Apr. 3, 2023 By Bill Parry
The Far Rockaway Jewish Alliance announced its endorsement of Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz in her re-election bid just days ahead of Passover, during which time the NYPD will deploy additional resources at synagogues around the five boroughs.
Katz greeted members of the Alliance, one of the borough’s largest Jewish political organizations, at Beach 9th Street on the Rockaway Boardwalk on March 31.
“With acts of antisemitism on the rise, we need a district attorney who takes these heinous crimes seriously,” Rabbi Baruch Rothman said. “District Attorney Melinda Katz not only takes these crimes seriously, but has shown a determination to prosecute criminals who target the Jewish community. We’re proud to stand with her today and endorse her candidacy for re-election.”
Former Assemblyman Phil Goldfedder noted recent cases prosecuted by the Queens District Attorney’s office.
“DA Katz has prosecuted crime wherever it targets Queens families – taking on gangs, getting illegal guns off the streets, and putting away those who would give our families any reason to live in fear,” Goldfedder said. “There is no doubt that DA Katz has earned four more years, and we’ll do everything in our power to see to it that she wins in June and again in November.”
The Anti-Defamation League released new data last month that shows 2022 was the worst year yet for antisemitism, since it started keeping track 44 years ago with nearly 3,700 incidents nationwide. The ADL report revealed that New York had the most incidents with New York City accounting for two-thirds of the cases with 395 incidents overall last year.
“We need leaders who care about our community and its unique needs and in Melinda Katz, we have found that leader,” Far Rockaway Jewish Alliance member Richard Altabe said. “Throughout her career, Melinda Katz has shown a serious commitment to our Jewish community, both as district attorney and in her previous positions serving Queens families. We are endorsing DA Katz because she is the best choice to keep us safe over the next four years.”
The endorsement came just four days after a Corona teenager was criminally charged with assault as a hate crime for an attack on a Jewish man in Flushing Meadows Corona Park last month.
“Whether it’s been in taking on burglaries, gangs, larceny or hate crimes, District Attorney Katz has been a steady hand prosecuting criminals and making our communities safer as a result,“ Far Rockaway Jewish Alliance member Elkanah Adelman said. “We are proud to endorse Melinda Katz, the best choice to keep Queens safe.”
Just months after taking office in 2020, Katz created the Hate Crime Bureau in her reorganized Felony Trial Division. The bureau was one of the first in the nation committed exclusively to preventing, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.
“It is an honor to receive the endorsement of The Far Rockaway Jewish Alliance, a group I have worked with for many years and consider to be an excellent partner in government,” Katz said. “My office has cracked down on acts of antisemitism and has made it clear that antisemitic attacks will not be tolerated in Queens County. And we’ve worked hard to get guns off the streets and prosecute those who terrorize any Queens community. I look forward to building on our immense progress as we keep working to keep our families safe.”
Katz will face challenger George Grasso in the June 27 Democratic primary.
Grasso, a Douglaston resident, retired as an administrative judge at Queens Supreme Court, criminal term, in August 2022 to run for district attorney. Grasso served more than three decades in the NYPD, rising through the ranks to become the first deputy police commissioner before stepping down in 2010 and heading to the bench.