By Rachel Vick
A bigoted vandal scattered anti-Semitic flyers near the Norman Street entrance to the Halsey Street L station in Ridgewood on Wednesday night, the latest in a series of anti-Semitic incidents throughout Queens over the past year.
NYPD officers from the 104th Precinct responded to the subway station, located just over the border from Bushwick, after a 56-year-old man came in to report the flyer. The paper contained an image of a head wearing a kippah, a religious head covering worn by Jews, with "Worthless F---ing Cancer Filled Jew" typed across the page.
Ridgewood Chabad Co-Director Rabbi Nachum Sarytchev said he was blindsided and appalled by the anti-semitic incident occurring in a neighborhood he considers to be “generally friendly” and where he had not encountered previous anti-Semitic incidents.
“I couldn’t believe it happened in Ridgewood. Such a thing has never happened in the last 20 years of me working here,” Sarytchev said. “It happened in a place where I know a few Jewish families live, which is even more painful. My congregants are scared."
Despite an overall decrease in crime, an NYPD report from May 2019 showed an 82 percent increase in anti-Semitic crimes in the first quarter of 2019 and a 67 percent increase in total hate crimes.
Hate crimes increased in the city by 64 percent since June 2018, with anti-Semitic hate crimes accounting for 60 percent of all report hate crimes, according to data from the NYPD cited by the Mayor’s Office in a June report on the city’s new Office of Hate Crime Prevention.
“We’re aware of the incident and are taking this very seriously,” said ADL Associate Regional Director for NY/NJ Rachel Grinspan. “It’s concerning and appalling that [the flyer] was found in Queens.”
Grinspan said the incident contributes to an “inflammatory environment,” and that documented events are included in numbers reported by their Center on Extremism.
The NYPD Hate Crimes unit was notified of the incident. There are no reported suspects and the investigation is ongoing.