FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27th, 2022
CONTACT: Sophie Ellman-Golan | | 501-621-4483

New York, NY – Today, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, The New York State Senate’s Republican Minority Leader Rob Ortt will join Councilmember Vicki Paladino in an anti-bail reform press conference. Councilmember Paladino previously made news when she earned the support of local Proud Boys and neo-Nazis during her campaign and offensively compared COVID-19 vaccine mandates to the Holocaust. COVID-19 remains, by far, the most significant threat to public safety, having taken 161 lives just yesterday. Like incarceration, COVID-19 has disproportionately harmed Black and Latinx people and people in poverty. The Proud Boys is a violent far-right group whose founder once published a list entitled “10 Things I Hate About Jews.” In response, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) released the following statement:

“It is unconscionable that on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Senator Ortt would stand alongside a politician who courted the support of neo-Nazis and the Proud Boys. On this day, we are supposed to remember and mourn the six million Jews, along with millions of non-Jews, including: Polish and Serbian people; people with disabilities; LGBTQ people; Roma; and communists, socialists and other political dissidents murdered by the Nazis. The fact that they are joining together to call for expanding the mass incarceration of racially and economically oppressed people at Rikers Island and other jails without trial, only makes their press conference more offensive. We call on Senator Ortt to condemn Councilmember Paladino, and end his campaign to undo common-sense bail reforms, which have protected countless New Yorkers from the well-documented dangers of incarceration. We urge Senator Ortt to take real and meaningful steps to improve community safety by promoting COVID vaccines and masks, supporting hate violence prevention efforts and refusing to align with allies of the Proud Boys, expanding affordable and supportive housing, and creating universal access to quality mental health care and drug treatment for New Yorkers hit hardest by this pandemic.”


Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) is a 6,000-member grassroots organization and the home of New York’s Jewish Left. For over 30 years, JFREJ members have organized alongside our neighbors to win an equitable NYC free from all forms of racist violence, where everyone has the freedom, opportunity, and resources they need to thrive.

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) is a vibrant spiritual community and a progressive voice within Judaism. Founded in 1973, CBST attracts and welcomes gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, non-binary, queer and straight individuals and families who share common values. Passionate, provocative, and deeply Jewish, CBST champions a Judaism that rejoices in diversity, denounces social injustice wherever it exists, and strives for human rights for all people.