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December 22, 2014 3:09 pm

Rabbi Leads Bronx Prayer Vigil in Support of NYPD

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Today's prayer vigil, organized by Rabbi Avi Weiss, outside the headquarters of the 50th Precinct in the Bronx. Photo: Hebrew Institute of Riverdale

A leading New York rabbi has led a prayer vigil and memorial ceremony outside the headquarters of the 50th Precinct of the New York Police Department in The Bronx following the murder of two police officers on Saturday.

Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon as they sat in their squad car. The murderer, 28 year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later committed suicide after he escaped the scene and descended into a subway station.

Today’s prayer vigil was organized by Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale as a show of “solidarity and support for the NYPD.” New York has been the site of several angry demonstrations against the police following the controversial decision of a Grand Jury not to indict a police officer in Staten Island over the death of Eric Garner, an African-American man.

“In this time of tragic loss for the NYPD and all New Yorkers, we stand here with you,” Weiss declared at the vigil. “You, the New York Police Department, are New York City’s finest – a racially diverse force.  Every day, you risk your lives for us.  You protect our synagogues, our churches, our mosques, our institutions, our businesses, our homes – for this and much more we are eternally grateful.”

Weiss told the crowd that “we mourn with you and gather in prayer for Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. We can never understand the profound grief of the families and the larger family of the NYPD, but with great empathy we declare: your pain is our pain, your suffering is our suffering.”

Weiss called on “communities throughout the city gather at local police precincts to express similar support and prayer.” He reminded the crowd that “this is the holiday of Chanukah, the holiday of lights, the holiday that teaches that no matter how dark it may be – ‘a little bit of light pushes away the darkness.'”

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