The Town of North Hempstead trustees unanimously approved the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism during Wednesday night’s public meeting.
The resolution, which keeps in line with the town’s “Not In Our Town” initiative to combat hate and intolerance, recognizes the working definition of antisemitism in a clear, definitive way.
It also provides examples of rhetorical and physical hatred and intolerance towards those of Jewish or non-Jewish descent, property, institution, and religious structures.
North Hempstead now joins the Town of Hempstead, Town of Oyster Bay, and the City of Glen Cove as the municipalities throughout Long Island to adopt the working definition.
“The Working Definition can serve as an educational tool in schools and be used for training town staff and officials,” American Jewish Committee Regional Director Eric Post said. “In an environment where 48 percent of Americans don’t know what the term antisemitism means and hate crimes continue to rise, there is a great deal of education that needs to be done.”
“By adopting this anti-Semitism definition, we have further emphasized that North Hempstead is a place of unity and inclusiveness for all,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said. “
The resolution came in the aftermath of a handful of anti-Semitic attacks throughout the North Shore.
A Temple Beth-El virtual Torah study event was interrupted by anti-Semitic intruders on Feb. 13.
A joint statement from Temple Beth-El President Gary Slobin and Executive Director Stuart Botwinick said several unknown people logged onto the Shabbat Torah study Zoom event and proceeded to “post offensive material and speak words of hate.” The event was promptly ended, according to the statement, and the police were contacted to investigate.
Officials said that they did not believe Temple Beth-El, located at 5 Old Mill Road in Great Neck, was a target for any specific reason other than its role as a Jewish temple. Officials said they are working with the temple’s security consultants to ensure incidents such as this do not occur again.
“As Jews, we have experienced hatred and antisemitism in our history … and we know the importance of being strong and proudly standing up in our own defense,” the statement said. “While there will always be moments of darkness and acts of evil, our community will stand united, strong and never bend to intimidation. May we continue to go from strength to strength.”
Officials from the Nassau County Police Department’s 6th Precinct said that the investigation was ongoing.
In December, the North Shore Hebrew Academy High School’s website was the victim of a hacking scheme featuring anti-Semitic images, messages and songs.
Pictures and videos from StopAntisemitism.org, a nonprofit whose mission holds “antisemites accountable” and creates “consequences for bigoted actions” were posted on Dec. 14. The video featured the home page of the school’s website with Nazi soldiers marching in the background.
In October, unidentified vandals spray-painted 12 swastikas after breaking into the Port Washington Police Athletic League’s Sunset Park clubhouse.
PAL Executive Director Rob Elkins said that the vandals found a can of red spray paint in the clubhouse and sprayed swastikas “all over the inside of the building, on-field equipment, on balls and bats, on the bathroom walls, on our tractor, and on the front door to the building.”
Investigations of the incidents at the North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and the Police Athletic League are continuing.