Hate crimes against Jews continued across the nation this week even as political leaders from New York’s City Hall to the White House were promising stepped-up protection and renewed attempts to push tougher anti-hate and gun control laws.
The moves come in response to the shootings at a Los Angeles-area Jewish community center in which five people were wounded, including a 5-year-old boy and two 6-year-olds.
It seemed to be a typical Tuesday morning for Mordechai “Larry” Etengoff, a 42-year-old Brooklyn locksmith supply salesman. His wife of 16 years, Sandy, watched him leave their squat, gray, single-family stucco house in the multiethnic Kensington section to drop off their youngest of five children at the babysitter.
He stopped at the local Independence Savings Bank near their Avenue C home to make a deposit. He returned home to move his blue Ford Taurus for alternate side-of-the-street parking.
Somewhere, someone is holding a Torah scroll. Somewhere, a new parchment scroll is finding a new home. Somewhere, in other words, a Torah dedication ceremony is taking place.
The participants, as in a religious neighborhood of Jerusalem, below, may wear black hats. Or, like Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Jesse Kopelman, right, aboard the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier in the Norfolk, Va., harbor, they may favor white caps.
Stuart Wolfer, who grew up in Dix Hills, L.I., surprised his parents on a visit back home during his freshman year in college when he announced he was going to join the ROTC military training program and eventually serve in the U.S. Army.
“We’re not army people. This is not your personality,” his father, Len, told him.
“I only go around once. I want to try everything,” Stuart Wolfer answered.
Military service is in the Perl family’s blood.
Pvt. Otto Perl spent nearly a year in the Austrian army from 1937 to 1938. His father had been an officer in that same army in World War I, and two of his uncles had served in WWI.
Perl, a tailor, was 22 in early 1938 when he was discharged a few months before his homeland was annexed by Nazi Germany. A Jew, he was arrested and sent to the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps for a year. He survived the forced labor and beatings and frigid weather.
When he first proudly donned a badge as a Suffolk County cop three decades ago, Howard Mandell walked a beat in Huntington, L.I. He made headlines a few years later when he and his partner foiled a bank robbery in Northport, shooting and killing the gunman.
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