An estimated 3,500 people rallied in Cedarhurst Park on May 27 to show solidarity with attack victim Joseph Borgen and to denounce the wave of anti-Jewish hate crimes across the U.S. by supporters of terrorist group Hamas.
Borgen, who was released from the hospital after being severely beaten on a New York Street for wearing a yarmulke, was flanked by community leaders and a roster of speakers at an outdoor event convened by the global Jewish human-rights organization, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in conjunction with numerous community groups, elected officials, and faith leaders.
Several organizations and representatives from local schools rallied to show support. Shulamith High School had dozens of students and faculty, clad in blue and white and prepared with signs. The Israel Activism Club had supplies for all and were excited to hear from SHS Principal Mrs. Sara Munk, who addressed the large crowd. Mrs. Munk said it best:
“There is a story told of a man, who, shortly before entering the gas chamber, asked the Nazi guard if he would switch places with him. The Nazi guard scoffed: ‘Jew, you are about to die. Why would I switch places with you?’ To which the Jew replied: ‘Don’t worry, neither would I.’
“Friends, I come to you here today not out of fear, but with pride. Pride as a member of Am Yisrael who will always come together in hard times. What our haters may not realize is that the secret to bringing Jews together is to do exactly what they have been doing over the last few weeks. I stand with pride for Israel, which, like all other countries in the world, is not perfect but is still an ohr la’goyim. I stand with you here, in this peaceful rally, and choose to be here 100 times over rather than part of a violent anti-Semitic rally even for one second. It is not always easy to be Jewish, but I would not trade it for anything in the world.
“Hate of the Jewish people is not a new phenomenon. In his dealings with Esav, Yaakov Avinu has taught us how to deal with our enemies. We must bring gifts: curry favor with those who stand up for us, and find a way to garner more allies. It is not the right time to be passive. Take action: write to your representatives, vote, and if you utilize social media, make your presence felt and fight back against the social media pogrom that we have been the victims of. And of course, daven. Cry to Hashem, ‘We have had enough! Rescue us from this perpetual galut.’
“We all know how this story ends: all these anti-Semites, whether they sit in Congress or not, will be just another chapter in Jewish history—another people who tried in vain to destroy us and yet are barely worth recalling. We will come out of this as we always do.
“Am Yisrael, lo lefached, Hashem Elokecha holech itcha.”
SWC organizers announced a petition drive to amass at least 10,000 signatures to demand that New York and federal hate crime laws be strengthened and to demand that social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok do more to block calls for violence against Jews, Asian-Americans, and all other minorities.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human-rights organizations, with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe, and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).