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Statement on Mayor Bowser’s Meeting with Religious Leaders

Monday, December 30, 2019

(Washington, DC) Today, on the heels of Saturday’s anti-Semitic attack in New York, Mayor Muriel Bowser met with local religious leaders to discuss immediate and long-term solutions to combatting anti-Semitism. In addition to religious leaders, the Mayor was joined by members of her Interfaith Council and leadership from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), and the Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs.

The Mayor has charged MPD with increasing their presence at synagogues as well as taking other, less visible, measures to protect DC’s Jewish community. Additionally, the Mayor has directed DC HSEMA with assisting congregations with reviewing their security plans. Both agencies will support congregations in updating their plans as necessary. Following the meeting, Mayor Bowser released the following statement:

“Today’s meeting was an important opportunity for our community to come together and make clear that we will always stand united to love and to fight anti-Semitism. By working together and supporting one another, we will continue to promote DC values of love, inclusion, and diversity. Together, we will send a clear message: In Washington, DC, we stand up for our neighbors, we denounce anti-Semitism and hatred in all forms, and we work continuously and with a sense of urgency for peace and safety on our streets, in our homes, and in our places of worship.”

Below is the full list of attendees at today’s meeting:

  • Rabbi Aaron Alexander, Adas Israel Congregation
  • Lamont Akins, Director – Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs
  • Rev. Thomas Bowen, Director – Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs
  • Assistant Chief Jeffrey Carroll, MPD
  • Rabbi Stephanie Crawley, Temple Micah
  • John Falcicchio, Chief of Staff and Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
  • Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, Ohev Sholom Synagogue
  • Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, Adas Israel Congregation
  • Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, Washington Hebrew Congregation
  • Officer Brett Parson, MPD
  • Dr. Yolanda Pierce, Mayor’s Interfaith Council Chair, Howard University School of Divinity
  • Thorn Pozen, Jewish Community Relations Council
  • Dr. Darryl Roberts, Mayor’s Interfaith Council, Nineteenth Street Baptist Church
  • Christopher Rodriguez, Director – HSEMA
  • Alan Ronkin, AJC DC
  • Rabbi Levi Shemtov, American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad)
  • Dr. Christopher Zacharias, MIC Co-Chair, John Wesley AME Zion Church