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Rabbi's Blog: Perseverance & Petition

03/01/2023 07:09:29 PM




Dear OZ family,


A few days ago I wrote about Miriam Feig who was hidden as a child in a monastery during World War II. Remembrance of such upheaval in her early years moved Miriam to a lifelong drive for Chesed and kindness. I have recently written about another member of our congregation, Bina Lipshutz, who was on a Kinder transport that saved her life as well. Bina is a repository of kindness, integrity, and faith, and she spreads good will wherever she goes. I sent out a Wall Street Journal piece last week about her daily walks in Central Park where she learns Torah and recites Tehillim. Bina has been in the hospital for the past few weeks and she thanks all those who visited her and brought her healthy food and fruits. Bina was discharged from the hospital earlier this week and is staying with family in Brooklyn. She should be back home on the Upper West Side sometime next week.


It’s hard to fathom this happening in our streets, but two of our members, who recall the 1930’s in Germany under Nazism, Hilde Khnie and Jenny Michael, are expressing painful reminders of the beginnings of those very bad times in our own city. They both experienced Kristallnacht and worse, and I have to constantly remind them that it’s really not the same here. They counter that this is how it started. I call to your attention the case of Joey Borgen, a Jew who was savagely beaten by thugs who targeted him for his religion. One of them, who beat Joey four times with a crutch as he lay on the pavement, is getting very lenient treatment form our DA, Alvin Bragg. We cannot let this pass unnoted. Please follow the attachment for the response we must render. Jewish lives are not cheap - see below.


Let us always use Miriam and Bina as examples of how we turn hatred to love, darkness to light, and evil to faith. At the same time we must be vigilant and strong to fight back against those who would do us harm.


Stay well and safe.

Rabbi Allen Schwartz   




Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200 | Fax 212.663-3635



Message from Daniel Feder, Upper West Side

On May 20th, 2021 Joseph Borgen, a Jewish young man, was on his way to a Pro Israel rally in Times Square. He exited the subway wearing his kippah whereupon an individual began to chase him. Before he could react he was surrounded by a Pro Palestinian mob and was viciously set upon, beaten, pepper sprayed and stomped on. Borgen reported from the hospital that," I have bruises all over my body. I have a black eye. My face is banged up...They were kicking me in my ribs, my stomach." As a result of his injuries Jospeh suffers chronic pain and emotional trauma. One of the perpetrators, Waseem Awawdeh, was arrested for repeatedly and savagely smashing his crutch into Joseph while screaming anti semitic slurs. He told another inmate in jail: " If I could do it again, I would to it again."

The Manhattan District Attorneys office has declined to fully prosecute Mr. Awawdeh. In fact, contrary to the wishes of the Borgen family and other elected officials, the D.A. has offered Mr. Awawdeh a plea deal consisting of 6 months jail time. The next court date is scheduled for March 9th to determine the outcome of this plea.

This slap on the wrist is a miscarriage of justice and does nothing to discourage further attacks on members of the Jewish Community. We demand that the District Attorney's office prosecutes Mr. Awawdeh's attack as a hate crime and seeks the maximum punishment under law for this crime.

Please sign this petition and forward to friends and family alike. 

Click here:

Fri, July 19 2024 13 Tammuz 5784