Friday, February 11, 2022

Statement from Leo Ferguson, Director of Strategic Projects at Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, on NYPD's arrest of a 15-year-old boy for a recent antisemitic assault.

"Jews should be able to walk the streets of our beloved city, and pray and study and live as who we are, free from violence. The tragedy of antisemitic violence will not be alleviated, however, by bringing a 15-year old into our dystopian criminal legal system. Compounding harm with harm is not a Jewish value. These awful attacks on Jewish New Yorkers demonstrate an enormous unmet need for hate violence prevention programs, and the arrest of a 15-year-old reveals that our public safety system is poorly suited to appropriately heal this wound.

Maimonides tells us that Jews have a duty to forgive someone who repents. New York badly needs a pre-trial restorative justice program that would allow for this process of confrontation, education, and reconciliation. Data, our traditions, and common sense show us that arresting children will not repair our communities — we need a better way. May Shabbat bring us peace. May we look out for, love, and care for our neighbors."

- Leo Ferguson, JFREJ Director of Strategic Projects