Is It Okay To Brush Off Anti-Semitic Incidents?

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This past week, four synagogues in my hometown of Montreal (actually, they are even in my neighborhood) were attacked in one night in an obvious string of anti-Semitic attacks. These attacks didn’t go unnoticed in the media. It made the front page of the Montreal Gazette (Ed. note: My mother has informed me that contrary to what I read on the internet, it was not actually on the front page) as well as JTA’s homepage. People obviously cared about these incidents and wanted to spread the word about them.

Except for me.

Don’t throw stones at me yet. I do feel guilty about not caring. It’s not like I don’t think anti-Semitism is a problem–especially in Montreal. I saw first hand the results of anti-Semitism when the other branch of my high school had its library firebombed for the sole reason that it was a Jewish institution.

But four incidents in one night doesn’t actually seem like such a big deal to me. Why? Because in all likelihood, because it was all done in one night, this was probably the act of one person or group. Just because incidents like these happen (and they should be addressed and fought against) it does not mean that the problem is actually widespread. The very fact that there are four synagogues (actually, there are many more than that) in a very affluent neighborhood in a secular like Montreal is very telling. To quote the Backstreet Boys, we’ve got it going on.

I think that it’s true that a synagogue being graffiti-ed is a nice reminder that not everyone out there likes us. In fact, there are some people out there who wouldn’t mind hurting us. That said, the vast majority of folks kinda dig the Jews. Hell, we made the front page of the Montreal Gazette! It’s not the New York Times, but it’s a start! I’m kidding, but that still shouldn’t be taken lightly.

So anyone who gets freaked out by these horrible incidents, remember, the people are on your side.

Okay, commence the stone throwing.

Posted on January 19, 2011

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4 thoughts on “Is It Okay To Brush Off Anti-Semitic Incidents?

  1. Yankel Gorokhofskij

    No, it’s not ok to hide. It is what people expect of Jews. To do nothing. To have no guts. To hide in the shadows of the diaspora. Mostly, they do not dig us. Many of them still hate us. The Holocaust was only 60 years ago. Grow a pair.

  2. Jeremy Moses Post author

    Listen, I think you have a point. The Holocaust and it’s memory shouldn’t be taken lightly.

    But to automatically distrust all of our neighbors, almost all of them have proven themselves as good people (whether I personally know them or not), is not a healthy way to live our lives.

  3. Dee

    Unfortunately, Yankel Gorokhofskij is right when he says that “[m]ostly, they do not dig us. Many of them still hate us.”

    I’ve been having a discussion most of today on the comment thread of an article published online. I’m converting to Judaism and I really felt the ugliness today. You can read the conversation here: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Hawks-decision-on-Livni-welcomed-20110120#

    I am not certain what approach works best when it comes to dealing with antisemitism. From I have learnt so far, it’s something that a Jew must expect. It’s not okay, but it must be expected. Torah is full of such instances of persecution against Jews.

    The times when peace and stability have been experienced is when there is closeness to Hashem and complete trust in Him. But even such an ideal situation is not a guarantee, look at Yonah (Job)…

  4. Yankel Gorokhofskij

    I recently read a letter to the editor in a neighboring, large circulation city newspaper, that was allegedly written by an “observant” Jew. To paraphrase, he said “It’s OK to get rid of political correctness. This is a Christian nation and we Jews understand why so may Christians want to get back to (tax-funded) Xmas trees in government buildings, Xmas decorations on City Hall, and employees at Walmart saying Merry Xmas rather than Happy Holidays. It’s cool and we can handle it because America has been good to us.” I replied that in my younger days, I had to read and listen to the New Testament before class started in public shool, and had to appear in a Xmas pageant at school that had zero Hanukah songs but I had a solo singing “Stille Nacht” in German, just ten years after the Holocaust. In the schoolyard, I had been called “Christ Killer” on more than one occasion, BTW. Therefore, I said, I prefer the political correctness of today, thank you! You should have seen the venom spewed against me in the paper and on their online site. I was called anti-Christian, anti-American, and one guy said “that’s the kind of thanks we get from rescuing you from the camps!

    This is why I say, “Jews, don’t hide in the shadows. Fight anti-semitism every time it shows its head in whatever form, and do it loudly!

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