Long Island Jewish groups expressed concern for and solidarity with their New York City brethren Friday after the NYPD reported at least six attacks in the city this week propelled by anti-Jewish bias.
New York City is increasing its police presence in some Brooklyn neighborhoods with large Jewish populations after the attacks during the Hanukkah holiday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.
"It's cause for concern, but not cause for retreat," said Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, executive director of Chabad Lubavitch of Long Island. "Jewish people need to strengthen themselves and unite and be strong — and be prepared to respond by bringing more light into the world."
Teldon said one of his group's rabbis was threatened on Facebook last week "but nothing came of it."
Teldon said he did not believe there had been an increase in anti-Semitism, but rather those individuals who harbor such hate had become more emboldened to act out.
"I think 90 percent-plus of the American people support the Jewish people," he said. "I'm confident that law enforcement will figure this out and bring it to a halt."
At the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove, which itself had two incidents last month of anti-Semitic and racial graffiti, officials said this spate of new incidents showed the importance of education to combat such behavior.
"It shows that the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center is needed more than ever," said education director Helen Turner.
Turner said she had shown visiting students pictures of the graffiti sprayed on the center grounds.
"When they see this, it says something about the place they come from. And they say they want this place to be an inclusive and safe place to be," Turner said.
Besides making officers more visible in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, police will boost visits to houses of worship and some other places, de Blasio tweeted.
Five of the incidents occurred in Brooklyn, and the other attack occurred in Manhattan, police said.
The rash of anti-Semitic attacks continued Friday as NYPD officers responded to a 911 call of an assault on three women in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Police arrested a 30-year-old woman, charging her with harassment as a hate crime.
The Friday incident occurred about 12:40 a.m. near the corner of Eastern Parkway and Kingston Avenue, within the 71st Precinct, police said, and the three female victims — ages 22, 26 and 31 — reported being slapped in the head and face by a female assailant, later identified by the NYPD as Tiffany Harris of Linden Boulevard in Flatbush, Brooklyn. She was arrested at 1:23 a.m.
Police also confirmed details of an attack Thursday afternoon, on a Jewish mother walking with her 3-year-old son in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also weighed in, issuing a statement that read: "This horrific and cowardly act of anti-Semitism is repugnant to our values, and it's even more despicable that it occurred over the holidays."
The Thursday incident happened around 3:20 p.m. on Avenue U near West Fifth Street in Gravesend. The NYPD said a 42-year-old homeless woman struck a 34-year-old woman in the face with a bag, yelling: "You [expletive] Jew! Your end is coming!"
Police said the attacker, identified as Ayana Logan, was arrested by officers from the 61st Precinct and charged with assault as a hate crime, acting in a manner injurious to a child, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment. Arraignment details were not immediately known.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force already was investigating the four previous anti-Semitic attacks that occurred this week, according to a police spokesman.
The first attack took place about 11:40 a.m. Monday on East 41st Street near Third Avenue in Manhattan, when a Miami man allegedly kicked, punched and hurled anti-Semitic slurs at a 65-year-old Orthodox Jewish man.
Steven Jorge, 28, was arrested and charged with assault as a hate crime, authorities said. The victim refused medical attention.
Also on Monday, a group of teenagers approached a 6-year-old boy and his 7-year-old friend at 8:40 p.m. inside the lobby of a South Williamsburg residential building and struck them from behind, officials said. The assailants fled the building before police arrived. Emergency medical services treated the boys on the scene for minor injuries.
The third attack occurred around 1:40 p.m. Tuesday in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, police said, when a group of unidentified individuals hurled anti-Semitic slurs at a 25-year-old Jewish man walking south on Kingston Avenue.
One of the individuals approached the victim and threw a drink at him. No injuries were reported.
Later on Tuesday, a 56-year-old Jewish man told police he was assaulted on Union Street in Crown Heights. The victim, who refused medical attention, said he was punched shortly after 5 p.m. by one of a group of individuals who had approached him.
De Blasio had condemned the earlier attacks in a tweet Wednesday, writing: “The despicable crimes committed against our Jewish community over the last 24 hours are an attack on ALL New Yorkers. The NYPD is actively investigating all of them and will bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Hate crimes in the city increased by 33% from 2018 to 2019, the NYPD said in October.
With Michael O'Keeffe and AP