Supposed judge of middle school robotics competition draws backlash over anti-Semitic comment

A church owned by United Hebrew Community of New York was the focus of conversation by students on the Woodmere Middle School robotics team.

News 12 Staff

Feb 13, 2020, 8:34 PM

Updated 1,566 days ago

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What started as a community project about a church ended up with outrage over an anti-Semitic slur in Woodmere.
A church owned by United Hebrew Community of New York was the focus of conversation by students on the Woodmere Middle School robotics team.
It had fallen into disrepair and became part of a discussion on how to revitalize it as part of a competition. Participants say that's when one of the judges in the competition made an anti-Semitic comment. Cellphone video shows the interaction, where the apparent judge says, "God d--- Jews."
"The comment itself, was crazy, it's totally un-American, it's ridiculous," says Yan Vilensky, a father of one of the students.
Vilensky says he did not want to interrupt the judge after the comment in order to avoid "ruining the experience" of the competition for the kids.
The competition was organized by the FIRST Lego League. The competition included students taking on a community service project. It's not clear at this point who the judges are, as schools from around the region take part.
A spokeswoman for the Hewlett-Woodmere School District says they are in touch with the league to find out who the judges are.
A spokesperson for the FIRST Lego League says, "What was said on the video is disgraceful and has no place in society, let alone at a youth school event. As such, this volunteer will no longer be welcomed back as a volunteer in any capacity for any future FIRST events."
FIRST would not tell News 12 where the volunteer works or if the organization screens its volunteers.


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