Excerpt From Forward’s Coverage of the Riots

Published August 17, 2011, issue of August 26, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The marchers come up President from the corner of Utica Avenue — “the accident site,” as it has come to be known — where Gavin Cato was killed by the car from Rabbi Schneerson’s motorcade. They have just been listening to Al Sharpton and Sonny Carson — the Al Sharpton “of Tawana Brawley fame,” the Sonny Carson “who masterminded the Korean grocery boycott,” is the way they’re described by Chasidic observers.

The marchers carry a banner memorializing Gavin Cato and hold up handwritten signs: “Hitler didn’t do his job,” “This Isn’t Palestine — We Want Justice.”

Chasids stand and watch. The marchers taunt them, then move on. They move around the block to the front of the Lubavich shul, where they are separated from a crowd of Chasidic men by a phalanx of helmeted policemen.

Insults are hurled in both directions. Suddenly, a beer bottle flies from the ranks of the marchers. Stones follow. The Jews duck, stumble, back up. A bottle smashes in their midst. Stones thud and bounce around them. There is shouting and screaming: “Look at the police. Where are the police? What are they doing?”

The men and women in blue appear to be under strict orders not to fight back. The Jews are beside themselves. The rioters launch bottle after bottle, rock after rock. The traffic at the intersection is a mad blare of horns as all vehicles try at once to back their way out of danger. Some Jews scream at the blacks, some scream at the police, some stand and murmur prayers, some —surprisingly few — pick up the rocks that fall around them and hurl them back.

A man is taken away in an ambulance. Witnesses tell of a beard stained with blood. Some say he was stabbed, some say stoned, and there is some speculation that the damage was done with a beer bottle.

“And look at the policemen running away!” a man shrieks in fury.

But the rioters are running, too, moving on down Eastern Parkway, smashing street lights, stoning police cars, screaming: “Keep hiding Jews! We’ll get you on your Saturday!”

A man lingers behind, marching slowly. “The black Hitler has arose now,” he tells a group of Chasidic teenagers. “Hitler was our grandfather.”

A block further on, a small black girl appears on a bicycle and asks a lone white reporter who is following the riot: “You sure it’s safe for you to be out here, ’cause I’m sure it ain’t.”

Ambulances scream past. A pigeon wings overhead, and several people duck. Anything that flies is now presumed to be a projectile.

— FORWARD STAFF, August 30, 1991


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.