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Rockland County, NY - NAACP Leader Visits Monsey Yeshiva To Discuss Tolerance And Acceptance FollowIng Purim Hanging Of Black-Faced Haman

Published on: April 13, 2016 05:58 PM
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Wilbur Aldridge, director of the Mid-Hudson and Westchester regions of the NAACP speaking to students at Yeshivah Darchei Noam on April 13, 2016Wilbur Aldridge, director of the Mid-Hudson and Westchester regions of the NAACP speaking to students at Yeshivah Darchei Noam on April 13, 2016

Rockland County, NY - Less than one month after a Purim display of a black-faced Haman was hung in effigy from a Spring Valley window, concrete steps for reconciliation and education were taken with a trio of NAACP leaders paying a visit to a Ramapo yeshiva to speak with students.

The visit was arranged by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, founder of Project Y.E.S. and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam in Suffern.  Rabbi Horowitz spoke out on Facebook last month against the Purim prank as previously reported on VIN News, condemning the display for its lack of sensitivity and calling on other community leaders to publicly distance themselves from the tasteless decoration.

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Rabbi Horowitz also contacted Wilbur Aldridge, director of the Mid-Hudson and Westchester regions of the NAACP, who spoke out angrily about the display in a News 12 interview.  Similar outrage erupted just one year ago when students hung a Haman in effigy from the window of a Spring Valley yeshiva.

“I told him I would like to do whatever I could to see that it doesn’t happen again and he told me he had heard the same thing last year,” Rabbi Horowitz told VIN News.

Aldridge also told Rabbi Horowitz that he had offered to speak to students at the yeshiva about tolerance last year but had been rebuffed by the school’s administration.

One week ago, Rabbi Horowitz reached out again to Aldridge, inviting him to Yeshiva Darchei Noam to address the school’s fifth through eighth grades.  Aldridge visited the yeshiva today accompanied by Dr. Frances Pratt, president of the Nyack NAACP, and Willie Trotman, president of the Spring Valley branch of the NAACP.

(L-R)  Willie Trotman, president of the Spring Valley branch of the NAACP, Dr. Frances Pratt, president of the Nyack NAACP,  Wilbur Aldridge, director of the Mid-Hudson and Westchester regions of the NAACP,  Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam.(L-R)  Willie Trotman, president of the Spring Valley branch of the NAACP, Dr. Frances Pratt, president of the Nyack NAACP,  Wilbur Aldridge, director of the Mid-Hudson and Westchester regions of the NAACP,  Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam.

According to Rabbi Horowitz, the visit was the first step on a long path to greater tolerance and understanding.

“He explained to the boys what it means to a black person to see a lynching,” said Rabbi Horowitz.  “The boys asked him questions and we spoke overall about what we can do to live together peacefully.”

Aldridge said that he found the 45 minutes he spent at the yeshiva to be a positive experience.

“I was absolutely elated with the visit to the school today,” said Aldridge. “I think it was extremely productive. We explained the reason for the NAACP and that the founding thoughts and principles were to eradicate the lynching laws because so many of our people had been lynched. I didn’t get the impression that there was one kid or one adult in that room who didn’t get it.”

Aldridge is hopeful that his visit will result in more efforts to promote harmony and sensitivity between the diverse communities that call Ramapo home, calling on members of the Orthodox, Chasidic and African American communities to arrange similar encounters.

“This is about the only way that we are going to be able to ensure that everyone gets the message that just because we have differences doesn’t make us different,” said Aldridge. “Once we look at our differences, we will see our similarities and if we understand those things we will be more tolerant and accepting of our differences.”


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Read Comments (16)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 13, 2016 at 07:07 PM LionofZion Says:

Nice to see something positive out of a Monsey Yeshiva. If there was more of this we would not be hated by all of the public school supporters.
Thank you Rabbi Horowitz for teaching our community some Derech Eretz.

2

 Apr 13, 2016 at 08:21 PM eliezer318 Says:

Honestly, having been raised in an ambiance of liberal-democratic values being the norm during the MLK days, and having invested a few years in teaching Africans and African-Americans, it did come as a shock to me, the anti-Black sentiments I heard in Brooklyn, when I was attending yeshiva as a ba'al teshuva or, more accurately, a tinuq sh'nishba. Being an open-minded fellow, instead of speaking out in a kind of knee-jerk liberal reaction, I tried to listen and learn. The blacks who were immediate neighbors in Brooklyn, were, in fact, the source of much crime against the Jewish community, including burglaries, muggings and murders. It was a simple fact. It was also clear that the majority of the black community were not of that ilk and had aspirations for tranquility and social advancement through hard work. These were more invisible to the Jewish community than the, too visible, criminal element. My point is, that imho we do need to do more to be better neighbors. The mitzvah involved, is outreach to promulgate the Sheva Mitzvos shel B'nei Noach and to be a living example of tolerance, respect and dignity for all creatures. "V'Haravana, zochor l'tov".

3

 Apr 13, 2016 at 09:45 PM Normal Says:

They really need to be told that?

4

 Apr 13, 2016 at 10:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Same thing will happen next year. Parents bought the materials and helped their kids do this.

5

 Apr 13, 2016 at 10:58 PM cowdoc Says:

I would humbly suggest that all schools spend part of their classes reviewing the history of blacks in America beginning with the early slave trade, the almost failure to create the United States because of the slavery debate, Jim Crow laws, lynchings (including pictures) and later descrimination. Would be quite a sobering experience.

6

 Apr 14, 2016 at 12:45 AM ayoyo Says:

the naacp would do well to have programs geared to their youth who are constantly featured in all news programs as perpetrators of all types of crime way beyond their percentage of the population.

7

 Apr 14, 2016 at 08:17 AM Butterfly Says:

case they have not been taught it yet, jews have been lynched also!

8

 Apr 14, 2016 at 09:36 AM RocklandRes Says:

Reply to #5  
cowdoc Says:

I would humbly suggest that all schools spend part of their classes reviewing the history of blacks in America beginning with the early slave trade, the almost failure to create the United States because of the slavery debate, Jim Crow laws, lynchings (including pictures) and later descrimination. Would be quite a sobering experience.

That is taught in public schools but I doubt the UTA spends much time on it.

9

 Apr 14, 2016 at 10:20 AM bewhiskered Says:

"Less than one month after a Purim display of a black-faced Haman was hung in effigy from a Spring Valley window....."

Does this really surprise anyone? For those who can stomach some degree of honesty, among the so called היימישער עולם racism had always run rampant. Racism is favorably discussed at the שבת טיש, encouraged in the ישיבות, and drunk a לחיים to at קידושא רבה.

There was a time in this country when Jim Crow states proudly displayed signs that read, "No Jews!" How quickly we forget!

10

 Apr 14, 2016 at 10:25 AM anonymous Says:

And if it would've been a white-faced Haman would white-faced authorities be up in arms? They should've made 2 Hamans of different colors and shades to include all Rashaim.

Actually, it makes sense that Haman Harasha had dark skin, after all, it was in the Middle East.

11

 Apr 14, 2016 at 11:45 AM outoftown Says:

Oh paleeeaaase!? I'm a litvisher yeshivish looking yid and the heimisher/chasidishe oilam looks at me like I'm not even frum.
(try to daven for the amud in a chasidishe shul or for the litvishe kids to play with their kids and see the pushback- to put it lightly. Imagine if i were m.o. Oy vey. My family and i would be looked at like goyim.) Sorry to tell the truth, but this is behavior taught to kids by adults. And it is the community wide norm, not the exception.

12

 Apr 14, 2016 at 12:00 PM skeptic Says:

Great. Now we just need these schools to start teaching about evolution, sex ed and other important topics and these children might actually be ready for the real world when they graduate.

13

 Apr 14, 2016 at 12:11 PM OffTheDerech Says:

Reply to #11  
outoftown Says:

Oh paleeeaaase!? I'm a litvisher yeshivish looking yid and the heimisher/chasidishe oilam looks at me like I'm not even frum.
(try to daven for the amud in a chasidishe shul or for the litvishe kids to play with their kids and see the pushback- to put it lightly. Imagine if i were m.o. Oy vey. My family and i would be looked at like goyim.) Sorry to tell the truth, but this is behavior taught to kids by adults. And it is the community wide norm, not the exception.

agreed. went to a brooklyn yeshivah from grades k-12. It is definitely taught by parents, and rabeyim. The "Shvartzas" are all criminals. The "goyim" will be our slaves when moshiach comes. Esov Sonei Yaakov with no exeptions. There is definitely a HUGE racism problem in the frum community, so before every cries "anti semite" every time someone is arrested, perhaps they should look in the mirror

14

 Apr 14, 2016 at 12:29 PM outoftown Says:

To prove my point even more, just as the very qualified, talmidei chachomim, litvishe shoichtim that were bullied out of the shechittah profession because they didn't wear the chassidishe levush. i.e. part of the "heimishe oilam". If you don't "look" the part. But behavior and acting like a mentch?? Nah, that's not important. :-(

15

 Apr 14, 2016 at 03:00 PM Miriam377 Says:

I got bullied out of a school I loved driving for because I'm too "Chassidish" for them. Keep in mind I did not have a chassideshe upbringing I got my license at 17,CDL at 22 And I'm a bus Driver.

16

 Apr 17, 2016 at 10:29 AM L-Chaim Says:

Reply to #10  
anonymous Says:

And if it would've been a white-faced Haman would white-faced authorities be up in arms? They should've made 2 Hamans of different colors and shades to include all Rashaim.

Actually, it makes sense that Haman Harasha had dark skin, after all, it was in the Middle East.

I think the decidedly Caribbean-looking dreadlocks & beads and the implication of thuggery by using a hoodie makes your argument weak, if not invalid.
With common histories of slavery, abuse, lynching, rape, and ostracism, you'd think there would be more sensitivity to what can cause such grievous offense to the neighbors. How quick we are to offend...and cry "antisemitism" if we get called out. Truly, this confirms to others all the stereotypes about the community. And THAT is a big problem!

17

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