NEW YORK (JTA) — Religious leaders and elected officials in New York City denounced two recent attacks in Brooklyn — against a deli and a JCC executive.
A news conference was held Tuesday at Brooklyn Borough Hall three days after dozens of teenagers were caught on tape vandalizing a Hasidic Jewish-owned deli in the Crown Heights neighborhood. The store owner, Yanki Klein, told CrownHeights.info that teens often come to his store to steal things and yell “heil Hitler.”
The previous week, Leonard Petlakh, the executive director of the Kings Bay Y, allegedly was assaulted by pro-Palestinian protesters following an exhibition basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv at the Barclays Center.
The New York Police Department is investigating both incidents and treating Petlakh’s case as a potential hate crime, according to the News 12 Brooklyn television station.
“We need good people to speak out whenever and wherever anti-Jewish violence should occur, not just at Barclays but anywhere in our city and beyond,” state Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz said at the news conference.
Other speakers included Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York CEO Michael Miller, as well as Jewish, Christian and Muslim clergy.
The Crown Heights neighborhood is home to large numbers of Jews affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic sect and also has a sizable black population. It was the site of a three-day riot in 1991 in which a rabbinical student was killed.
Video from the Saturday night incident in Crown Heights can be viewed below: