Rockland community shares stories of antisemitism as state workgroup seeks ways to combat hate
Rockland County residents on Tuesday shared their personal stories dealing with antisemitism in front of a workgroup comprised of religious and community leaders as well as state lawmakers.
"There was not a Saturday that went by when something did not happen while I was walking. Cars would swerve to hit me, they would honk their horn at me, they would swear obscenities at me, and they would throw coins at me. Every week something would happen," shared one Rockland County resident.
New City was the first stop on a multi-leg Antisemitism Working Group led by a group of state lawmakers including State Sen. Bill Weber.
Weber said the goal is to collect first-hand accounts of hate and suggestions on how to combat it.
Ultimately, the group of lawmakers will submit its findings as a report to Gov. Kathy Hochul and State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to create policy changes.
"Some people will say it has always been here and will always be here but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep talking about it, keep educating our youth, and talking about how we can eradicate it," said State Senator Bill Weber.
The evening focused on tightening up hate crime laws, improving education about Jewish history in schools, and concerns about hate spread on social media.
"It's intolerance, it's small and narrowmindedness, it's the fear of the unknown, and simple bigotry," said Rabbi Shragi Greenbaum, Agudah of Rockland Director.
The group will continue its listening tour next on Long Island and then New York City before finalizing its report ahead of next year's legislative session.