The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — commends the great police work of the NYPD which resulted in the arrest of a 29-year-old Bronx man on hate crime charges in connection to a wave of vandalism and damage caused to synagogues in the Bronx.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force announced the arrest of Jordan Burnette, accused of breaking windows and causing other damage from throwing rocks at a number of synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Deputy Inspector Jessica Corey, commanding officer of the task force, described how uniformed officers used their knowhow and policing acumen to find and arrest the perpetrator. Burnette faces burglary as a hate crime and “numerous charges related to the many acts of vandalism as hate crimes that have taken place in this community,” Corey said. At least four synagogues in the neighborhood were the target of anti-Semitic violence last weekend. The attacks were quickly condemned by city and state leaders, who directed immediate investigations by task forces pursuing hate crimes.
This quick police work is important considering the urgency of the problem. Anti-Semitic incidents in 2020 occurred at a troublingly high level last year in the United States. Anti-Semitic incidents in 2020 decreased only 4% from an all-time high recorded in 2019 despite the Coronavirus pandemic that lessened in-person interactions, the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents found.

New York had the highest number of overall incidents in the United States last year — 336 — the ADL report showed, with most of those incidents classified as harassment and vandalism. Nearly half of anti-Semitic assaults nationwide took place in New York City, including 11 in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan. No anti-Semitic assaults occurred on Staten Island, the ADL’s data showed, but as overall incidents decreased nationwide, Staten Island’s number of anti-Semitic acts of vandalism and harassment nearly doubled compared to 2019 — jumping from 13 to 25.

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, expressed “the deep appreciation of the Rabbinical Alliance of America to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and to Deputy Inspector Jessica Corey, commanding officer of the Hate Crimes Task force, for the department’s swift and thorough investigative work which led to the arrest of the perpetrator. Combating hate crimes requires a two-fold approach. The first approach involves educating the public to be respectful and mindful of the law. The second prong is responding swiftly and decisively when a hate crime is committed. The Rabbinical Alliance of America expresses its gratitude to the officers of the NYPD who, as always, acted professionally and expeditiously, which resulted in the arrest of the perpetrator. We hope and pray that the criminal justice system serves swift justice and the message resonates across the city that hate crimes will not be tolerated.

“This city is at a turning point. The increasing violence and anti-Semitic attacks has added worry and insecurity to the lives of law-abiding citizens across the city. The city cannot thrive if its residents and workers fear for their safety, if they worry about random attacks on the street and in their houses of worship.

“The Rabbinical Alliance of America applauds the NYPD officers and prays that the Almighty watch over them and keep them safe. It is important that members of the public reach out to police officers on the street and thank them for their service. Thanks to the police, we will once again have a good quality of life.”

We pray that He who makes peace in Heaven make peace on this world and that all those who harbor hate in their hearts realize the error in their ways and transform their negative energy into a positive force to make this world a better place for all people.