To the editor:
(re: “Weekend vandalism targets 4 synagogues,” April 29)
Recently, the Jewish community in Riverdale was terrorized by attacks on at least four synagogues. This is a heartbreaking scandal that cries out for justice.
As a pastor who has helped build a faith community here in the Bronx, it is especially distressing to see hate hit home right on our doorsteps.
Terrorizing young people where they worship is an attack on our fundamental rights as Americans, and it’s why last year I introduced legislation in the city council to enhance penalties precisely to deter these kinds of crimes.
Over recent years, the entire nation has seen acts of anti-Semitism on the rise, with some of the most spectacular attacks taking place on places of worship. The hate attacks in Riverdale are given fuel by cowards and opportunists who are playing with the dangerous fires of history.
Our Jewish sisters and brothers have borne the excesses of hatred uniquely and deeply. And now to see these same storm clouds on our New York horizon is unspeakable.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that anti-Semitism and all other forms of hatred have no home here in the Bronx, and never will.
Look around you, and you will know that the Bronx is — and always will be — a place for people of all faiths, creeds, colors and backgrounds. These attacks will not end our commitment to these traditions, they will only make us stronger.
Hatred cannot beat love. Never could. Never will.
And as we mourn the Riverdale hate attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice, we can take comfort knowing that love is not just what unites the heavens and the earth, it’s also what makes the Bronx unbeatable.
The author is a city councilman who is running for Bronx borough president in the June 22 Democratic primary.