from across government and public service to join me in prayer as a powerful display of unity and support for Jewish New Yorkers, and as a demonstration of solidarity in combating the crisis of anti-Semitism in every community.”

“It was a true pleasure to join so many of my Senate Democratic majority colleagues at Temple Beth El of Great Neck for Shabbat services,” Stewart-Cousins said.

Services were led by Senior Rabbi Meir Feldman, Assistant Rabbi Elle Muhlbaum and Cantor Vladimir Lapin.  The three discussed strategies to combat anti-Semitism and ways to drive out hate from communities through honesty, unity, solidarity and hope.

“In this difficult time, when we are experiencing rising levels of anti-Semitism, the presence of so many elected officials showing solidarity with the Jewish community in a synagogue sends a positive message of action and hope,” Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey said. “In this new year, this new decade, we must continue to stand together against anti-Semitism and hatred in all its forms, and leverage the institutions, connections and programs already in place to eradicate anti-Semitism, hatred and intolerance towards all.”

“It is more important now than ever for all to stand up and speak out against the anti-Semitism that has been rampant in our communities,” Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said Saturday via email. “Last night’s Unity Shabbat at Temple Beth-El, organized by our NY state Senator Anna Kaplan, demonstrated the solidarity and commitment of our Long Island and New York State representatives to reassure the congregants that they are not alone.”

“With the numbers showing an undeniable rise in anti-Semitism, standing unified against hate is critical,” County Comptroller Jack Schnirman said. “I was proud to spend the evening in Great Neck with the congregation of Temple Beth-El, organized by Senator Kaplan and joined by Supervisor Judi Bosworth and so many others as a show of critical solidarity in this difficult time for our community.”

The event was one in a series of solidarity events being held across the state to come together and pay tribute to the Jewish community.

U.S. Representatives Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), Peter King (R-Seaford), Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) and Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans) gathered in Cedarhurst Village Hall on Friday to address anti-Semitism in New York.

The five sent a letter to national security officials imploring them to investigate foreign adversaries potentially using social media to cause civil division in America.

Other events such as these have come in response to more than eight acts of anti-Semitism and hate in and around the New York City area.

One of the most recent acts of anti-Semitism came in Rockland County, where five people were stabbed while celebrating Hannukkah at a rabbi’s home in Monsey.

Officials at the Temple Beth-El service spoke on the importance of standing together regardless of religious beliefs to combat hate and anti-Semitism.

“We must work to root out all forms of hate, particularly following the horrifying rise of anti-Semitism in recent weeks,” state Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) said. “We can never again let silence or acceptance of such vile attacks of hate become the norm. It is imperative that we stand unified to say: hate has no place here.”

Following a solidarity march against anti-Semitism that took place on Sunday in New York City, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran scheduled a march for this Sunday at 3 p.m. outside the county Supreme Court building.


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