Photos showed members from the community braving the rain to sing and dance around the Menorah

Bend the Arc / Twitter

New Yorkers light giant menorah in solidarity following anti-Semitic attacks

The rally comes after attacks on members of the Jewish community.

Dec 30, 2019, 3:00 pm*

IRL

Samira Sadeque 

Samira Sadeque

The holiday season in New York City was tainted by a series of anti-Semitic attacks this month—and citizens of all faiths pushed back in solidarity on Sunday by lighting the largest menorah in Brooklyn.

Most recently, the stabbing inside a Rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, has put the Jewish community even further on edge.

On Saturday, as the Jewish community observed the seventh day of Hannukah, a man reportedly entered the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg and stabbed five people. A suspect has since been arrested, according to CNN.  

It was the latest in a string of attacks against Jews in New York that mired the Hanukkah spirit for many. As CNN reports, the past week witnessed almost daily attacks on members from New York’s Jewish community.

The attacks varied in nature, from attacks on the elderly to kids as young as 6 and 7 years old. In many of the attacks, there were explicit threats to Jews or racist remarks about the community. 

On Sunday, after news of the Monsey attack broke, Jews in New York rallied in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza in response to anti-Semitism. 

Photos on social media showed members from the community braving the rain to sing and dance around the menorah.

 

Bend the Arc, a Jewish advocacy group, wrote that “the largest Menorah in Brooklyn” was lit in solidarity with the Jewish community. 

 

It was sparked following a tweet from activist and organizer Jason Rosenberg. 

“How about we all join together tonight in solidarity with Monsey, and every Jewish community?” he wrote in a tweet on Sunday morning. 

 

In two hours, the event was official and Rosenberg announced it on his Twitter. Organizations such as Bend the Arc and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) contacted him, and became official organizers, Rosenberg told the Daily Dot.

On Sunday afternoon, “Grandy Army Plaza” trended on Twitter as people across the city prepared for the rally and spread awareness about it. Between 300 to 500 people showed up to the rally, Rosenberg said.

“Between rain, people of all faiths and diverse walks of life came together in song and celebration of the final night of Chanukah but also with calls to action to confronting antisemitism,” Rosenberg told the Daily Dot via email.

Meanwhile, the mayor’s office has taken the matter seriously. On Sunday, Mayor Bill De Blasio’s office announced a new task-force that is “multi-ethnic interfaith Neighborhood Safety Coalition” along with increased police presence geared to address hate crimes and anti-Semitic attacks.

 

But Rosenberg says he does not agree with de Blasio’s earlier announcements of increasing cop presence.

“This will not help Jewish folks, only hurt and harm Black and brown communities,” he said, sharing a photo of him confronting de Blasio about it at the rally. “Especially Black and brown Jews who have continued to be erased and ignored in the dialogue.”

“We still have work to do,” Rosenberg added. “Only solidarity will help us through these rough and difficult times.”

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*First Published: Dec 30, 2019, 2:54 pm