As New Yorkers were still recoiling in horror over the gruesome execution style slaying of two NYPD officers in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon by a mentally deranged individual, Jewish leaders and organizations showed their support for New York’s Finest.
On Monday afternoon, December 22nd, longtime Jewish activist Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale organized a prayer vigil in the Bronx in a display of “solidarity and support for the NYPD.” In recent weeks, the city has been the venue for a number of rancorous demonstrations directed against the police; accusing them of racism and gratuitous brutality.
Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot to death as they sat in their squad car by 28 year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley who later committed suicide after he escaped the scene and descended into a subway station.
According to a report on the Algemeiner web site, Rabbi Weiss told those gathered for the vigil that, “In this time of tragic loss for the NYPD and all New Yorkers, we stand here with you. You, the New York Police Department, are New York City’s finest – a racially diverse force. Every day, you risk your lives for us. You protect our synagogues, our churches, our mosques, our institutions, our businesses, our homes – for this and much more we are eternally grateful.”
Algemeiner also reported that Rabbi Weiss told the crowd that “we mourn with you and gather in prayer for Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. We can never understand the profound grief of the families and the larger family of the NYPD, but with great empathy we declare: your pain is our pain, your suffering is our suffering.”
Weiss called on “communities throughout the city gather at local police precincts to express similar support and prayer.” He reminded the crowd that “this is the holiday of Chanukah, the holiday of lights, the holiday that teaches that no matter how dark it may be – ‘a little bit of light pushes away the darkness.’”
In other news of Jewish organizations taking concrete steps to support the NYPD, the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition in Brooklyn announced that their representatives along with members of Hatzolah of Flatbush and the Flatbush Shomrim are spearheading a memorial fund in partnership with State Senator Simcha Felder, NYS Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, NYC Councilman Chaim Deutsch and NYC Councilman David Greenfield to honor the memories of the murdered officers who made the ultimate sacrifice of behalf of the people of the City of New York.
This special fund will financially assist the NYPD widows and orphans and demonstrate our community's heartfelt appreciation, condolences and support to the members of the NYPD. Leaders from the FJCC, Hatzoloh and Shomrim have personally addressed commanders and Police officers to express community wide solidarity with the NYPD at this difficult time. Funds will be distributed in consultation with and guidance from Brooklyn South NYPD Precinct Commanders.