Two senior rabbis of the Crown Heights Jewish community are fed up with the growing number of hate blogs on the web run by a handful of people who try to remain anonymous.
In a rare sign of unity, Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba and Rabbi Yaakov Schwei both signed an open letter addressing current affairs “impacted by people who have pursued a personal agenda to the detriment of the community.”
Relations between the 71st Precinct of the New York Police Department and the Crown Heights community were “negatively impacted” due to ongoing attacks on blogs, the rabbis wrote.
Zaki Tamir, Chairman of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, told the New York Daily News the letter arose after an ongoing beef between rival civilian patrol groups in the neighborhood spilled into the public arena.
Shmira works with the 71st Commanding Officer Peter Simonetti, while the Shomrim only enjoyed the same status under the former Commanding Officer Frank Vega.
Tamir told the Daily News that the rabbis’ letter was meant to stop people from going around leaders on issues that affect the entire neighborhood.
“No one should represent themselves as speaking on behalf of Crown Heights as a whole,” said Tamir, a criminal defense lawyer.
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a resident of Borough Park, was involved in the past in peace talks between the groups whose public spat has resulted in acts of Messira and ‘spilling the beans’ in the mainstream media.
Hikind said he heard from many Crown Heights residents the wish for the groups to unite or disband, denouncing the “Chilul Hashem which the entire community is suffering from.”
Speaking to COLlive.com on Friday, Hikind said: “Not everything has to end up in the newspapers and on websites. When groups are fighting it is not a healthy or good thing. It’s detrimental and can lead to bad things.”
The veteran activist said it was “a small group that has issues with others, and people are (being) schlepped in (while they) don’t know the details.”
He added that “It’s having a very negative effect and people (outside the community) know what’s going on. I hate to use the word Sinah (hatred), but that’s what is there.”