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Unity in Crown Heights; Disunity in Sheepshead Bay

Today in Brooklyn

Allison Hoffman
June 08, 2009

It’s nice to see communities once divided by racial tension and violence joining hands in neighborly cooperation: blacks and Jews in Brookyn’s Crown Heights announced this weekend they’ll soon launch a joint civilian neighborhood patrol. “If all goes as planned,” the New York Daily News cheered, “a Caribbean-American pastor could share a car with an Orthodox Jew on the NYPD Civilian Observation Patrol—or blacks might volunteer for Friday night shifts, when their Jewish neighbors can’t work.” But it’s also a shame when that gorgeous mosaic starts to crack: turns out one of the Jewish patrol-group leaders, Leib Skoblo, pleaded guilty in 1995 to misdemeanor child-endangerment charges after he taunted and punched a 12-year-old black girl on her way to school. Whoops.

In Sheepshead Bay, meantime, New York State assemblyman Dov Hikind showed up at a rally Sunday to protest plans by the New York City Parks Department to add new markers commemorating gay, disabled, Roma, dissident, and Jehovah’s Witness victims of Nazi persecution to Brooklyn’s Holocaust Memorial Park. “These people are not in the same category as Jewish people with regards to the Holocaust,” Hikind, a Democrat, told the New York Post after delivering a speech with his 89-year-old mother, a Holocaust survivor, by his side. Mayor Bloomberg wasn’t buying it. “It wasn’t only the Jews that were massacred,” he retorted.

Allison Hoffman is the executive editor of CNN Politics.