COJO Annual Legislative Breakfast in the Shadow of Pittsburgh Shooting

Staten Island        On Sunday, October 28, 2017, the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island held its 52nd Annual Legislative Breakfast featuring elected representatives, governmental officials, and candidates running for office.

Mendy Mirocznik, President of COJO is proud that COJO, the central coordinating agency for the Staten Island Jewish Community has brought together members of all communities in Staten Island for the specific purpose of civic engagement.

Cojo annual breakfast Photo: Shimon Gifter

Mirocznik added, that this year the Legislative Breakfast was held less than 24 hours after the slaughter of 11 people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue by a man who reportedly screamed: “All Jews must die.” This year, “COJO’s mission in coordinating within the Jewish community and its outreach work of collaborating with all communities of Staten Island transformed the Legislative Breakfast into a memorial that rallied the people of Staten Island to stand up in a united voice and to reject Anti-Semitism and hate…Just look around the room and you will see a representation of Staten Islanders from all walks of life uniting and sending a message that there is no place for hate in Staten Island.”

Scott Maurer the CEO and executive vice-president of COJO declared, “the Legislative Breakfast is a testament that we as Americans do not surrender or acquis to hate.” Maurer added, “We received many calls to cancel the Breakfast.  However, we will never allow fear to dictate our lives.  The last thing we want is to reward hate by allowing it to disrupt our lives.  The strongest rejection of the hate was the decision to have proceeded with the breakfast.”

Staten Island Cojo breakfast 10.28.2018 Photo: Shimon Gifter

NYPD Assistant Chief Kenneth Corey, borough commander, addressed the security concerns.

He said the NYPD received news of the mass shooting as it was reported by national news outlets, “not knowing if this was the act of a single deranged individual or part of a larger coordinated effort.”

Officers trained in counter-terrorism were immediately assigned to posts outside local synagogues, and began taking those posts within about an hour of shots reported in Pittsburgh, said Corey, who previously served with the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism.

“We’ve seen a lot of hate over the past few weeks,” he said. “We need you to tell us what’s going on in your community. When something doesn’t seem right in your community.”

Maurer thanked Chief Corey and expressed COJO’s appreciation of the contact and open communication that COJO appreciates that they have with the NYPD.  The key “is the partnership that COJO has forged with the police and this allows COJO to express our concerns to Chief Corey who is responsive to the needs of Staten Island.”

Mirocznick concluded the program by saying that he has faith in his neighbors on Staten Island to rally behind the Jewish Community- referencing the response to Hurricane Sandy.  “Whether it’s a storm beyond our control, or a horrific act human being can control….people of Staten Island are great people who rally together to do the right thing.”

The following elected officials, and candidates addressed the Legislative Breakfast, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams; Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon; Congressman Daniel Donovan; Max Rose candidate for Congress; Senator Andrew Lanza; Assemblyman Michael Cusick; Assemblywoman Nicole Malliatokis; Adam Baumel candidate for Assembly; Mike Riley candidate for Assembly; Assemblyman Matt Titone, candidate for Surrogate Judge; Assemblyman Ron Castorina, candidate for Surrogate Judge; former Family Court Judge Ralph Porzio candidate for New York State Supreme Court Justice and New York City Housing Court Judge candidate for New York State Supreme Court Justice.

Democratic Party Chairman John P. Gulono; Republican Party Chairman Brandon Lantry and Independence Party Chairman Avi Gvili participated as well.

The following community leaders also participated Rabbi Michael Miller, executive vice-president Jewish Community Relations Council of New York; and David Greenfield, chief executive officer Met Council.

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