By Nechama Piekarski for COLlive
I am a simple working mother living in Crown Heights, the Rebbe’s shechuna. My children attend the local schools, walking to and from events alone or with friends, their fears escalating each year.
I have lived in Crown Heights for the past 20 years and I see the deterioration of neighborly tolerance and basic respect. At the same time, I have some very decent non-Jewish neighbors with whom I share mutual esteem. I strongly believe that every human being should be treated with value and dignity.
This past Shabbos (May 5), my 13-year-old son was walking to mincha when one ATV vehicle in a group of three, driven by a black adult male, sped up onto the sidewalk aiming straight at him.
After jumping out of the way, my son watched in horror as the ATV then sped toward two bochurim who jumped out of the way in the nick of time.
My husband and my son approached a policeman on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Kingston afterward. They were told that they could not file a police report and there is nothing to be done about it; it is a common occurrence.
We, the Crown Heights community, have experienced four violent anti-Semitic incidents in the past month and those are the incidents that have been publicized on COLlive and elsewhere. But many others are not publicized, and sadly, we treat them as part and parcel of everyday life.
But Jewish blood is not cheap. Our children should not be victims. We already vowed once, Never Again! Let us not go like sheep to the slaughter!
I call upon our community leaders to demand that the local schools incorporate tolerance for all, including Jews, into the curriculum.
I demand that our leaders insist that the leaders of the African-American community develop a detailed proposal to combat hatred and bigotry toward others, including Jews.
It is not enough to give a press statement; action is needed immediately. A comprehensive plan, where tolerance workshops are given throughout the black community and violence against Jews is condemned is in order.
A program should be implemented where all incidents are reported with immediate repercussions for the perpetrators regardless of whether or not the victim has actually been hurt.
None of our communities can afford failure if we want to live in safety and unity.