Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D–Brooklyn), along with Rabbi David Niederman, met with Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, C–NY-1), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to enlist his support with the ongoing issue of the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe.
“The desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Europe is deeply concerning. Not only is this about our community’s links to the past, this is about kavod hameisim (respect for the dead). Congressman Zeldin agreed on the importance of preserving Jewish cemeteries and is dedicated to ensuring that the U.S. State Department continues to take a strong stance on this issue. I have worked closely with Congressman Zeldin on many matters in the past and he took our concerns very seriously. We need to do everything we can to preserve the sanctity of these graves.”
Joining Assemblyman Hikind and Rabbi Niederman at the meeting at Congressman Zeldin’s Patchogue, New York office was the Executive Director of the Mirrer Yeshiva, Rabbi Pinchos Hecht, and Samuel Stern. Niederman has been deeply involved on advocacy of these issues for decades. Recently, a delegation of Rabbanim and askanim, including Rabbi Niederman, traveled to Lithuania to meet with government officials to discuss issues of desecration in Lithuania. In the postwar decades in Europe, numerous Jewish cemeteries and sites have been desecrated and destroyed by anti-Semitic vandalism. In many cases, these cemeteries are neglected due to the small size of, or the non-existent, Jewish communities in the area. In addition, there are instances of real estate developers and local governments turning cemeteries into commercial and residential areas and buildings.