In the heart of New York City, a deli known as the 2nd Avenue Deli became the target of a hate crime. The deli, which had recently posted pro-Israel content on its social media platforms, was vandalized with a swastika, a symbol of anti-Semitism. The owner, Jeremy Lebewohl, was alerted by a tenant of the Upper East Side building that the storefront had been defaced with this hate symbol.
Lebewohl expressed his sadness and disbelief at the incident, stating, "It’s just horrible. It makes me sad. It’s sad that people just feel the need to say they hate Jews in 2023. That people can just be so open about it. That Jew hatred is out there and now people just feel more empowered to say it."
The deli responded to the hateful act with a post on its Instagram page, thanking the vandal for reminding them that they were on the right side of history. The post included a photograph of the Nazi symbol with the words “home land security” and “Israel pride”.
Jeffrey Haberman, a 74-year-old patron of the deli, called the graffiti "reprehensible" and "despicable". He noted that this was not an isolated incident, as he knew of three synagogues that had been vandalized within the last month, including the one he attends, Or Zarua.
The 2nd Avenue Deli was founded in 1954 as an East Village luncheonette on East 10th Street by Lebewohl’s relative, Abe Lebewohl. The deli, which was certified as a James Beard American Classic in 1998, has always been a place of community and connection.
The incident at the 2nd Avenue Deli is part of a larger surge in anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City and across the country. Swastikas have been displayed in public places, and hate speech has invaded online platforms and city council meetings.
Despite the rise in hate crimes, the 2nd Avenue Deli and its community remain resilient. As Haberman stated, "This isn’t by accident. Hamas has enough of a reach. People are sending very clear messages that they don’t want Jews here. But if you vandalize, the intent doesn't matter. We are not leaving".
The NYPD is currently investigating the act of hate at the 2nd Avenue Deli5. In the meantime, the deli continues to serve its community, standing as a symbol of resilience and a reminder that hate cannot extinguish the spirit of unity and acceptance.Sources:
- NYC deli vandalized with swastika after pro-Israel social media posts
- NYC deli vandalized with swastika after pro-Israel social media posts: 'It's just horrible'
- NYC deli vandalized with swastika after pro-Israel social media posts - Newspaper
- Swastikas in NYC and Irvine; anti-Semitic trolls upend meetings: This week in extremism - USA Today
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