Gov. Hochul Addresses NY Jewish Community for the First Time, Via Zoom JCRC Board Meeting

Gov. Hochul Addresses NY Jewish Community for the First Time, Via Zoom JCRC Board Meeting

By Yehudit Garmaise

In her first public address to the New York Jewish community, last night, Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke via Zoom to the board of the Jewish Council Relations Council (JCRC), where she said she remembered a young Jewish boy whom she met at a yeshiva she was visiting during an anxious time of increased anti-Semitic attacks. 

“A young boy said to me,” Gov. Hochul recalled, "‘I was told I shouldn't wear my yarmulke because that means I could be a target of someone who might attack me: what do you think I should do?’”

Gov. Hochul told the boy to proudly wear his kippa, which she said “is a sign of his strength and the resilience that is part of his DNA. 

“You've always fought back."

“Jewish people have always had to fight back, but it makes them stronger and more united.”

Gov. Hochul, who pointed out that they were meeting on the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, called on the members of the JCRC board to communicate with her when they are aware of any specific situations in which New York Jews may feel threatened.

“Anyone who is aware of a situation, who feels under siege, feels under attack, who thinks we can do better to provide security measures, please let me know,” said Gov. Hochul, who has provided state funding for security programs for Jewish schools and institutions, so I can move that to a very important priority of my administration: working with our state police and our task force.”

 “The images that go through our minds of what happened on that night [a pogrom that took place on Nov. 10, 1938, throughout Nazi Germany] are part of what I'm talking about,” said Gov. Hochul, while emphasizing Yidden’s resilience “to stand up to oppression and fight back.” 

Cheryl Fishbein, JCRC’s president remembered marching right next to Gov. Hochul, along with 30,000 Jews, across the Brooklyn Bridge in a Jewish Solidarity March against Hate on Jan. 5, 2020, after a string of horrific attacks on New York Jews.

“We are immeasurably grateful for your commitment to working with us, with JCRC, with the New York Jewish community, and with Jewish communities throughout the state,” Fishbein said.

“We stand ready to assist you in fighting hate across all communities, not only Jewish communities.”

Hochul, who looks forward to visiting Israel next year, also pointed out that she stands with Jews in Eretz Yisroel, as well as in New York. 

Ever since she served in the US House of Representatives 10 years ago, she said she “has stood firm with Israel when they were under assault and even more recently as a Democrat." 

“I reject the individuals in my party who are making this an issue and questioning our commitment to Israel.

 Gideon Taylor, JCRC's CEO and the vice president explained the mission of the council when he said, "We build relationships to advance our values, interest, and security.                                                                                       

In turn, Gov. Hochul, who emphasized her moral obligation to protect every community in New York, quoted from Pirkei Avos, and said, “It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it.”

(from the office of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo)

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