From Borough President Eric Adams:

As summer edges closer, it's time for our green thumbs to "dig" into the 23rd Annual Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest! This competition is presented by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in partnership with Brooklyn Borough Hall and the Brooklyn Community Foundation,   promoting neighborliness and sustainability.

Various prizes will be awarded to the winners for both residential and commercial blocks for categories including: greenest storefront, best window box, sustainable practices, and other greening efforts. I hope you take this opportunity to enter your block; the deadline is Thursday, June 1st.

This is a friendly showdown that strengthens our local environment, builds lasting community bonds, and improves a quality of life that every Brooklynite gets to enjoy. Get involved!


P.S. Save the dates for these upcoming events, which I am proud to support, at and around Brooklyn Borough Hall; please contact our office for additional information
and visit our Bulletin Board to post items that can be shared across One Brooklyn:


Every Monday through Friday

Every Tuesday

Every Wednesday

Second Wednesday of Every Month

Second Thursday of Every Month

Second Friday of Every Month

Third Monday of Every Month
Wednesday, May 31st to Wednesday, June 14th

Tuesday, June 6th


Wednesday, June 7th

Wednesdays, from June 7th to June 28th

 
Saturday, June 10th to Sunday, June 11th

Saturday, June 10th

Monday, June 12th


Friday, June 16th
Saturday, June 17th
Wednesday, June 21st

Saturday, June 24th

Wednesday, June 28th
One-on-One Assistance Clinic Thursday, June 29th Caribbean-American Heritage Celebration Wednesdays, from July 19th to July 26th A Summer Movie Under The Stars


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There's still time to come over to Brooklyn Borough Hall and take advantage of free tax preparation sessions for eligible residents.

In  partnership with the Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Grow Brooklyn, and the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, Borough President Eric Adams' office has set up  additional dates between Thursday, April 6 and Monday, April 17 for the free tax help.
 
Single filers who earn $30,000 a year or less, filers with dependents who earn under $55,000 a year, or filers that are self-employed with expenses of $5,000 or less can all avail themselves of free expert tax preparation to see if they are eligible for federal and/or state tax refunds. (This includes the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which can add an average of $2,400 to the refunds of approximately 1.1 million eligible New Yorkers!)
 
To expedite the process, bring a government-issued photo ID; Social Security or ITIN cards for yourself and all individuals on your return; all relevant tax forms (W-2, 1099-R, etc.); documents of higher education expenses; child care expenses, provider information, and student fees, as well as your bank account number/routing number for direct deposit.
  
For more information, or to make an appointment,call (347) 682-5606 or visit growbrooklyn.org.



You can join 10,000 Concerned Brooklynites, the BP's ongoing effort to identify, organize, and unite people from all walks of life to build a movement which will actively contribute to the betterment of their communities.

Click here to sign up and join me and 9,999 other Concerned Brooklynites.









Jews across the United States are increasingly alarmed at the rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the country.
In December, the New York City Police Department noted a 115% increase in bias crimes in the previous month, with Jews the target of 24 out of 43 incidents in that period. On February 27, 2017, for the fifth time in recent weeks, bomb threats roiled more  than 100 Jewish community centers and Jewish schools across the country, forcing students, staff, elderly members and young babies to evacuate.

A bullet was fired through the window of a Hebrew school classroom in Indiana. Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized in St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Swastikas have been carved into schools, libraries, and even inside the Illinois Holocaust Museum.

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A typical bomb threat included this: A large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered... There's going to be a bloodbath…

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Here's what a typical bomb threat sounds like: "It's a C-4 bomb with a lot of shrapnel, surrounded by a bag… In a short time, a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered. Their heads are going to (be) blown off from the shrapnel. There's a lot of shrapnel. There's going to be a bloodbath that's going to take place in a short time…."
Ironically, at the same time hate crimes have us all feeling under threat, the number of people who profess anti-Semitic feelings is at a historic low. A recent Pew Research Center study even found that Jews are the most highly-regarded religious group in America. So what is going on?

According to Ken Jacobson, ADL Deputy National Director, "We don't have any evidence that more Americans are becoming anti-Semitic." For the past several years, his organization has found that 12% – 15% of Americans profess anti-Semitic beliefs. That percentage is significantly lower than when the ADL first began polling Americans in 1964 when 24% of Americans said they harbored anti-Semitic feelings.

"However, 12 to 15% of the population harboring negative feelings towards Jews is 30 million or so people," Jacobson cautions. What seems different now is that some people have become emboldened to act on their anti-Semitism more than in the past. Jacobson calls this atmosphere of hate "a crisis" in America today.

Rabbi Avi Shafran, Agudath Israel of America's Director of Public Affairs, shares with Aish.com that "one lesson we should be taking from this uptick in anti-Semitism is to realize that even in 'good' times, when we don't see eruptions of anti-Semitic acts, there are still twisted people among us who wait for an 'opportune' time to express their hatred. We need to realize that anti-Semitism has not been 'cured'. And won't be, until we merit Mashiach (Messiah)."

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Extreme rhetoric against Israel has made anti-Semitism more acceptable.
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Hate crime experts point to one culprit that's made anti-Semitism more acceptable in recent years: extreme rhetoric against Israel. "There's a loss of shame about anti-Semitism," notes Ken Jacobson of the ADL. Rabbi Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, concurs. "Much of the rhetoric against Israel has tipped over into expressions of overt Jew hatred. It's not just opposing Israel's policies. Some rhetoric is meant to denigrate and demonize a whole people."

Add to this the rise of right-wing hatred over the past year. "White supremacists are on campus now recruiting," notes Jacobson.

A major tipping point in the rise of neo-Nazi and white supremacist bigots was the huge spike in anti-Semitic tweets during the American presidential campaign. The ADL tracked a total of 19,253 anti-Semitic tweets, many of them containing virulent threats to Jewish journalists during the campaign. Over two thirds of these sent by just 1,600 Twitter accounts, most of whom self-identified with the "alt-right", a loose collection of extremists. This is not a partisan issue. Ben Shapiro, a conservative journalist, received the most anti-Semitic tweets during the campaign. Rising anti-Semitism affects all political persuasions.

Hostile tweets encourage more virulent forms of anti-Semitism. "You started out with the hostile tweets," Mitchell D. Silber, former director of intelligence analysis for the New York Police Department, explained. "You moved to the bomb threats against JCCs and other institutions, and now you have a physical manifestation at the cemeteries with the gravestones knocked over."

How to Respond

Given this environment of emboldened anti-Semitism, what can we do as Jews, as Americans, as people of good will the world over? Here are four broad suggestions.

We need to be unified. Rabbi Abraham Cooper fears that the Jewish community is making a mistake in mischaracterizing the current wave of anti-Semitism as a partisan issue instead of a major threat that requires all Jews to respond. We can only succeed if we work in a bipartisan fashion, he notes. This is a time for the younger generation to step up, as well, he explains, and condemn anti-Semitism forcefully wherever it occurs. With so many bomb threats targeting JCC preschools, young parents are finding themselves on the front line, fighting anti-Semitism directly.

The threats to our community can serve to remind us of what we stand for as Jews. In addition to cooperating with law enforcement authorities, notes Rabbi Avi Shafran, now is the time for Jewish actions, mitzvahs, and prayer. "Above all...we must always remember that the ultimate protection of our people comes from Above, and that our merits and our prayers are what, in the end, ensure our security," he notes. Doubling down on our Jewish identity and commitment – and even taking on new Jewish observances – can help strengthen our communities. Consider what concrete step you can take to strengthen your connection to the Jewish community.

It's also crucial to hold our leaders to account, demanding action against anti-Semitism and other forms of hate. President Trump condemned the rise in anti-Semitism, saying in his speech to Congress on February 29, 2017 that hate crimes "remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms." We need to be vigilant in holding all of our politicians and elected officials to that promise.

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It's crucial that we all stand up to hate, no matter where it occurs.

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There are a host of legislative issues that need our support. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, for example, is advocating for the US Congress to adopt a definition of anti-Semitism that the State Department ratified in 2010. (Britain became one of the first nations to adopt this definition, in December 2016.) The center is encouraging all Americans, including the Jewish community, to get behind this effort.

Finally, it's crucial that we all stand up to hate, no matter where it occurs. "There are haters in America," notes Rabbi Avi Shafran, "but many, many more citizens of good will." It's our urgent task to build bridges with our fellow citizens, to support them when they are in need, and call on allies to help us when our communities are targeted. Today, more than ever, we need to be vigilant in condemning attacks on our fellow citizens and to insist that others stand by us in our hour of need as well.

By presenting a united front against hate, we can send the message that intolerance, anti-Semitism and bigotry have no place in our communities.

                                                         -- From Aish.com, a leading site of Jewish thought and perspective



By DAVID J. GLENN
Brooklyn Currents

Attention shoppers: If you were relieved that the proposed nickel tax on plastic bags did not go into effect as planned in October, start worrying again -- the city council's ban is set to go into effect Feb. 15.

But not if several state legislators can help it. "New Yorkers are tired of being nickel and dimed,"  state Senator  Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat,  said at a press conference outside City Hall on Sunday, Jan. 15. "Why are we picking on the most vulnerable New Yorkers ... and taxing them over and over again?"

The Senate plans to vote on Tuesday, Jan.  17 to block the City Council's move.

Proponents of the ban say it's a way to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags to the store. New Yorkers reportedly toss some 10 billion plastic bags a year, which for the most part wind up in landfills and cost the city $12.5 million a year to haul off.

Opponents say the measure amounts to an added tax on consumers. They stress that often shoppers will reuse the plastic bags  at home to store food or line garbage pails, avoiding having to separately buy packaged plastic bags.




                                                                          Hermanda Booker

A special education teacher was killed after being hit by a car and a bus on her way to work Tuesday morning, Jan. 3 in Midwood.


Police say 29-year old Hermanda Booker was crossing the street at Nostrand Avenue near Kings Highway when a white SUV hit her.
Then, as Booker was lying in the street, police say a school bus making  a left turn onto Nostrand Avenue from Kings Highway hit her again.

Both the driver of the SUV and the bus driver remained on the scene, police said. There were no charges as of this posting.

Booker was taken to Beth Israel Medical Center on Kings Highway with severe trauma to her torso. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. 

Her father, Herman Booker, says there should be more done in the neighborhood to help pedestrians cross the street.

"At an intersection like that, they need to have cameras. They need to have some sort of camera because it's not the first time people are getting knocked down in that intersection," Herman Booker said. "Tragic enough my daughter had to pay the ultimate price by getting killed."

The Deparment of Education says Booke rhad  taught at P.S. 760K since September of last year, the Department of Education stated.

                                                                -- From NY1


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Council Member Jumaane D. Williams released this statement:


 
"I'd like to offer prayers of peace and comfort to the family of Hermanda Booker, who lost her life tragically this morning while commuting to work. The lost of a loved one is never easy, especially when a life is taken so suddenly and so young. Hermanda was in the prime of her life and it saddens me to see the community lose someone who by all accounts was passionate about their work and improving children's lives.

"These next few days and weeks are going to be especially hard for her family and friends. I pray their loving memories of Hermanda will help to see them through their grief."