Photos, Video: Itzik Roytman
Newly elected New York State Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James held a meet and greet event for the New York Jewish community in Crown Heights last week, with a gathering at the Jewish Children’s Museum.
In spite of the freezing temperatures and the high winds and snowstorm, the hall was full with elected officials, community residents, and leaders of the Brooklyn Jewish communities of Flatbush, Boro Park, Williamsburg, and Brighton Beach, as well as representatives from other New York Boroughs, Long Island, Westchester and Upstate New York.
Attendees praised the new Attorney General as a friend of the Jewish community and an advocate of the causes that the community cares about, from safety on the streets and protecting religious rights, to support for Israel.
Attorney General James’ political career began in Crown Heights, which she represented in the New York City Council, and she considers herself an “honorary member” of the Crown Heights Chasidic community, she said.
The event was co-MC’d by Devorah Halberstam, activist and co-founder of the Jewish Children’s Museum, and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Director of the New York Board of Rabbis.
The evening began with the NYPD Color Guard presentation by the Shomrim Society followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Cantor Yoel Menachem Kohn.
Stuart Appelbaum, President of RWDSU, spoke about the experience and virtues of the Attorney General.
NYPD Chief of Patrol, Rodney Harrison, who was scheduled to speak had to leave because of an emergency involving a police shooting. Chief Conroy, Brooklyn’s South Borough Commander, addressed the audience and spoke about the safety of our community and the recent attacks.
Remarks were made by Councilmember Mark Levine, who noted that the Jewish community overwhelmingly voted for AG James, which she won in a tight race.
Other speakers included Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, Rabbi David Neiderman of UJO of Williamsburg gave the invocation.
CHJCC representative Chanina Sperlin spoke about the Attorney General’s history in Crown Heights. Rabbi Eli Cohen of the CHJCC, addressed the neighborhood security concerns.
Devorah Halberstam, a longtime friend and supporter of Ms. James, introduced the Attorney General.
AG James thanked the community and talked about her long history and friendships in Crown Heights and with the Jewish community. She talked about her commitment to being “the People’s Lawyer” in New York State.
“As your Attorney General, I am the people’s lawyer,” AG James said in her remarks. “Entrusted with safeguarding the legal rights of every citizen, organization and natural resource in every corner of the state. The office of the Attorney General will leave no stone unturned,” she said.
With the ceremony occurring the night after the attack on a Jewish community member in Crown Heights, recent events were very much on everyone’s mind.
After the event, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, who was present for the evening, met with the victim of Wednesday’s attack and promised that his office would pursue an aggressive prosecution of the three individuals were apprehended by the Police.