New York City Mayor Eric Adams has long had a warm relationship with the Jewish community. The mayor marched in the Celebrate Israel Parade earlier this month and celebrated the end of Jewish Heritage Month with a community reception at Gracie Mansion attracting over 700 guests on May 24.
The mayor pledged to launch an aggressive public relations campaign and speak out in support of the police. “We are too silent on those who are watering the tree of public safety with their blood every day for us.” On antisemitism and being targeted during COVID restrictions, the mayor added, “I can’t place my hands on each of your shoulders, but I get it.”
The event honored Joel Gray, director of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, a NYC Broadway musical and acknowledged the work of NYPD Inspector Richie Taylor as Commanding Officer of Community Affairs. “Mr. Mayor, you set the tone in this city of public safety. Mr. Mayor, we finally feel that City Hall and the Office of the Mayor has the backs of your New York City police officers,” said Taylor. “Moshe Rabbeinu was compared to a candle because he was a light, but he also gave over the light to many more candles to make a lot more light without diminishing from his own candle,” said Taylor of the mayor.
Senior Advisor, Joel Eisdorfer gave opening remarks invoking Martin Luther King. “In the end, we will remember, not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” City Council Member James Gennaro had a prominent role. Distinguished government officials and community leaders in attendance included: Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, Mayoral Chief Advisor Dr. Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Israeli Consul General Asaf Zamir, Israeli Deputy Consul General Israel Nitzan, NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Edward Caban, Chief Mike Kemper, CAU Commissioner Fred Kreizman, NYC International Affairs Commissioner Edward Mermelstein, Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, Council Members Kalman Yeger, Ari Kagan, Inna Vernikov, Lincoln Restler, and James Gennaro, NYPD Clergy Liaison Yehuda Eckstein, NYPD Clergy Liaison David Heskiel, Jewish Children’s Museum Founder Devorah Halberstam, Central Hatzalah Executive Board Member David Shipper, Executive VP of the Rabbinical Alliance of America and Staten Island COJO Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, NY Board of Rabbis Executive VP Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, FJCC Chair Josh Mehlman, Queens strongholds Shalom and Victoria Zirkiev, Rudy Rochman, and widely-known comedian Modi.
For the special live performance, music sensational superstar Shulem Lemmer dazzlingly performed top hits including “New York, New York,” “Piano Man,” “Nafshi,” and “Thank You, Hashem.” The event featured an all-kosher, all-plant-based menu and was sponsored by JCRC-NY, UJA Federation of NY, Sephardic Community Federation, the NY Board of Rabbis.
By Shabsie Saphirstein