By COLlive reporter
Photos by Yossi Percia, COLlive’s photographer in New York
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith visited Crown Heights Monday to discuss community relations and listen to the special needs of the community.
Greeting him were the directors of the major educational institutions of Crown Heights as well as black and Jewish leaders of the community.
They were hosted at the home of Chanina Sperlin, in charge of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council (CHJCC).
After words of welcome and introductions by the host, Rabbi Eli Cohen, Executive Director of the community council, introduced the proceedings by describing the tremendous strides made by the community over the past twenty years since the terrible events of August 1991.
Cohen told of how the various community groups were planning a “Crown Heights Summer of Celebration” to draw attention to all the progress that had been made.
Much of the discussion centered around education, with both the Mayor and other leaders in the room referring to the upcoming Passover Holiday and about the focus on education during that Holiday.
The recent budget cuts at the City and State level have hurt the schools and the Mayor was urged to address the issue of how to help the parents of private and parochial schools deal with the rising costs.
The gathering was joined by Crown Heights Badatz member Rabbi Yossi Braun, who spoke about the four children who are described at the Seder, with the message that all of them are our children, and we must care for them in every way we can.
The Mayor, who was in good spirits despite recent political setbacks, responded with a Dvar Torah of his own, talking of how, when the Jews began to celebrate after the defeat of the Egyptian Army, Hashem rebuked them for not recognizing the tragedy that his children had been drowned.
The lesson was apparent for all people from all communities, Bloomberg concluded.
At the conclusion of the reception, Rabbi Eli Cohen mentioned that the gathering was connected to Yud Alef Nissan, the birthday of the Rebbe.
Immediately, the Mayor held up for all to see the dollar bill from the Rebbe that he carries with him at all times for good luck.