Opinion: Taking a stand against anti-Semitism should not be a partisan issue – New Haven Register

Posted By on February 21, 2020

We must all take a stand against anti-Semitism. It doesnt matter if we are a Republican or Democrat discrimination against Jews does not belong in our society. We are better than that.

A friend of mine told me that a couple of years ago her daughter went to a summer program that is held on the campus of Yale University. It is sponsored by a Jewish organization. When she dropped her daughter off, her daughter waved good-bye to her as she was walking with a group of students to a Sabbath dinner. The young men were wearing yarmulkes (sometimes called kippot). My friend said to her husband, I hope she will be safe walking with those boys. They are a target with those yarmulkes on. Her husband assured her that she has nothing to worry about. He said, These streets are part of Yales campus. This is New Haven, not Paris.

She recently told me that her husband would probably look differently at her concerns since there have been so many anti-Semitic attacks in New Jersey and New York recently.

According to the ADL who keeps track of anti-Semitic incidents, just in January, in D.C., Seattle and Springfield, Va., synagogues received harassing anti-Semitic letters. In Chicago a person forced their way into a synagogue and behaved in a threatening matter towards the rabbi and in Brooklyn an individual walked down the street screaming, Hitler did not kill enough of you in the gas chambers and then got into an altercation with a Jewish man in which he brandished a knife. There were dozens of other anti-Semitic incidents that included graffiti, threats and confrontations against Jews in dozens of states.

In general, you cannot tell what religion someone is by what they look like. However, ultra-Orthodox Jews stand out because of the way the women dress in a modest manner and the men choose to wear black coats and hats or yarmulkes. They are easy targets. However, if history teaches us anything, discrimination against observant Jews always seems to spread to less observant Jews and then to those affiliated with Jews and then to other minority groups in society.

The same friend whose daughter attended the program at Yale recently told me a very sad family story. Her grandfather had a first cousin who didnt want to stay with her family in Eastern Europe and thought she would be happier in the United States with her cousins who lived here. After World War II she got notice that her entire family she left in Europe which included her parents, siblings and nieces and nephews were killed in the Holocaust. She never asked how they died assuming they perished in concentration camps. However, just recently through distant cousins my friend discovered how those relatives actually died. It seems this womans father was an ultra-Orthodox rabbi whose relatives in the U.S. begged him and the rest of the relatives to come to live here while they could still get out of Europe. However, he was very committed to his congregation and thought his congregants would have no hope if he and his family left. So they all stayed.

Eventually, this entire family, including the children were rounded up with others in their community, put in either a synagogue or other building (I cannot remember which) and burned alive!

Discrimination starts with a snide remark, othering and looking at people as different. Unfortunately, it doesnt end there. Jews who have faced discrimination have gone two separate ways in our society. Either they have assimilated and changed their family name or have made a concerted effort to maintain their identity. Instead of assimilating there is a rabbi named Dovid Hofstedter who chose the opposite road. He is Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) and became a scholar of all things Jewish, has written books about Judaism and founded the largest Torah (educational) organization in the world called Dirshu.

His parents were Holocaust survivors. They were witness to unspeakable crimes against humanity. He knew that many of the greatest scholars of the 20th Century were murdered before they had a chance to pass down all of their wisdom. He wanted to create a renaissance of Jewish learning and he managed to do it all across the world.

After Jews complete a 7 1/2-year cycle of Torah study, they have an enormous celebration called a siyum. Dirshu has been having these siyums all across the world since December. Thousands upon thousands turn out for these massive celebrations. Recently, they had three, with the largest one taking place at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. There was a sea of Jewish scholars participating in these siyums, dressed in ultra-orthodox garb dancing and singing as if to say to the world, We are here to stay and are proud to be Jewish!

Noelle Nikpour is a GOP strategist, fundraiser and television commentator.

Originally posted here:

Opinion: Taking a stand against anti-Semitism should not be a partisan issue - New Haven Register

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