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Rabbi’s Blog: Breaking Norms

04/01/2024 12:58:05 PM


Dear OZ family,


We’ve been saying for years that, “It can’t happen here”. The norm in so many places in Europe, South America, and Australia, for so long, of the presence of guards at the front of synagogues and schools, is now the norm here. In many shuls, you can’t enter on Shabbos morning, unless you call in advance and forward a copy of identification. The relative calm after the Holocaust for Jews has been shattered. Anti-Israel protests are erupting everywhere and they are getting violent. An event this evening in Teaneck, in support of Zaka, has inspired a protest (see attachment below). Imagine that. Zaka works to give final dignity to human remains found at the scenes of terrorism, and their work engenders counter-protests. The world is upside-down, and we must be vigilant in the face of such utter outrage. That means to keep our elected officials aware of our outrage.


That includes our DA Alvin Bragg. Please read the attachment below on tomorrow’s and Wednesday’s court appearances for Yehia Amin, Matthew Mahrer, Christopher Brown, and Maxwell Friedman. When members of our community attend, we get better results. These are bad players who planned attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions and we must see to it that the full extent of the law comes down on them for their crimes. We must actively react to the lies, misconceptions and crimes of our adversaries to assure that “It doesn’t happen here”. 


Stay well and healthy

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



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            On this Tuesday and Wednesday, we again have the opportunity to show Jewish communal concern  at Manhattan court hearings for those who attacked or planned to attack Jews.


        TUESDAY, APRIL 2nd, 9:30 am, is the the hearing for Yehia Amin at the court at 111 Centre Street, Part 61, room 928.  Lynne & Nessim Tammin write:  Amin attacked an Israeli tourist in Times Square on October 18, 2023.   Amin stalked the victim who was walking with his friends, all of whom were wearing yarmulkes, harassed them with anti-semitic slurs, and then physically assaulted the victim.  After Amin started to run away, the victim and his friends chased him and were aided by a policeman who arrested him (NYPost, 12/5/23). 


            WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3rd - 9:30 am, are hearings for Matthew Mahrer and Christoper Brown, and for Maxwell Friedman. Mahrer & Brown will be in Part 32 at 100 Centre Street, room 1300. We've been closely following Mahrer and Brown since their November 2022 arrest with an enhanced gun, ammunition, body armor and a swastika patch in their possession, after threatening online to imminently attack a synagogue.  A trial date may well be set at this hearing, and we should concentrate our forces here. 


            The illegal gun supplier, Jamil Hakime, was sentenced some weeks ago in a federal court to 27 months in a federal prison; from the bench, the judge acknowledge the presence of our court observer group.  


            In the same building, 100 Centre Street, in part F on the second floor, there will be another hearing for Maxwell Friedman.  Court begins at 9:30 am; we don't know when this case will be called, but do expect that it will be adjourned again.  Lynne and Nessim recall that last October 11th Friedman attacked an Israeli  Columbia University student who was hanging flyers about those kidnapped by Hamas.


            Lynne and Nessim correctly urge all of us to call call District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office at 212-335-9000 (his email is and 1) thank him for his ongoing prosecution of hate crimes against the Jewish community, and 2) tell him how important it is that Matthew Mahrer and Christopher Brown  are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  


            Please also tell DA Bragg that  the possible expungement of Maxwell Friedman's record should NOT be part of any possible plea deal. 


            - Glenn Richter


Sat, April 13 2024 5 Nisan 5784