LI Herald: Fighting anti-Semitic crimes

From LI Herald:

In partnership with Nassau County, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island and Brad Gerstman, a Roslyn resident, established a fund to financially reward those who provide information about anti-Semitic crimes.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said it was a great addition to the county’s Crime Stoppers program because it acts to deter these type of hate crimes. “Nassau County will not tolerate bias crimes and is meeting with Jewish community leaders to discuss enhanced security measures during the upcoming High Holidays,” he said.

The fund, begun with a $1,000 donation from Gerstman, will reward individuals who provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of those committing anti-Semitic crimes.

Det. Lt. Gary Shapiro, the commanding officer of the police department’s Community Affairs unit, said there have been 15 reports this year that have been labeled as possible anti-Semitic hate crimes. “Three of those reports have occurred in the Five Towns,” he said. “Most of those cases are criminal mischief, property damage type crimes using words and symbols such as a swastika.”

Through Gerstman, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island has created an escrow account that will be used to fund rewards and will accept tax-deductible donations of any size. The amount of the rewards will be made on a case-by-case basis by the JCRC, in consultation with the police department, the district attorney’s office, and other appropriate law enforcement agencies.

Gerstman said that he was moved to create this fund after an event at the Nassau County’s Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center this summer. “I would love to solve the world problem of anti-Semitism, but that isn’t realistic, so I want to help make sure Long Island stays safe from anti-Semitic hate crimes,” he said. “I’m concerned about the violence against Jews, especially here on Long Island.”

JCRC of Long Island Executive Director David Newman commended Gerstman for his idea and commitment. “I want to thank Brad who brought the concept of this fund to our attention,” he said. “If not for him, this fund would not be a reality. We are proud to help with actualizing his vision.”

Donations can be made to the JCRC of Long Island at 6900 Jericho Tpke, Suite 302, Syosset, NY 11791.

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