Monday, April 30, 2012

“Rabbi” As a Pejorative is Now Acceptable?

One of my staff members took a call this week from a student at Brooklyn College who was phoning to complain of an incident in class that left her and some of her fellow students shaken.

During a lecture by one of her professors, a classmate of this young woman’s asked the professor to clarify a point he had made.

“Stop being such a rabbi,” the professor replied, clearly annoyed.

“What does that mean?” asked the student.

“You’re being so technical about everything.”

What exactly is it that emboldens a professor to speak this way to a student in front of a class? Can it be that this negative attitude towards rabbis—and Orthodox Judaism in general—has become acceptable on this campus? Is this example being set by someone in power at Brooklyn College?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We All Need More Simcha

This picture is worth a thousand words, but let me add this:

On Tuesday, community-wide leaders across our entire community turned out to endorse and support NYC Deputy Comptroller Simcha Felder for the new State Senate "Super Jewish" District seat. This was truly a historical moment that can lead to a historical opportunity.

Simcha was my former Chief of Staff and went on to be enormously successful in serving the community as City Councilman. He is trustworthy, honorable, a man of his word. A life-long member of our community who has proven his dedication to community needs time and again.

We’ve already accomplished so much in Albany this year for the community—from CAP to transportation for our yeshiva students. But there’s still so much more to do, especially during these difficult times. We have to stay united as a community and we also need the government as our partner. Our job as elected officials is to see to it that our community gets its fair share. This is really starting to happen now and with myself in the Assembly, Councilman Greenfield on the City Council, and G-d willing Simcha Felder in the State Senate, we will bring home the Pastrami.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New York State Senator John Sampson

I had a good meeting with my friend and colleague, New York State Senator John Sampson this afternoon in Albany where we discussed the needs of our respective communities. I’m hoping Senator Sampson will appear soon on my radio show—my constituents would love to hear him.


The shaimos discovered in an abandoned truck in Borough Park has now been properly buried.

All shaimos found in and scattered around the vehicle were taken by Rabbi Yosef Schwartz, head of the Prag Yeshiva in Monroe and owner of Beth Genizah. Beth Genizah is located in Sullivan County, New York, and overseen by the Vaad L’mishmeres Hashaimos.

The shaimos has now been properly buried in a container in Monticello. I’m grateful to Rabbi Schwartz for volunteering to take the shaimos to his facilities. There was no end of members of the community eager to help. This story touched everyone—we all felt shocked and victimized. Now that we’ve rectified this particular incident, we must work together to make certain it doesn’t happen again.

Some Thoughts on Rory Lancman and Israel

Marc Tracy at Tablet Magazine interviewed me yesterday regarding, among other things, my friend and colleague Assemblyman Rory Lancman.  

Power Broker Hikind Praises Rory Lancman

The Rep. Anthony Weiner bonanza; redistricting; and the impending retirement of Rep. Gary Ackerman have raised the possibility that New York City will go from having had four Jewish U.S. congressmen one year ago to only two (or, under a less likely scenario, one). Moreover, if Rory Lancman fails to defeat Grace Meng in the Democratic primary for Ackerman’s old seat, there will be no Jewish congressmen from Queens, and only Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s gerrymandered slice of Borough Park will maintain Jewish representation of Brooklyn in the House of Representatives.

Dov Hikind, a state assemblyman from Borough Park since 1982, seemed like a good person to speak with about this situation. A Democratic Orthodox Jew, he backed Rep. Bob Turner, the non-Jewish Republican, over Mark Weprin to replace Weiner in the soon-to-be-defunct Ninth District, for much the same reason as Hizzoner Ed Koch: to send a message to President Obama on Israel. Hikind sounded a similar note yesterday.

“It’s not just that we need a Moskowitz there,” he said—maybe or maybe not intentionally using the Jewish surname of the current Brooklyn borough president. “It’s having a real friend. And sometimes, not all people who happen to be Jewish, as far as I’m concerned, are real friends.” Of Lancman, he opined, “There’s no question on his record, his outspokenness, his willingness to stand up for relations between Israel and the United States. He is as solid as they come.”

As examples of Jews who were not necessarily “real friends,” Hikind cited several Jewish Democratic congresspersons (none from New York) who last week signed a J Street-backed letter calling on the administration to push for a two-state solution. “I want a person there who’s committed,” he continued, “who goes beyond the call of duty, who understands the significance of the relationship between the United States and Israel, who understands that Israel finds herself surrounded by neighbors who are enemies.” Hikind has not endorsed anybody in the primary to replace Ackerman, though his fellow assemblyman Lancman has asked for his backing.

“Lancman is fabulous when it comes to Israel,” Hikind said. “Nobody has to give him a crash course on what the situation is in the Middle East. He has a record of speaking out—not being afraid of being critical of even a Democratic president.” (Lancman said of Obama last month, “I haven’t been pleased or satisfied with his policies or views on Israel.”) Hikind added, “Lancman understands the Jewish community in his heart. From Israel to a lot of other issues, he’s a solid guy. He really understands.”

Does Meng, his Queens Democratic Party-backed opponent, share Lancman’s understanding? “You’d have to talk to her,” Hikind replied.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Charles Finkelstein, Esquire--Civil Court Judge candidate--On the Radio

We were delighted to have Charles Finkelstein, Esquire, as a guest on “The Dov Hikind Show” last Saturday evening. Charles is a candidate for Civil Court Judge in District 5. We look forward to hearing more good news from Charles.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Super Jewish Press Conference...

Councilman Greenfield and I are looking forward to a Super Jewish Press Conference tomorrow for candidate Simcha Felder. We will be joined by Rabbinic leaders, Mosdos and Askonim in a show of genuine unity for Simcha. Stay tuned for details.

Dov Hikind and Simcha Felder discuss the past, present and--most importantly--the future on "The Dov Hikind Show".
As I've recently noted here, in addition to his success as a former City Councilman, Simcha Felder was my chief of my staff for many years. I am very excited that he is running for public office again. One of our recent goals has been to unite behind a single candidate who will most effectively represent our community. So I am delighted that Simcha is running for this important new seat. Simcha is sensitive, extremely intelligent, and both passionate and compassionate. We are fortunate to have him as our candidate.


Assemblymen Rory Lancman (left) with Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
Despite the rain, there was an impressive turn-out at the Yom Hashoah vigil yesterday in front of the Iranian Mission to the United Nations. I was delighted to be joined by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, and Congressman Bob Turner, as well as Assemblymen Rory Lancman and David Weprin.

The number of young people present was noticeably greater than last year. That’s very important because the essence of remembering the tragedy of the Shoah—and learning form it—now rests with the next generation. I’m grateful to the Yom Hashoah Mobilization Committee for putting this event together.

As we see from regular news reports, the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program and anti-Semitic rhetoric is very real and a day commemorating our international tragedy is an important reminder that we are never safe from those who would destroy us.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I will be speaking at the Yom Hashoah vigil which will take place this Sunday at noon in front of the Iranian Mission to the United Nations on Third Avenue and E. 40th Street (622 Third Ave., Manhattan). Members of the Jewish community and others, led by the Yom Hashoah Mobilization Committee will gather to commemorate the millions of innocent people who perished in the Holocaust. The public and our elected officials must be constantly reminded of the imminent danger posed by Iran’s nuclear program and anti-Semitic rhetoric.


My friend Yehudah Meth is MC'ing this important local event, which I'm delighted to support.
The Sussex County Marine Corps. League (Detachment 747), the American Legion Post 278 of Stanhope, the VFW Post 2347 of Netcong, and the Stanhope Police Department have combined forces to assist Officer Joseph Johnson—a veteran and local policeman—with desperately needed medical funds. The combined efforts will culminate in BAND AID, an all-day musical festival and fund-raising effort on Sunday April 22 at the Stanhope House, 45 Main St., Stanhope, NJ. 100% of all proceeds will go to offset the rising medical needs of Joseph Johnson. Johnson, a Marine Corp. combat veteran who was honorably discharged after serving in Iraq, joined the Stanhope Police Dept. in 2008. This year, his 2-1/2 year old son Joey was diagnosed with Stage-4 Glioblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer that mostly strikes adult males over the age of 50.

“Times are tough for all of us, but few of us are facing anything as serious as this,” said David Vnenchak, Sr. Vice Commandant of the Marine Corps League Det. 747. “Everyone in our community is making an effort to help in at least some small way. By attending this event, you’re showing appreciation for someone who served our country and continues to serve our community. Let’s help him get his little boy better.”

The Stanhope House will open at noon for a full eight hours of music, food and beverages, with six different area bands filling the stage. Door prizes from theatre tickets to restaurant dinners have been provided by numerous local merchants. Jon Klein, owner of The Stanhope House, donated the use of the historic blue club for the occasion. Pre-sale BAND AID tickets are available for $25 per ticket ($40 at the door). Please make checks payable to THE JOEY FUND, 24 Main St., Stanhope, NJ 07874. For more information, email or phone 973-551-0192


State Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein will both be guests on "The Dov Hikind Show" this Saturday evening, motzei Shabbos, at 11 pm, where we will all discuss the many positive things achieved recently in Albany for the Jewish community.

In addition, my special guest will be NYC Deputy Comptroller Simcha Felder, who recently announced his intention to run for the new State Senate "Super Jewish" district seat. Simcha was my chief of my staff for many years and I was excited to hear that he is running for public office again. One of our recent goals has been to unite behind one candidate who will most effectively represent our community.  I am thrilled that Simcha is running for this seat.  He is sensitive, extremely intelligent, and both passionate and compassionate. I am personally very excited to have him in this race.”

Tune in at 11pm to WMCA 570 AM.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why A Holocaust Remembrance Day?

As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I don’t need to be reminded about the Holocaust. My father was sent to a forced labor camp. My mother was in Auschwitz. She remembers. I remember.

But today, there are fewer and fewer elderly survivors of the Holocaust who remain to tell the story. And there are monsters like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the little Hitler, who would not only rewrite history but repeat that history.

Those who would destroy us have an agenda. Those who would survive have an obligation. As George Santayana warned us, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

So we have to remember the Shoah. It’s our obligation. There were too many “good people” who closed their eyes and turned their heads when it was occurring and we must learn our lessons from what is really very recent history.

May the memory of the six million martyrs always remind us that we need to be there for each other and to protect each other—now and always.

Meet the 66th Precinct's New Commanding Officer Michael Deddo

Tonight there’s an opportunity for everyone to welcome the 66th Precinct’s new Commanding Officer Michael Deddo at the monthly 66th Precinct Community Council meeting (at 5910 13th Ave., 7:30 pm). I’m just delighted that Deputy Inspector Deddo is taking the helm in the 66th—we’ve worked together many times and I’m sure he’ll be a superstar!

In addition to meeting Deputy Inspector Deddo, the Community Council meetings are open to the public and are excellent opportunities to discuss any crime concerns and learn about what’s going on in the community.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


The truck full of shaimos which was apparently abandoned in Borough Park will be impounded by law enforcement. My staff and I are working with numerous people to assure the proper burial of the shaimos while the person responsible for its abandonment is sought. I want to thank Yanky Meyer of Misaskim for his help, as well as everyone who called my office offering to assist.


A resident of the community called my office to complain of a van that had been parked in the community since Pesach. When one of my staff members went to investigate, he discovered a van with out-of-state license plates that had received several parking tickets. A look inside revealed that the back of the van was full of boxes containing shaimos (books or other sacred objects which can no longer be used but may not be destroyed).

This is not the first time that con artists have pulled this kind of stunt. The disposal of shaimos is often done around Pesach when people are cleaning and they have no idea who it is that’s accepting their packages of shaimos on the streets. It’s a cash-and-carry business that’s ripe for scammers. What an absolute disgrace.

My staff and I are working with local law enforcement who are looking into the matter. I'll keep you posted as Further announcements will be made as this story develops.

Would-Be Subway Bomber Calls Bomb-Making 'Simple' While Ray Kelly & NYPD Make NYC Safer

The would-be terrorist who plotted to attack New York City subways testified today that al-Qaida trainers taught him a “very simple” formula for making explosives needed for suicide bombs. He said after being recruited by the terror network, he was trained in Pakistan to, among other things, mix chemicals found in nail polish remover and other products sold at beauty supply stores.

“It was very simple and they’re everywhere,” said 26-year-old Najibullah Zazi of the chemicals. Prosecutors allege that Zazi and other high school classmates from Queens formed a terror cell that posed one of the worst terror threats since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Zazi has testified that his cell—all Americans—met a top al-Qaida operative that authorities identify as Adnan Shukrijumah, a Saudi still wanted by the FBI as a fugitive who plotted attacks for al-Qaida worldwide. Shukrijumah and Zazi considered potential targets including the New York Stock Exchange, Times Square, and an unspecified Walmart store, Zazi said. The men selected the subway because “it’s the heart of everything in New York City,” Zazi said today.

While Zazi and other dangerous radicals were plotting to kill New Yorkers, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has been doing an outstanding job protecting us. As The New York Post points out, Commissioner Kelly’s legacy to date is:

* Murders have dropped 77% since their peak in 1990, from 2,245 to 551 last year.
* Burglaries are down 85%.
* Car thefts are down nearly 100% from 150,000 to just 9,300.
* The NYPD has thwarted 14 separate terror plots against New York since the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Let Ray Kelly and the NYPD do their jobs because they do them very well!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Milling & Paving of 50th Street in Boro Park Begins Monday

Milling and paving of 50th Street from 8th Avenue to 20th Avenue will be reconstructed starting with milling on Monday, April 23. All milling work is expected to complete by April 27. Traffic will be rerouted for the times the work is being done. Paving is planned to begin within three weeks after completion of milling. No parking signs will be placed one day prior to milling. Cars that are not moved will be towed and relocated within the area.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Community Board office at 718-851-0800.

CUNY Launches Investigation into Allegations of Discrimination at Brooklyn College

Late last week I received a letter from Chancellor Matthew Goldstein explaining that The City University of New York was looking into the recent allegations that were made against Provost William A. Tramontano by senior members of Brooklyn College’s staff. Chancellor Goldstein’s letter noted that Frederick Schaffer, Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and CUNY general counsel, had been asked to oversee the review of these allegations; that Mr. Schaffer would be doing so together with Bettina Plevan, a partner of the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP’s labor and employment law department and co-head of both its international labor and employment group and class/collective action groups.

This morning, I also spoke with Chancellor Goldstein who assured me that this will be a comprehensive investigation.

I’ve known Chancellor Goldstein for many years and take him at his word.

Of course I will certainly continue to follow and report on this investigation. My fellow legislators and I are looking forward to CUNY’s report.

Monday, April 16, 2012


I was pleased to just receive notice from DOT Commissioner Joe Palmieri that repairs along 50th Street between 13th and 14th Avenues have been pushed up on the schedule and are now expected to begin the end of next week, not in early July as the DOT initially planned.

Again, I’m grateful to the Commissioner for responding so quickly to our needs for these repairs. I also want to thank Council Members David Greenfield and Brad Lander for their involvement in this issue which impacts our entire community.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I'm delighted to announce that the Commissioner of the DOT has given our community a solid commitment to begin critical repairs along 50th Street between 13th and 14th Avenues in early July, after school terms are complete so as not to disrupt the community.

50th Street is in the heart of our community but its conditions became dreadful. It was unacceptable to have our children riding in school buses, commuters on the B11 bus, and residents and shoppers all risking their lives each time they traveled this street.

In October, I met with representatives from the New York City Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection to discuss the critical repairs needed along 50th St. with the goal of making the street safer. I personally surveyed the area with DOT Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Joseph Palmieri and followed-up with the Department of Environmental Protection, as well.

The DOT responded by repaving the street in late November to diminish the danger while committing to complete additional repairs after a thorough examination of the street’s conditions by the DEP.

I’m grateful to Commissioner Palmieri for responding quickly and thoroughly to our needs for repairs. I also want to thank Council Members David Greenfield and Brad Lander for assistance in this issue. We know a lot more work must be done throughout our community, but this is another step in the right direction.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Changing of the Guard at 66th Precinct

I want to take this opportunity to welcome Mike Dedo as the new Commanding Officer of the 66th Precinct. We also wish John Sprague all the best on his new assignment in Staten Island. John was fabulous and we’re all going to miss him.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Internet Smearing: The Good Doesn't Undo the Bad

Individuals close to the editor of B’chadrei Charedim—a man accused of blackmail and extortion through reputation manipulation on his website—have announced that the editor’s release from jail will allow him to level explosive charges of his own against the Chareidi world. As if enough damage hasn’t been done.

At the same time, this individual's family members are now describing him to newspapers as "a simple man"—a man who took on financial responsibility for his family at an early age in order to help his elderly mother. It reminds me of a book by Robert Rockaway about the history of Jewish gangsters during the Great Depression. The book But They Were Good to their Mothers recalls some of the kinder acts of mobsters like Bugsy Siegel, Longy Zwillman and Moe Dalitz.

No one is denying that these men may have been good to their mothers. But they were still cold-blooded killers.

It's duplicitous to paint gangsters as heroes in any regard. And telling us what a nice man an extortionist is doesn’t let him off the hook.

Worse, B’chadrei Charedim was purportedly edited by observant Jews for observant Jews. I fear the chillul Hashem is that much worse when the world at large associates criminal activities with those who are purportedly Torah observant.

Some are calling this the largest blackmail scheme ever to take place in Israel. It's certainly one of the worst.

How unfortunate would it be if we discovered a website dedicated to our own community engaging in similar practices, smearing Jews and purposely misreporting about them because of some hidden agenda or another.

The truth has a way of surfacing.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Digital Extortion: The Protection Racket Comes of Age

It’s Chillul Hashem at its worst… and with the widest possible audience!

No words can adequately describe how disgusted I am to read headlines regarding B’Chadrei Chareidim, a website presumably run by and for members of the Orthodox Jewish community. To say that this is an embarrassment of epic proportions in an understatement! The internet racketeering practiced by these criminals is a disgrace to all of us.

There are now five arrests in what appears to be Israel’s largest blackmail case. Commander Niso Shaham of the Jerusalem District Police told the Israel National News, “People were held hostage by those who committed this grievous act and we hope that once the site is no longer in operation, the dam will burst and people will be free to tell their stories without fears of receiving negative press from B’Chadrei Chareidim.”

B’Chadrei Chareidim wrote positively about people and businesses who paid them to do so and smeared (or threatened to smear) those who didn’t.

Does anyone remember Louis Lepke? He started out in the protection racket in Brooklyn and eventually got the electric chair. Another Jew who sadly lost touch with the things that the Al-mighty expects of the Jewish people.

But Lepke did not pretend to be a Torah Observant Jew.

Orthodox Jewish Websites that cater to our community should practice the very highest levels of journalistic integrity. From what I’ve seen Vosizneias and several others report honestly. But there are some who don't. So given some of the clear bias we all see on certain other "Orthodox" websites, the questions start to arise: Who is paying who?

More Racial Bias at Brooklyn College?

To be clear: I did not bring allegations against Brooklyn College Provost William A. Tramontano. Those complaints were brought by the staff and faculty of Brooklyn College. You can hear Professor Hershey Friedman, Deputy Chair of the Dept. of Finance and Business Management at Brooklyn College discussing the matter in detail in this recorded interview. You can also hear Brooklyn College's Communications Director Jeremy Thompson attempt to defend the allegations against Tramontano in this recorded response.

Twenty of my fellow legislators have asked CUNY Chancellor Mathew Goldstein to look into these charges and, in light of the number of complaints we've received (and how CUNY has not stemmed the tide of these complaints until now) we asked for an independent investigation. Carl Campanile of The New York Post reports that Chancellor Goldstein has now "ordered a legal review of explosive accusations of job discrimination against female Jewish professors at Brooklyn College."

Sadly, my office has now received news of additional bias complaints at the school--this time with regard to Hispanic faculty.


Yosher Koach to Satmar, Mosdos

I want to take a moment to thank all of the Mosdos--and particularly Satmar--for the generous ad they ran acknowledging our hard work in Albany on behalf of the community.

Of all our accomplishments these many years, one of the ones I'm proudest of is assuring transportation for our yeshiva students after 5pm, and bringing our yeshivas a greater portion of State-mandated services (CAP) funds.

May we continue to share only good news from Albany and in our community! Wishing everyone a Chag kasher v'samayach!  - Dov

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nissan: You Can't Be A Little Pregnant! Stop Undermining Sanctions Against Iran

With Bill de Blasio (photo courtesy of Colin Campbell)

I joined Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Iran180 and United Against Nuclear Iran at a press conference today in NYC demanding that Nissan—the winner of a $1 billion contract to manufacture NYC’s “Taxi of Tomorrow”—stop conducting business in Iran. Nissan sells roughly 7,500 vehicles a year in Iran and has been placed on Public Advocate de Blasio’s “Iran Watch List,” a new campaign targeting companies that do business with Iran and undermine economic sanctions.

It is shameful and unconscionable for Nissan to undermine sanctions against Iran by doing business with them. It’s clear that Ahmadinejad, the little Hitler, must be stopped from developing a nuclear weapon at all costs, but by continuing to do business with Iran, Nissan makes it that much easier for Ahmadinejad to pursue his nefarious goal. We demand that Nissan stop playing games and fully uphold the sanctions against this terrorist state.

Generosity Brings Pesach to Many at Gorsky Kavkazi Jewish Center and Synagogue

From left to right: Michael Nisanov, Dov Hikind, Frank Avshalumov and Vitaliy Ruvinov
holding food packages ready for distribution.
On Sunday, April 1, philanthropist Slavik Nisanov, sponsored the distribution of 500 Passover gift packages for needy Jews of the Russian-speaking community at the Gorsky Kavkazi Jewish Center and Synagogue of NY at 347 Ocean Parkway. The packages will enhance the holiday of Passover for many Jewish homes. The president of Gorsky Center, Vitaliy Ruvinov, welcomed guests while R’ Yosef Elishevits told the guests about the importance of the holiday and detailed making a Seder. I was delighted to participate in this memorable event and take comfort in knowing there are people who help this community grow both materially and spiritually.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

20 Elected Officials Join Me in Demanding an Investigation at Brooklyn College

There Is No Room for Racism in NYC Let Alone a City-Funded University!
I have been joined by 20 New York City elected officials in calling for an immediate, independent investigation into numerous accusations of racism and gender discrimination at Brooklyn College. Numerous staff members and faculty at the college have emerged with claims that Provost William A. Tramontano prevented Jewish female faculty candidates from being hired despite the highest recommendations from Brooklyn College Appointment Committees, and that promotions were denied to others by Tramontano because of race and gender.

Most faculty and staff who spoke to me were afraid to go public, fearing recriminations by Provost Tramontano, but several high-level individuals have spoken up, to their credit. These individuals attest to frequent acts of antisemitism and discrimination, especially against Jewish women.

My colleagues and I are outraged that Dr. Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor of CUNY, has allowed this to occur but we will not stand idly by while it continues.

A letter sent this morning to CUNY Chancellor Mathew Goldstein from the Assemblyman and his colleagues states: “As elected officials representing a diverse constituency throughout New York City—perhaps the most diverse City in America—we are shocked that this outrage has been allowed to continue. Numerous accusations have been voiced regarding Provost Tramontano’s racial, anti-female and blatantly illegal actions, yet there has remained a lack of a cogent, meaningful response from your office. In light of this, we demand an immediate and thorough investigation by an independent group into these accusations.”

The letter is signed by my colleagues:

Assemblyman Peter Abbate
Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny
Assemblyman William Colton
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs
Assemblyman Rory Lancman
Assemblyman Vito Lopez
Assemblywoman Grace Meng
Assemblyman Nick Perry
Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein
Senator Jeff Klein
Senator Diane Savino
Senator John L. Sampson
Senator Malcolm Smith
Councilman Mathieu Eugene
Councilman Brad Lander
Councilman Domenic Recchia



Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) is demanding an independent investigation into numerous accusations of anti-Semitism and racial bias at Brooklyn College. A number of high-level staff members at the college have claimed that Provost William A. Tramontano has prevented observant Jewish female faculty candidates from being hired despite the highest recommendations from Brooklyn College’s Appointment Committees, and that promotions have been denied to others by Tramontano solely because they were Orthodox Jews.

The Assemblyman received numerous calls from Brooklyn College staff and instructors who felt fearful and intimidated by the hostile environment Tramontano had created. They attested to frequent acts of discrimination against Jewish faculty members—especially Orthodox Jewish women.

“One highly qualified woman was denied a position because Tramantano said they staff already had a Miriam,” Hikind noted. “Another faculty member was disparagingly referred to as ‘rabbi’ because he was Orthodox. And when asked by a senior staff member to look into these matters, a CUNY attorney had the gall to ask for a list of Jews in the department!

“As a graduate of Brooklyn College, I was deeply hurt to learn of these incidents at my alma matter,” said Assemblyman Hikind in a letter to Dr. Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor of CUNY, “but as an American and a Jew I am outraged by these clearly racial, anti-female, anti-Semitic and blatantly illegal actions! It is almost beyond belief to imagine that discrimination against Jews and women can occur in the heart of Brooklyn, perhaps the most diverse community in the world.”

“In light of the number of known bias incidences at Brooklyn College that, although reported, have been allowed to continue and increase, I am calling for an immediate and thorough investigation by an independent group into the accusations brought against Provost William Tramontano by Brooklyn College’s staff. There is no place for racism in New York City, let alone in a City-funded university!”