As a Jewish school, it is our obligation to be informed of the hate crimes our religion endured during the festival of lights. Jewish people have suffered from antisemitism throughout all of history, but in this day in age sadly, hate crimes directed towards Jews are increasing. Almost every night of Hanukkah in 2019, a different hate crime was committed.
On Monday, the second day of Hanukkah, a 65-year-old Jewish man was punched and kicked, and told “F**k you Jew.” This incident occurred two blocks away from the Grand Central Station in Manhattan. Later in the day, around 8:40 pm, a 67-year-old Jewish man and his two children were in the lobby of their residential building. A group of teenagers came from behind and struck the children, who are six and seven years old.
On Tuesday at 1:40 am, a group of people yelled antisemitic slurs at a twenty-five-year-old man. One of the attackers threw a drink at him. Although the victim was uninjured, he is going to suffer from emotional trauma. Later in the day, a 65-year-old man was walking as a group of people approached him. One man punched him, but this is still the beginning.
Wednesday, the fourth day of Hanukkah, a 40-year-old man dressed in “traditional religious clothing” was walking home when another man blocked his path. This man punched the victim in the face when he tried to pass. Thursday, the fifth night of Hanukkah, an orthodox woman was hit and beaten with her purse by another woman. If that wasn’t bad enough, she also beat this woman in front of her three children.
Friday, a woman named Tiffany Harris slapped three women on the face and head. She was arrested and charged as a hate crime. Later in the day, a black man walked into Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters and threatened to shoot it up. Luckily no one was injured and he was caught.
Saturday, the seventh night, a Rabbi opened his home to celebrate the seventh night. The Rabbi lived in Monsey, New York which has a high population of orthodox Jews. During the candle-lighting ceremony to commemorate the seventh night of Hanukkah, which held more than 100 people, a man broke into the Rabbi’s home and started stabbing people at random. Five people were injured, one who was in critical condition.
The Jewish religion has been through hell and back, but we won’t break. Ava Stark, a Weber sophomore, added her input and said, “the fact that all this happened to jewish people, horrifies me. I am a Jewish person, and everyone who is Jewish is my family.” The hate crimes in New York not only affect every Jewish person there, but it also affects us. Kira Berzack, a Weber sophomore said, “Some people view the news reports blindly due to the fact that they do not live in that specific area. What we need to do as Jews is something that will help us as one, a community. We are one nation, and we need to make sure that we stick together through this horrific chain of negative events. No one is targeted in solitude, it is always against a bigger and much wider group, the Jewish people. Each alert I received of an attack adds a permanent ache in my heart. It really hurts to be targeted, and hurts even more when little change is being made.”
Even though the learning about antisemitism may make you feel down, to know means we can grow. Mrs. Lieberman said, “The thing that kept us going for the millenium, we persevere, and we do not let these sorta things be our definition.”
We can stand strong as a religion, and we should be proud of our religion. They will not scare us, and we will come back stronger.