Rockland County, NY - NAACP Leader Visits Monsey Yeshiva To Discuss Tolerance And Acceptance FollowIng Purim Hanging Of Black-Faced Haman
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.
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.
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.”
More of today's headlines“New York, NY - The head of an agency that handles civilian complaints against police officers resigned abruptly today, citing a pending lawsuit and other conflicts of...” New York, NY - Embattled Head Of NYPD Watchdog Agency Hands In Resignation “New York - The US District Court in the Southern District of New York granted a request on Tuesday by Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard’s lawyers to reopen his appeal...” New York - Case Against Pollard Parole Conditions To Be Reopened