Jewish Post


By Henry Levy

20240531-mayor-adams-reception-jewish-heritage Some of those celebrating Jewish Heritage Day at Gracie Mansion

On Wedneday, May 29, 2024 Mayor Adams hosted the annual reception celebrating Jewish heritage at Gracie Mansion. An overflow crowd enjoyedkosher Jewish treats and were privileged to hear from some remarkable speakers that were being honored.

Consul General Ofir Akunis, Consulate General of Israel in New York: He thanked Mayor Adams for being the first official to welcome him to his new post and called him a brave leader who is a great supporter of Israel and stands against the axis of evil on behalf of the whole free world. Akunis said,.” Antisemitism has increased by more than 300 percent since October 7th. This is unbelievable. Masking all this hate has been an effort to whitewash antisemitic attacks as simply as free speech. Do you think (the protestors) they are speaking in the streets in the name of freedom of speech, calling for death to America? It’s not freedom of speech, it’s freedom of hate. We must stop it now.”

He added, “There is another issue where we need to be loud. There are still over 120 hostages chained in Hamas captivity. They have been there for almost eight months. We are fighting to bring them home, and we are fighting for the free world, and we are saying from here, let my people go. Moses, he was a brave leader, he stood in front of the Egyptian king, Pharaoh, and he said to Pharaoh, let my people go.” It is important to remember this so that such things do not happen again in the U.S. or Europe or anywhere else.

Mayor Eric Adams: In discussing what type of country we are going to live in said, “on Monday (Memorial Day) we honored the men and women of the armed forces. I shared with them we sit under the tree of freedom because they watered that tree with their blood. I also shared with them the significance of who they are as I looked across the room on the Intrepid and saw children and families sitting next to each other. I reflected on what is the next generation of soldiers? What’s the next generation of police officers? What’s the next generation of leaders of our amazing country?

Dr. Shoshan Haran holding poster of her son-in-law Tal Shoham still held as a Hostage by Hamas

Adams noted that only 18 percent of young people between the age of 18 and 34 love America and that on our college campuses we’re radicalizing our children, not only to hate Jewish people, but to hate the country that they’re educated in in the first place and he said, “I’m not going to sit back and allow this to happen to the country that I love.” He added that we have normalized hate in our globe and we’ve normalized antisemitism and normalized going after groups because of who they are and what they respect. “Hate has no place in our city. It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish. It doesn’t matter if you are Muslim. It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian. It doesn’t matter if you’re Sikh. We know it is time for us to embrace the humanity that makes us who and what we are. That’s what this day is about. New York won’t be a city where one has to fear wearing a yarmulke or hijab or turban or dashiki on our streets. He concluded, “There is more of us than there is of them. The loudest is not the majority. I want you to join me as we honor those who made sure to state hate has no place in the great City of New York, in the great country of America, in the great land of Israel. Thank you very much.”

Scott “Scooter” Braun is the person who brought the Nova Music Festival Exhibit to New York City where it is currently available to be seen through June 16th in lower Manhattan at 35 Wall Street. Scooter said, “I’m here on behalf of myself and the team from Nova. There are, in this room, I actually see my friend Tomer there who is a survivor of the Nova Music Festival. When I realized that these young people who had lived through the largest music massacre in history, with over 360 killed and over 40 hostages, I realized that my own industry that I had worked in for over 20 years was staying silent. I became angry. I looked at a friend of mine who some of you might know, Joe Teplow, and I said, we need to do something. We should bring this memorial, we should bring it to New York, we should bring it to LA, we should bring it around the entire United States and make people understand that this could have been them. This could have been Governors Ball, this could have been Coachella, this could have been any music festival in the world. These kids like Tomer and his friends deserve to be heard and they deserve to be respected. Their friends who are still waiting to this day, those hostages need to be brought home.”

Mayor Adams and Scott “Scooter” Braun Mayor Adams presenting an award to Scott "Scooter" Braun

He added, “I’ve spoken to a lot of young people, I’ve seen them at the Nova exhibit, I’ve spoken to them around the country. They are scared, they don’t know what to do. I just want to leave you guys with this thought, that this is the Jewish Heritage celebration. While it seems scary and while antisemitism is on the rise, every Jew in the last thousand years would switch places with you right now. Antisemitism is as it always has been and as it always will be unfortunately. The difference is we don’t need to hide. We don’t need to be ashamed and we are stronger than we’ve ever been. We have a nation, we have a nation here. We are a strong people and we are a proud people. With that strength, we’ll stand with poise. As my dad told me as a kid, he said, when there’s no man in the room, stand up and be a man. I’m very proud to be Jewish. I’m very proud to be an American. I’m very proud to bring Nova to this amazing city.”

Dr. Shoshan Haran, Founder and President, Fair Planet said, “I work in Africa for the benefit of small-holder farmers to improve their farming productivity and exit the cycle of poverty and hunger. I was born to the founders of Kibbutz Be’eri. I grew up. I raised my family there. Although I had an international career, I always stayed in the kibbutz.

On the last day of Sukkot, when we celebrate our historical freedom, we went to sleep with all our guests in my home. In the morning of October 7th, we were attacked by Hamas terrorists who occupied my kibbutz, who broke into our house. They tried to break into the safe room through the door. Steel-penetrating bullets that flew above my head. They couldn’t break through, and then they went out and brought a bulldozer and cracked our safe room window.

We had three seconds to decide if to surrender or die. We decided to surrender. My husband and Tal, my son-in-law, opened the window, and we were taken hostages by Hamas. I’m not allowed to talk about the conditions that we were held during these 50 days, but I can tell you that I’m a passionate reader, and I read a lot of Holocaust survivors’ books. I used all their wisdom to survive in captivity and save my daughter, my grandkids. Yahel is three years old. Naveh is eight years old. I was there with my sister-in-law and a 12-year-old daughter.

I used the wisdom of the people who survived the Holocaust to survive these 50 horrible days. Now that I am released, my mission is to help release Tal Shoham, my son-in-law, who is still there, 237 cruel days with all the other hostages. This is my mission. I’m traveling all over the world. I spoke in the U.N. Security Council.

I want to use this opportunity to thank the Jewish community here that helped me do all these efforts. I always understood that we are am echad, we are one people. We need each other. We in Israel need you. I believe that you need us. Together, we will survive. They murdered my husband. They murdered my sister. They murdered 101 members of my kibbutz. But our spirit is not broken. We are fighting. We are resilient. We need to bring them home now.”

Montana Tucker is a social media influencer with over 3 million followers on Instagram and 9 million on Tik Tok. She said, “I am a singer, dancer, actress, but most importantly, I’m a proud Jew. I am the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Scooter is also the grandson of Holocaust survivors. This is in our blood. This is what we are meant to do. Anybody who is Jewish and is not speaking out for Jews and for Israel, I don’t know what you’re doing because this is what we have to do. There’s no other option.

Mayor Adams with influencer Montana Tucker Mayor Adams presenting an award to Montana Tucker

Our ancestors, my grandparents, it didn’t matter how rich you were, how successful you were, if you were Jewish when the Holocaust happened, you had no power. But Jews nowadays, we have power. We are strong. We are resilient. We are incredible people. We have voices. We must continue to use them in any way, shape, and form.

I will continue to use my platform to stand up for Jews, to combat antisemitism, for all forms of hate, and to continue to call for the release of the hostages. Thank you all so much for this honor. I love being Jewish. Am Yisrael Chai.”

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