At least four attacks on members of the Jewish community in less than a month, and one attack on a woman who “looks Jewish” but isn’t; anyone might wonder whether a new pattern is being set.
But Rabbi Yaacov Behrman, head of the Jewish Future Alliance organization in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York says although people are “obviously concerned with the recent increase in attacks,” for the most part the upswing “isn’t affecting day to day life.”
There was an incident on Jan 3, when a woman “who looked Jewish but wasn’t” was hit in the face. On Jan 12, a Jewish teenage boy was beaten up. Last Wednesday another Jew was punched on Kingston Avenue and Union Street. Just two days later, on Friday another Jew was punched on Kingston Avenue and Lincoln Street. On Sunday night — again, just two days later — another Jew was attacked on Kingston Avenue and Montgomery Street.
In an email exchange with JewishPress.com, Behrman observed, “The police department does not have the ability or the manpower to be everywhere all the time,” although he said that patrols were being beefed up.
“It is possible that there will be more incidents though I am confident that the NYPD will apprehend the perpetrators and hold them accountable,” he said.
“Some of the attacks were obviously motivated by hate, but other incidents may have been random crime or committed by people struggling with mental health issues,” Behrman commented.
However, renewed rioting, such as took place in the early 1990s, are no longer on the agenda, he added. “New York is very different than it was in 1991. Today we have great relationships with the African American leadership across New York. We are all committed to keeping the peace. The New York police department,” he said, “has a zero tolerance for rioting.”