New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday at City Hall the first-ever creation of a panel of advisers on Jewish-related issues.
The council will be comprised of 37 members, including rabbis and community leaders of various denominations of Judaism, according to the mayor's announcement.
“From the top of the Bronx to the bottom of Staten Island, the work and contributions of our Jewish brothers and sisters are felt across all five boroughs," Adams said Monday evening. "With antisemitic crimes up across the nation, our newly-formed Jewish Advisory Council will ensure that Jewish New Yorkers in every community have a seat at the table and have access to the support and resources the city offers.”
New York is home to about 1.1 million Jews, the largest concentration outside of Israel.
The initiative comes after a period in which reports of antisemitism appeared to rise. According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic hate crimes in the city climbed 39% from 2021 to 2022, though they are lower so far through the same period in 2023. Nationally, the ADL reported a 36% increase in antisemitic hate crimes from 2021 to 2022.
The mayor's senior adviser Joel Eisdorfer, a member of the hassidic community in Borough Park, is set to chair the inaugural council. Eisdorfer, who assumed his position in February 2022, is the first hassidic Jew to be appointed to the position of advisor to City Hall.
Eisdorfer said: “While antisemitic hate crimes are rising around the world, Mayor Eric Adams proudly, vocally, and physically stands with the Jewish community at every opportunity. With the creation of this unprecedented council, the mayor is clearly showing that actions speak louder than words and that he leads from the front.”
CEO of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan Rabbi Joanna Samuels expressed excitement about joining the council. “As a proud communal leader and proud New Yorker, I look forward to partnering with my colleagues to ensure that the diverse Jewish community of our city has a seat at the table when important decisions are made," she said.
Hindy Poupko, senior vice president of UJA Federation of New York echoed his eagerness to work with the group. “UJA Federation of New York is deeply grateful to Mayor Adams for his close attention to the needs and priorities of our diverse Jewish community," she said. "We are excited to work with this advisory council and the mayor’s team to help strengthen this great city.”
Jewish support for Mayor Adams
In the 2021 race for New York city mayor, Adams saw significant support from the Orthodox voting bloc.
He's long had a strong base of support within New York City’s Orthodox Jewish communities. In the crowded primary, Adams was a favorite of Orthodox groups in Brooklyn. Though he did not win a majority of the vote in heavily hassidic Borough Park in the November 2021 general election, Adams mentioned that community in his victory speech.
“It doesn’t matter if you are in Borough Park in the hassidic community, if you’re in Flatbush in the Korean community, if you’re in Sunset Park in the Chinese community, if you’re in Rockaway, if you’re out in Queens in the Dominican community, Washington Heights – all of you have the power to fuel us,” Adams said in his speech the night of the election.