Photo Credit: Ciprian Latewood / Wikimedia
NYPD Surveillance equipment on an electronics pole in NYC

New York’s Finest will increase the presence of uniformed officers around areas of Jewish communities towards the start of the approaching High Holidays, set to begin Sept. 18, an annual tradition as important as making sure every item on the shopping list was acquired.

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NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told a Zoom meeting of 100 Jewish community leaders, “Jewish communities all over New York will see an increased presence of professional police officers during the upcoming High Holidays.”

This was the first year the gathering was a virtual happening; COVID-19 prevented the annual pleasantries together with the acquisition of bagels and nosh at One Police Plaza headquarters in downtown Manhattan. But not much else has changed.

“Although New York City was in many ways a different city back in 1977, when we first started meeting with Jewish community leaders before the High Holidays, what hasn’t changed at all is our commitment to your safety and our resolve that you can observe the holidays openly and safely,” Shea commented.

The meeting has been taking each year for the past 43 years prior to the start of the Hebrew month of Tishrei a month filled with Jewish holidays and many, many calories. A few less don’t matter.

The police commissioner asked Zoom attendees to “please speak with your local precinct commanders, community affairs staff and local Neighborhood Coordination Officer (NCOs) to keep us up to date on the times of your services and special events. . . we need to know the times of large events for every Jewish house of worship so we can be there,” Shea explained.

Captain Richie Taylor, commanding officer of the Outreach Division at Community Affairs, the highest-ranking NYPD officer who wears a kipa on the force, moderated the meeting. NYC Council member Kalman Yeger, another observant Jew, also addressed the meeting.

Mark Molinari, commanding officer of the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force, also addressed the gathering. “Our continued relationship should be a strong one that resolves problems, creates safe spaces for everyone from our children to our seniors,” he said. “We want to bring calm to the city.”

Molinari works with the FBI, the Department of Justice, precinct commanders and officers, detective squads and clergy leaders.

“We will never tolerate hate in our city, and we will continue to build and strengthen our partnerships with the Jewish community,” he said. “You can worship safely, and you’ll see an increased police presence in your communities. Please know that we will be here to support you.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.