Bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers throughout the country and locally, cemeteries being desecrated, swastikas being drawn in our local High School. How can we not ask ourselves “what is going on?” “Who are the perpetrators?” And how widespread is Anti-Semitism in our society? We don’t have good answers to any of these questions; only to realize that this ancient hatred is alive and that it has caused us all to question as we have not in recent memory.
David Harris is the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, and days ago he wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Huffington Post. I would like to quote some of what he wrote.
“No one is born hating, but, tragically, some are taught to hate, whether in the name of racial purity, religious doctrine, political dogma, ethnic stereotyping, sheer jealousy—You name it….
“…… most American Jews live comfortable and secure lives in a land where pretty much every door is now wide open to them, and where a recent survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center showed that Jews are the most positively viewed religious group in the United States. But that’s of little solace to those who have experienced, directly or indirectly, the impact of this wave of bigotry and viciousness….”
Anti-Semitism is not an exclusively Jewish matter. Rather, it should be viewed as a much broader concern. After all, Anti-Semitism like any form of racism violates every norm of America’s self-definition. It rips at the fabric of our democratic and pluralistic society. It challenges the mutual respect and coexistence that form the heart of the American experiment. If any group is targeted, all groups are at risk.”
Yes, we are all rightfully concerned about the increase in anti-Semitic episodes and hope that the perpetrators will be caught and punished. But more than that, we hope and dedicate ourselves to a time when no group will be subject to hatred, and when all children will be taught of all that unites us as children of the same God. For sure, we all have a great stake in assuring that respect, understanding and tolerance prevail in our own community and beyond.