Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) announced this morning that *Kohanim*(priests) can return to Friends Field (Ave. L, E. 4 St., McDonald Ave., Ave. M), which they’ve been prohibited from enjoying because of religious prohibitions resulting from the park abutting the Washington Cemetery.
Assemblyman Hikind first became aware that the park posed a problem to some community members when a constituent contacted the Assemblyman’s office. Upon visiting the park, the Assemblyman saw firsthand what the problem was. “The tree branches from the cemetery hanging over the park and branches from the park were hanging into the cemetery,” the Assemblyman explains. “According to Jewish law, the park had become an extension of the cemetery. Kohanim are prohibited from entering cemeteries. I thought what a shame it was that one of our community’s most beautiful parks couldn’t be enjoyed by everyone.”
Thousands of people visit Friends Field, which boasts a toddler playground that’s used by hundreds of children and their parents on weekends, as well as a number of ball fields. In August, the Assemblyman met with Kevin Jeffrey, Brooklyn Borough Commissioner of Parks, and Jamey Hewitt, Director of Brooklyn Forestry, to help resolve tree-related issues impacting Boro Park and Midwood residents. Regarding Friends Field, Assemblyman Hikind offered an easy solution. “It was just a matter of cutting back the branches,” he said. “What could be more simple?”
The Parks Department agreed and scheduled the tree trimming, which took place this morning. The Assemblyman praised Commissioner Jeffrey and Director Hewitt for being sensitive to the community’s needs and responding so quickly. “Now our “entire” community can enjoy the park,” said Assemblyman Hikind. “It’s a nice way to usher in the New Year.”
Source: Press Release