Williamsburg residents at alleged hate crime site complain about NYCHA

Credit: Metro File Photo.
Credit: Metro File Photo.

Following an apparent hate crime against the Jewish community on Williamsburg, city officials came out in full force to denounce the perpetrator and call for justice.

The crime, the burning of 11 mezuzahs on doorways in the NYCHA Taylor-Wythe Houses, occurred on Monday, which was Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz pointed out that Brooklyn is home to more Holocaust survivors than anywhere else in the world, and has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel.

“Yesterday should have been a time for reflection and recollection of the millions of lives lost, but instead we are reminded of the very kind of hatred that led to the Holocaust,” Markowitz said.

Markowitz suggested that the perpetrators be forced to visit the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center in Borough Park or the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

The Anti-Defamation League also released a statement on the desecration of the mezuzahs.

“This is a blatant act of anti-Semitism with a clear attempt to instill fear and intimidate victims in their homes,” asserted Etzion Neuer, ADL Acting New York Regional Director.

Community member Gary Schlesinger noted that several Holocaust survivors live in the building, and that mezuzahs are not only religious objects, but symbols of protection and safety, making the burning that much more of an act of aggression and intimidation.

Schlesinger also complained of trouble with the New York City Housing Authority, the agency responsible for the Taylor-Wythe Houses.

“There has been a major influx of drug dealers and shooting in the last couple of years and we have constantly asked NYCHA to comply with… [Housing and Urban Development] rules and regulations to evict these criminals, and they have basically shut their eyes,” Schlesinger said.

He also said that NYCHA has not maintained safety in the building, noting that they have their only safety officers separate from the NYPD.

“Cameras put in by federal dollars weren’t working, why?” he added. “That’s really terrible.”

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



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