The controversial activist and MSNBC host will talk about his role in the Crown Heights riots, the only pogrom on American soil which started 20 years ago Friday, and lasted for three chaotic days.
The Jewish Week reports:
Rev. Al Sharpton will be among the panelists at a forum on black-Jewish relations 20 years after Crown Heights Sunday night at the Hampton Synagogue.
The controversial…activist will discuss the topic with Bob Kaplan of the Jewish Community Relations Council, City Councilwoman Letitia James of Crown Heights and the Westhampton congregation’s rabbi, Marc Schneier, who is founder of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
The… three days of violence against Jews in the chasidic community…followed the death of a black child, Gavin Cato, who was struck by a car in the Lubavitcher rebbe’s motorcade. Yankel Rosenbaum, a scholar visiting the neighborhood from Australia, was murdered by a mob in the first hours of the riot.
Many residents of Crown Heights as well as leaders of major Jewish organizations fault Rev. Sharpton, who entered the neighborhood after the murder, for further agitating the situation with marches and fiery rhetoric…
As a result, most Jewish organizations have refused to have any official contact with Sharpton…
[Rabbi Schneier] noted that the Orthodox congregation…hosted controversial conservative cable commentator Glenn Beck last weekend, and in mid-July Imam Faisal Rauf, cleric of the planned…Ground Zero Mosque.
Political figures such as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the only Republican Jew in Congress, has also visited, and GOP presidential contender John Huntsman will appear at the Hampton Synagogue later this summer.
…Rabbi Schneier said that many in the Jewish community do not recognize that the activist has moderated his tone in the decades since the events in Crown Heights.
“They freeze on where he was 20 years ago,” he said. “People do evolve and grow.…It’s going to be a watershed event.”