It has widely been discussed how antisemitism has no place in our midst. When heinous acts of anti-Jewish hate hit close to home, we know that we must always be vigilant.

Avi Conway of Prime Media Distribution has been circulating both this publication as well as our sister publication, the Bukharian Jewish Link, since their respective inception dates. “Over the past decade, I have not experienced such brazen disgust as I have recently,” noted Conway, who discovered a string of swastikas and other vile hate scrawled by black marker on Jewish newspaper dispensary boxes at Aron’s Kissena Farms in Kew Gardens Hills on Motza’ei Yom Kippur shortly before 2 a.m., as he began to disperse our Sukkos edition. “First, my daughter was victimized by a crazed maniac just outside of Queens College where she attends. Now, our community is branded like we are back in Nazi Germany. When will it end?”

With a long route ahead, Avi phoned me as a Queens Borough Safety Patrol-Shmira member to address the issue. With a photo of the obscenity in hand, I reached out to Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal for advice on how to best handle the situation. We first independently reached out to NYPD Deputy Inspector Kevin Chan, Commanding Officer of the 107th precinct, to make him aware. I also filed a report with a 911 dispatcher. Within mere minutes, I received a call from dispatch to meet officers at the scene. There we each took individual photographs, and I offered some contact information for the affected publications. Once this intake had been categorized, I reached out to Chaverim of Queens and Great Neck for assistance in removing the hate symbols. It was my sole intention to ensure that no Holocaust survivor nor their offspring would have to endure witnessing this vile graffiti firsthand. Within just a few moments, a member responded and shortly thereafter, the markings were no more.

Over the next number of hours, various members of the NYPD took statements and attempted to find ways to potentially track the assailant(s). Special appreciation is given to Captain Taso Karathanasis, who appeared in person on behalf of the Deputy Inspector and together with his officers kept the commanding officer aware of every detail. This did not go unnoticed.

At our publications, we join fellow publishers and editors in condemning the antisemitic graffiti: Larry Gordon, Publisher, Five Towns Jewish Times; Jerry Markovitz, publisher, The Jewish Connection; and Shoshana Soroka, Editor, The Five Towns Jewish Home.

Over the 48 hours that followed, various legislators and news media picked up this story. “We must be able to feel safe in our neighborhoods. We must do more. The continued rise of antisemitism is unsustainable and unacceptable,” wrote Rosenthal in a Tweet. It was there thereafter retweeted and quoted tens of times, most notably from NY Attorney General Letitia James; Queens borough President Donovan Richards; Congress Member Grace Meng; State Senators Leroy Comrie, Anna Kaplan; AMs Stacey Pheffer Amato, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Andrew Hevesi, and Nili Rozic; Gideon Taylor, CEO, JCRC-NY; CMs James Gennaro, Ari Kagan, Linda Lee, Lynn Schulman, and Kalman Yeger; ADL of NY/NJ; JFK Democratic Club; Rabbi Shaul Wertheimer of Chabad on Campus at Queens College; Sorolle Idels, Chairperson, Queens Jewish Alliance; Meshulem Lisker, Community Board 8; Ezra Friedlander; Robert Zimmerman; Far Rockaway Jewish Leadership; Pinny Hikind for NYC Comptroller Brad Lander; Israel Nitzan, Deputy Consul General of Israel in New York; and hundreds if not thousands of others concerned by the continued rise in antisemitism. Articles also appeared in the Queens Chronicle and Queens Courier.

Governor Kathy Hochul personally directed the New York State Police’s Hate Crimes Task Force to help in the investigation of the aggravated harassment. The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident as a hate crime but there have been no arrests made to date.

By Shabsie Saphirstein