Schneier Cancels Panel On Crown Heights Riots Due to Backlash


rabbi-schneierRabbi Marc Schneier has decided not to hold a panel to mark the 20th anniversary of the violent Crown Heights riots after critics fumed over the Reverend Al Sharpton’s participation in the event this weekend.

Sharpton was scheduled to join City Councilwoman Letitia James, Rabbi Robert Kaplan and Rabbi Schneier on a panel titled “The State of Black-Jewish Relations: Twenty Years After Crown Heights” at The Hampton Synagogue on Sunday.

After Sharpton backed out, as reported earlier here on, panel organizer Rabbi Schneier, in a statement, said, “This afternoon, I received a letter from Rev. Al Sharpton informing me that, in deference to the request of the Rosenbaum family, he will not be participating in Sunday’s scheduled forum on Black-Jewish relations.  As this event would now cause more pain and division rather than healing and reconciliation, Rev. Sharpton has asked that it be rescheduled so as not to coincide with the anniversary of Crown Heights.

“I regret that this very important discussion will not take place this weekend,” continued Rabbi Schneier. “Dialogue is especially necessary on matters of profound disagreement, and I will continue to dedicate my time, energy and resources to the strengthening of relations between the African-American and Jewish communities.”

The riots by blacks were sparked when a 7-year-old boy was killed by a car driven in a motorcade in August 1991. Yankel Rosenbaum was later stabbed to death during the melee that followed.

Sharpton’s role in the riots has been controversial.

In his letter, Sharpton pointed to a state study on the riot that said he had no role in the violence.  Norman Rosenbaum and others believe Sharpton did help fan the flames during those three days in 1991.

{Noam Newscenter}