New York senator declares ‘End Jew Hatred Day’ amid burst of antisemitism

Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, a Democrat who represents Rockland and Westchester counties, began his remarks by noting that the Empire State leads the country in antisemitic incidents.

 #EndJewHatred Day Proclamation presented last week by NY State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick. (photo credit: END JEW HATRED)
#EndJewHatred Day Proclamation presented last week by NY State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick.
(photo credit: END JEW HATRED)

NEW YORK –The day after Yom Hashoah, the annual day of remembrance for the Holocaust, a New York lawmaker issued a proclamation announcing April 29 as being “End Jew Hatred Day.” The novel move comes as New York state has seen a surge of volatile antisemitic attacks – there were more assaults on Jews in Brooklyn in 2021 than anywhere else in America. 

State Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick presented the declaration at the Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education in Suffern, NY, near the center of the large local Orthodox community. 

The senator, a Democrat who assumed office in January 2021 and represents Rockland County and parts of Westchester County, began his remarks by noting that the Empire State leads the country in antisemitic incidents. 

He addressed the audience, consisting of elected officials, representatives of major community organizations and members of the community, saying, “How do we shift the growing trend from hate and violence to love and tolerance? All of you who are here today are part of that solution. This [#EndJewHatred] movement is part of that solution.” 

According to the senator, “we can be the generation that ends Jew-hatred once and for all in New York State, in the United States, and in the world.” He affirmed that “we need to declare once and for all what needs to happen in the most simple words that we can find. We need to End Jew Hatred. That is our pledge; that is our declaration.”

 Law enforcement officers and firefighters work near the scene of a shooting at a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, US, April 12, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID) Law enforcement officers and firefighters work near the scene of a shooting at a subway station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, US, April 12, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)

Assemblywoman Lisa Swain (D-New Jersey, 38th District) came all the way to attend the event.

“The horrors of the Holocaust and furthermore the casual antisemitism that escalated to such atrocities against humankind must never be repeated – and it is our responsibility to assure it doesn’t," she said. "I am encouraged by seeing leaders across the region, like Senator Reichlin-Melnick, who continue to bring attention to Jew-hatred, and to use their voices to end it.”

Phyllis Schmaus, a Trustee of the Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education, expressed eagerness for the End Jew Hatred Resolution to be passed by the legislature.

“This proclamation belongs to each and every one of us, and your support is needed now more than ever before," she said. "With your collective support, getting an #EndJewHatred Day Proclamation in all districts can become a reality."

Just days ahead of the event, the Anti-Defamation League released staggering new data on the rise of antisemitic hate crimes. The ADL reports there were 51 incidents of anti-Jewish assaults in New York last year, representing a 325% increase over the previous year. It is the highest number of antisemitic assaults on record in New York State.

Joseph Borgen, a 29-year-old Upper East Side resident, was involved in one of the record-high number of incidents. In May 2021, while wearing a kippah, he was assaulted near 48th Street in Manhattan minutes after stepping off the subway on his way to a pro-Israel rally. The 23-year-old pro-Palestinian suspect, Waseem Awawdeh, allegedly punched, kicked and pepper-sprayed Borgen, who was hospitalized, while yelling antisemitic slurs.

“I was covering my head hoping it would end soon," Borgen told The Jerusalem Post immediately following the assault. "I was pepper-sprayed for a minute straight until the cops broke it up. For hours, my face felt like it was on fire and I couldn’t see.”

“I don’t want to stop going to rallies, because that would indicate that they won, that intimidation works,” he continued. “I’ll still go to rallies, but I’m going to be more aware of the crowd.”