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Staten Island, NY - Three Arrested In SI Hate Crime, Rabbi Says Anti-Semitic Incidents Are Rare

Published on: June 23, 2015 11:01 AM
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Staten Island, NY - Despite two anti-Semitic attacks that took place in the Willowbrook area over the weekend, a well known local rabbi expressed confidence that the incidents were an aberration in the quiet, well-tended neighborhood that is home to many Orthodox and Chasidic Jews.

Police told VIN News that three teens were arrested and charged with hate crimes after a rock throwing incident that took place at approximately 7 PM Sunday night.  A yarmulka clad 52 year old dentist who lives in the area was walking past a bus stop in the vicinity of Harold Street and Washington Avenue when he was hit in the back of the head by a small rock.

When the man turned to ask the three teens if they had thrown something at him, they youths responding with an obscenity adding, “We threw the rock at you.”

Police said that the trio, who had been waiting for a bus, tried to knock the yarmulka off the victim’s head and attempted to leave the scene when their bus arrived.  The victim waved the bus off, according to Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield, rabbi of the nearby Young Israel of Staten Island,  and two cars, whose occupants knew the victim, pulled up to the scene.

“The teens were stuck without a bus so they began to walk to the next stop,” Rabbi Lehrfield told VIN News.  “While the victim waited for the police to come, friends followed the teens and when the police came the guy who was following them was able to identify them for police.”


17 year old Kareem Cook, who was found to be carrying a kitchen knife, was charged with aggravated harassment in the second degree as a hate crime, aggravated harassment in the second degree, menacing in the third degree as a hate crime, menacing in the third degree and criminal possession of a weapon.

Police did not release any information about the other two other teens because both are 15 year old minors.

Rabbi Lehrfield noted that the teens are lucky to have escaped the incident unharmed, because the victim is well versed in karate.

“He happens to be a fifth degree black belt,” said Rabbi Lehrfield.  “He didn’t do anything to them, but he could have.”

A second incident took place Friday night as a group of teenage boys were walking home from a friend’s house after the Shabbos seudah and noticed they were being followed by a black car with tinted windows.

“Very often in the summer, our youth will go out and visit friends and at about 10 or 11 o’clock they will walk home together in a group,” said Rabbi Lehrfield. “The parents know that the kids are coming home and they come out at around 10:30 to meet the kids.”

The group met up with their parents and as they were all walking together, occupants of the car began throwing eggs, hitting one of the mothers.

Incidents of this nature are rare in Willowbrook, according to Rabbi Lehrfield, who noted that a contact at police headquarters told him that egg throwing incidents are common around the Yeshiva of Staten Island located seven miles away.

“They said that there they have it all the time,” said Rabbi Lehrfield.

Rabbi Lehrfield said there is no reason to believe that the two incidents are connected.

“We are very safe which is why this is an anomaly,” said Rabbi Lehrfield.

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Read Comments (5)  —  Post Yours »


 Jun 23, 2015 at 11:17 AM lavrenty Says:

Kareem Cook does not sound italian to me, must be another one of Barry Obamas "if i had a son" he wouldve looked like Trayvon Martin.


 Jun 23, 2015 at 11:57 AM Wake up Yidden! Says:

If you're all so safe, why are these things happening? I bet there are plenty of unreported incidents on SI.


 Jun 23, 2015 at 12:10 PM md2205 Says:

My son was in yeshiva in SI a few years ago and told me many times he would be crossing the street and men in cars would either honk at him or yell names out the window.


 Jun 23, 2015 at 08:09 PM gimmeabreak Says:

Why is everything now a "hate crime"?


 Jun 24, 2015 at 08:45 PM Hate you Says:

Reply to #5  
gimmeabreak Says:

Why is everything now a "hate crime"?

I hate you.


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