The end of 2019 has left the Jewish people afraid, upset, and concerned about the upcoming year. Acts of terrorism have caused Jews from all around the world to be terrified. They fear going to school and work, having Shabbat dinners, and attending synagogue on the weekends to pray. From shootings to stabbings and swastikas, the recent growth in Antisemitism has significantly impacted the Jewish community.
On December 10, 2019, the JC Kosher supermarket in New Jersey was attacked, killing six people in total. This act of terrorism unfolded when two shooters, David N. Anderson and Francine Graham, killed a detective at a Jewish cemetery and then decided to invade a Kosher market. That day, the town of Greenville, New Jersey went in full lockdown. Nytimes.com reports that the town had a high population of Hasidic Jews (a traditionalist spiritual denomination of Orthodox Judaism), making it the perfect target for Anderson and Graham.
This caused a chaotic scene with officers flooding the streets trying to understand where the gunshots were coming from. The first shot that was fired killed a New Jersey police officer, Joseph Seals, at the cemetery. After that, both Anderson and Graham invaded the market with a rifle and started shooting, killing three people in the market as well as themselves. The next day, hundreds of Jewish men gathered together, crying and hugging on the street where the attack occurred.
The motive was not clear, but police assume that it was a hate crime and that both Anderson and Graham were Antisemitic. According to nytimes.com, Anderson appeared to be in a Black Hebrew Israelite movement. This hate group against the Jewish people claims that they are the true descendents of biblical Jews, according to cnn.com.
Just over a month later, on December 29, five people were stabbed at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg of Congregation Netzach Yisroel during his Hanukkah party. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York deemed this a “domestic act of terrorism,” according to usatoday.com. The stabbing occurred in Monsey, NY which, just like Greenville, has a large population of ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic Jews.
Days later, New York City surveillance video revealed an attack on a man by two women yelling Antisemitic slurs, the 13th Antisemitic attack in ten days in New York City according to cbs.com.
“As a Jew, I feel that Antisemitism not only hurts our community but also the world at large. For centuries, Jews have been oppressed and been subjected to hate crimes and massacres, but however tragic and troubling the recent acts against Jews have been, the important thing to remember is to not give in to their hate. We as a community must bounce back and become even stronger to combat the people who want to see us suffer,” Noam Haron (’20) said.
Despite not living in any of the scenes of the crimes, Haron felt as if these hate crimes happened in his backyard. He, along with his fellow Jews, continues to feel connected to his Jewish community.
Something unique about the past couple of weeks is the fact that through all of the hate, the Jewish community continuously comes together with resilience. For example, a solidarity march was held from Lower Manhattan’s Foley Square to Brooklyn, where speeches were held. Danya Taub (’21) attended the march on January 5.
“Being at the march was a life-changing experience. I was able to feel a robust and connected Jewish community. As we marched over the Brooklyn Bridge, I looked around and appreciated the community around me. I hope this march showed people that we will persist through everything,” Taub said.
Taub was able to share her experience at the march and show her passion for helping the Jewish community bounce back from these recent events. Hopefully, 2020 brings new beginnings and less heartbreak to the Jewish people.