August 24, 2007

Today in Jewish History - Elul 10

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In 1991, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, a 7-year-old black child was accidentally killed by a car driven by a chassidic Jew. Within hours, mobs of African American youths took to the streets, setting fires, smashing cars, looting stores, and chanting, "Get the Jews." Yankel Rosenbaum, a 29-year-old rabbinic student from Australia, was beaten and stabbed by a mob, and later died of his wounds. It took hundreds of police officers three full days to quell the riots. Lemrick Nelson Jr. was convicted for the killing of Rosenbaum, but an appellate court later reversed the decision on technical grounds. In Crown Heights, the incident has come to symbolize long-standing tensions between black and Jewish residents.