(New York Jewish Week) — In a recent report on rising antisemitism in the United States, the Anti-Defamation League called Brooklyn “the epicenter of assaults.” Now, the group is opening an office in the borough to respond to antisemitic incidents there.
The Brooklyn office will open at the end of next month with a staff of two, and will work under the auspices of the ADL’s New York-New Jersey regional office. Brooklyn is home to some 600,000 Jews – a number that, according to the most recent available figures, represents a majority of New York City’s Jewish population and nearly a quarter of the borough’s residents. Brooklyn is also home to several large Hasidic communities.
“Brooklyn is the most Jewish place in the United States,” Scott Richman, the ADL’s regional director for New York and New Jersey, said in a statement. “We look forward to deepening our work in the Jewish community with our allies and partners to counter the rising tide of antisemitism and all forms of hate.”
The announcement comes days after the ADL partnered with other Jewish security organizations in New York and New Jersey to form a new umbrella group called the Jewish Security Alliance.
The ADL’s annual national audit of antisemitism in 2022, published last week, found that the majority of last year’s 111 antisemitic assaults targeted Orthodox Jews. Nearly half of the total assaults tallied, 52, took place in Brooklyn alone.
The audit reported a 36% rise in incidents nationwide compared to the previous year, and said that there was a 39% increase in antisemitic incidents in New York state.
Visibly Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn have been the target of street attacks for years, and in 2022, according to the ADL, that continued to be the case. The group said that in May, a Hasidic bus driver was shot with a BB gun by a group of teenagers and another Jew was shot with a BB gun in front of a synagogue; in October, a woman slapped a Jewish teenager, without provocation, in front of the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement in Crown Heights.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement that “Brooklyn requires a stronger ADL presence on the ground so that we can better address the needs of a community that unfortunately is one of the epicenters for antisemitism in this country.”
Greenblatt added, “The new office will be tasked to respond directly to antisemitic incidents in Brooklyn, and to work directly with law enforcement and community leaders in responding to acts of hate and tend bridges of understanding and acceptance.”