Photo Credit: Courtesy NYC Mayor's Office
Mayor Bill de Blasio meets representatives of the Crown Heights Jewish community, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019.

Almost from the start of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made sure the city’s children didn’t go hungry — especially after schools were forced to close and families for their own safety had to stay home in self-quarantine.

That is, all the city’s children except those who kept kosher. Observant Jewish families were studiously ignored by City Hall.

Letter to City Hall by Jewish Caucus of NYC Council, demanding equality for Jewish children who eat kosher food.

“It took weeks, but kosher food is FINALLY available,” writes Brooklyn City Council member Chaim Deutsch, who together with numerous colleagues sent an urgent letter to the mayor, demanding the Jewish residents be considered an equally important sector of the city when creating programs for needy New Yorkers.

“Food accessibility is one of our most basic rights, and kosher-observant New Yorkers shouldn’t have been weeks behind the rest of the city,” Deutsch points out in a tweet he posted Monday on the Twitter social networking site.

“Shame on @NYCMayor for leaving Jews behind and hungry.”

Kosher-observant New Yorkers were kept waiting for weeks for the city’s much-vaunted “grab n’ go” meals, relying instead on private soup kitchens and food pantries to fill the void, while thousands of other New Yorkers were being provided with free meals by the city administration.

But with a great deal of fanfare, City Hall has now rolled out its kosher food option, and out of 400-plus meal hub sites, the city says it provided 10 sites for the Jews.

The only problem is, not one of those ten sites is particularly accessible to kosher-observant New Yorkers.

Those in Williamsburg are actually located out of the Jewish section entirely; one on the very edge and the other actually in Fort Greene, a completely gentile area.

Four are in Queens, if you include the three in Far Rockaway, but none are in observant Jewish areas.

Only one is in Borough Park, close to the Kensington neighborhood (No needy Jews in Borough Park, right?)

One location in Midwood, at the very edge of the Jewish section, again nowhere near the heart of the observant Jewish neighborhood. (Religious Jews aren’t really needy, are they?)

Two locations in Crown Heights, neither in Jewish areas – both in the heart of the Caribbean and African-American areas. (Again, the message is clearly reinforced – observant Jews are not really needy or hungry.)

Manhattan, Bronx and Staten Island are totally ignored, although there are vibrant, large observant Jewish communities in each, all of which include families that are now without incomes and have unemployed heads of household desperate for assistance.

The anti-Semitic sentiment being broadcast from the heart of City Hall could not be clearer.

For those who have the tenacity and ability to travel to the sites to pick up these meals, here is the information.

The meals can be picked up at Meal Hubs from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm Monday through Friday and all adults and children can pick up three meals at one time.

“Kosher meals follow the USDA meal nutrition guidelines and are produced in partnership with a certified kosher distributor,” according to the NYC site. “Our kosher meal sites are housed in DOE school buildings and staffed by DOE food service staff. Meals offered at our kosher meal sites are free and available to any New Yorker that requests them. Parents and guardians may pick up meals for their children, and no registration or ID is required.”

Here are the locations:

Opening April 21, 2020
• PS 132 The Conselyea School – 320 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn 11211
• PS 257 John F Hylan – 60 Cook Street, Brooklyn 11206

Opening Thursday, April 23, 2020
Far Rockaway
• P.S. 197 The Ocean School – 825 Hicksville Road, Queens 11691
• P.S. 253 – 1307 Central Avenue, Queens 11691
• P.S. 215 – 535 Briar Place, Queens 11691
• P.S. 154 Queens – 75-02 162 Street, Queens 11366
Crown Heights
• P.S. 289 George V. Brower – 900 St Marks Avenue, Brooklyn 11213
• I.S. 2 – 655 Parkside Avenue, Brooklyn 11226
Boro Park
• P.S. 192 – The Magnet School For Math And Science – 4715 18 Avenue, Brooklyn 11204
• P.S. 197 – The Kings Highway Academy – 1599 East 22 Street, Brooklyn 11210

The meals are under Borenstein Kosher Certification.borenstein-kosher-certification


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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, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.