Manhattan Beach Mayor, Police Chief Show Support for Jewish Students at Mira CostaMar 02, 2022 09:11AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
At Mira Costa High School's Jewish Cultural Club meeting, left to right: Manhattan Beach Mayor Hildy Stern, Manhattan Beach Police Chief Derrick Abell, Jewish Cultural Club Advisor Rabbi Shlomo Sirota and Mira Costa Principal Karina Gerger, and Jewish Cultural Club co-presidents Sydney Weisberg and Ezra Cohen.
In the wake of a number of anti-Semitic incidents, Manhattan Beach Mayor Hildy Stern and Police Chief Derrick Abell visited the Jewish Cultural Club at Mira Costa High School on Tuesday to show their support.
Nearly 100 students - including members of several sports teams who came in solidarity - gathered in Mira Costa's small auditorium for Tuesday's meeting. Also in attendance were JCC Advisor Rabbi Shlomo Sirota, Congregation Tikvat Jacob Rabbi Joshua Kalev, Mira Costa Principal Karina Gerger, MBUSD Superintendent John Bowes, MBUSD School Board President Sally Peel, and Manhattan Beach Education Foundation Executive Director Hilary Mahan.
Bowes began by telling students that the school district and the city have been working "hand in hand" to address the issue. "There is no place for hate in our district," he said.
Mayor Stern told the group that she wanted to make sure they knew that the city stood in solidarity with them.
"We see you, we hear you, we care so much - and we are standing up in support of all of you," Stern said.
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Chief Abell - who is known on campus by many students as one of the Mira Costa football coaches - shared that in his time in Manhattan Beach, he had experienced instances of hatred as well. "I know how it feels. You feel isolated and lonely," he said.
Abell added that when the police department learned of the anti-Semitic incidents, it "reverberated" through the department, which is made up of officers who come from many different backgrounds.
Assuring students that the department would be there for them, he added that Officer Donovan Torres, who works on campus as the school resource officer, could provide on-site support as well.
"The bottom line is, we are going to be here with you through all of this and beyond," Abell promised students.
Abell also urged anyone who had any information to call 310-802-5140, where a person can report information anonymously, without their name or phone number being recorded.
Rabbi Shlomo, who also advises the Jewish Cultural Club at several other South Bay high schools, told MB News that he was proud that the Mira Costa chapter now numbers about 100 students.
"Today's gathering is to bring light upon what was going on recently; to be confident, to be proud, and not to let anything take us down," he said.