On January 15, a gunman arrested four people at Beth Israel, a Reform synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. The captives fled, largely because the cold-blooded rabbi had been trained for years in security. Synagogues are well aware of the dangers since 2018, when a gunman killed 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life church in Pittsburgh.
It’s a dangerous time: Anti-hatred cases in New York have risen by almost 50% since 2020, the state police department said in December. One in four American Jews said they experienced anti-Semitism last year, the NPR reported in October 2021.
I wanted to explore and stand in harmony with our Jewish readers. To create a dedicated meeting place, I spoke with five Jewish women on the phone – including Orthodox mothers of four children in New Jersey; Cup of Jo writer in LA; and the editor of the popular Jewish newspaper – about how he feels today. This is what they shared…
What is your temperature right now, after the Texas capture crisis and the full rise of anti-semitic systems?
“I am angry and frustrated. Many Jewish people have been trying to raise concerns about the rise of anti-semitism for YEARS, and no one takes us seriously. We grew up knowing Nazi survivors, and we were confident that someday we would see it coming and we would not let it happen – and now seeing the rise of antisemitism and feeling powerless is very difficult. ”- Shoshana Batya Greenwald, self-proclaimed progressive Orthodox woman, educator and historian.
“The danger is much closer than ever. When I was growing up, I did not know anyone who had ever experienced anti-Semitism except my fourth-grade teacher, who was asked in depth by a college student, ‘Where are your horns?’ I knew that this had happened, but it ‘s not a part of me anymore. But that has definitely changed. ” – Leah Koenig, cook, letter writer and coJ assistant
What are your favorite things about Judaism and being a Jew?
“The Shabbat ritual has been our foundation for the past two years. I wake up and enjoy Friday morning because I know I can start my challah for my family to eat at the end of the day. – and the process is not fast. And the process itself is a way of showing and respecting the time. ‘when I enjoy the moment.’ – Abigail Raminsky, author, educator, editor and co-founder of CoJ
“What I love most about Judaism is the making and sharing of food. While we were living in Jerusalem, our friends had a relaxed Saturday lunch. We went about twice a month. Sometimes it was 10 people, sometimes 20, they didn’t care. He made a pile of food and people brought things, and we sat down or everywhere. Whenever anyone goes there, I entreat people to eat that lunch. ” – Jodi Rudoren, editor-in-chief of The Forward, the Jewish independent newspaper
His Jewish friends told me that they were afraid to go to meetings or did not consider buying a house near the synagogues, and so on.
“I am so disappointed that I do not feel truly safe at the synagogue meetings. I always thought, Where are the results? Where are my children? What could I do? It really touches my heart when I talk to her about it. ” – Leah Koenig
“By the end of 2019, a survey was conducted with two alarming statistics: one in four American Jews said they were afraid to go to Jewish places / events and that about a third of American Jews were afraid to wear yarmulke or Star of David or something. . that identified them as Jews. Personally, I have never heard of such a thing. I feel that you know but go ahead and live your life. “- Jodi Rudoren
“Yes, I feel that fear. Apparently the Jews are being beaten on the streets. Last year, a boy was beaten, and he was about the same age as my son in the same way. I am also afraid to go to conventions; we had an anti-Semitic rally and I was very nervous. I felt I was a target for a group of Jews. ” – Shoshana Greenwald
“Jewish elementary schools have added security to the bombing – can you imagine leaving your young child at school with several armed guards? The strange thing for me, having grown up in a Jewish community in Michigan, was never scared. My Grandparents’ Grandparents he was a Nazi survivor, and when I was younger, I felt like, well, now we are on the other side! But the assassins seem to be on the rise now. Camp Auschwitz ‘- reminded me of the talk and violence of the Holocaust. What scares me the most is that antisemitic violence is on the rise. ”- Leah Fink, teacher and founder of B’nai Brooklyn
“Shul is a place where I go with my family and friends and the community to pray and laugh, cry, cry, cry, drink coffee and SIT. I feel like if anything happens in my synagogue, I will have my family, friends and loved ones.” – Abigail Raminsky
What do you want your non-Jewish friends to do or say?
“After stories like the case of the detainees in Texas, it is very good for non-Jewish friends to text each other and come in. And seeing friends talk to them on television encourages me and reassures me.” – Leah Fink
“I wish people would accept that and not make us feel like crazy. Just looking at Jewish friends and saying, wow, antisemitism is on the rise. After the Pittsburgh shooting, journalists talk about gun control with Trump, but no one talks about antisemitism. This is when I saw it clearly. Just use words! Say the word antisemitism! Notice what is happening! Our lives are at stake! Everyone starts with People Love Dead Dead and Dara Horn; That’s the important reading. ”- Shoshana Greenwald
Is there anything you are looking forward to or planning to do, going forward?
“I started wearing a Jewish star a year ago, after a revolution in upstate New York. As a coincidence, I wanted to be a visible Jew, so I wore this bead. Sometimes, when I’m out, I see someone noticing, and it sounds good. People find out who I am. I feel like the right thing to do. ”- Leah Koenig
“I have two children, and my goal is to raise children. Children are affected by many things. We need to encourage them not only to accept sources that are often biased or inaccurate, or to cover their heads and hide, but to ask, what does the other side say? What does it mean? Encouraging them to ask questions and giving a direct answer is one of the most important things we can do as parents. ” – Jodi Rudoren
“We have four children – ranging from 6 to 17 – and it is very important for us that they love to be Jewish. good children and establish the pride of being a Jew in our lives. if you have children, build your Judaism a good thing. Our family holds Shabbat every week. We remove the technicality completely; for 25 hours, from Friday sunset until the stars come out Saturday, we do not turn on the lights, we do not cook, we do not write, we do not take elevators. I could be overwhelmed by a million things, but once I light a candle, I don’t stay that way. We are able to isolate ourselves from constant stress, and we can eat, pray, sleep, socialize and socialize with our friends and family. I like to be a Jew; and everything. ” – Shoshana Greenwald
How do you feel today? I believe our Jewish readers are doing well; sending love. xo
PS Raising racist children, and are you religious?
(Photo by Luciano Spinelli / Stocksy.)