By COLlive reporter
A private memorial was held on Friday for Yankel Rosenbaum in Crown Heights at the location of his stabbing to death during the 1991 riots.
Standing at the corner of President Street and Brooklyn Avenue, the 29-year-old’s brother Norman Rosenbaum recited chapters of Tehillim and said Kaddish.
Norman Rosenbaum, who came in from Australia, was flanked by NCFJE Chairman Rabbi Shea Hecht, and his friend’s son Rabbi Yaacov Behrman, a community activist.
Despite 25 years passing, Norman Rosenbaum told the media that he still feels the loss. “Whenever I come here and I’m on this street, there’s a numbness and sense of helplessness and loss,” he said.
Rosenbaum said he travels every year to mark the anniversary of his brother who was killed by a mob of African Americans during the 4-day attack on the neighborhood’s Jews.
Chazan Shlomo Aron Rabin recited Keil Malei Rachamim. The yartzeit anniversary of Yankel Rosenbaum is the 10th of Elul.
Rosenbaum isn’t expected to attend a New York City-funded commemoration of the riots that will be held this Sunday in Crown Heights with support of Jewish organizations.
Titled “Crown Heights One,” the free event is open to the entire neighborhood and will include games, music, rides, Kosher and non-Kosher food.
In a written statement to the press, Rosenbaum said the nature of the event was inappropriate as a commemoration the 1991 riots which many saw as a rare occurrence of organized anti-Semitism on U.S. soil.
Some 40 local residents attended the short memorial. One of them, who remembers the vicious nature of the rioters, said she was saddened that there is no permanent memorial to Rosenbaum at the site.
“There should be a memorial plaque here, to remember Yankel,” she told COLlive.com, adding that she approached various community leaders about placing a memorial plaque there, who ignored her requests.
“I cry for the loss of this only child, every time I read an article about him. Whenever I pass by this corner, I say a chapter of tehillim in his honor,” she said. “He was murdered in our neighborhood, its our responsibility to keep his memory alive. This kind of tragedy really hits home – it could’ve been any one of our children.”