We American Jews Must Now Not Only Be Vigilant As We Have Joined the Vulnerable Ranks of Our Worldwide Brethren Past and Present. We, and American Non Jews, Must Also Fight For Federal Laws That Make Anti-Semitic Talk And Action Illegal

George WashingtonIt has been happening to Jews for many thousands of years. It has touched our family and we Jews, collectively and of my family, can never forget. To forget is to be vulnerable to anti-Semitic violence and we Jews have learned from history that we must always be vigilant.

All of our grandchildren will know that this Grandma, a child of Holocaust survivors, forever has a place to hide at home. When we built our family home, there was a secret room, well hidden, not shown on the county record plans, with light, provisions, phone (when we had hard lines), and alarm button. It is a need I have always had to have a ready place to hide. When I enter any public place, I immediately note the exits, and watch around me, even before the present training given us all to “run, hide, fight.”  See previous post, relevant now with the horrible news around us: “Active Shooter Training and How to Talk to Grandchildren About Terrorism Are Things We Grandmas All Must Know.”

I remember my Holocaust survivor parents and aunts and uncle talking about growing up and living with normalized anti-Semitism in Poland before the Nazis arrived. Common and standard practices such as having to walk in the gutter because of being Jewish, not allowed higher education, and later even public education at all grades, not allowed to serve or hold certain jobs, and then the open and accepted violence. The pogroms and our Jewish family hiding, especially around Easter, or holidays or just weekends when many drank too much and went looking for Jews to attack.

My Mother told me that she visited her married older brother and his family in Warsaw when she was eleven years old, before World War II. She was walking down a street with her sister-in-law and her three month old nephew in a carriage. She told me that even before the Nazis arrived in Warsaw, a Polish officer in uniform took the baby out of the carriage, ripped it apart and threw it against a wall. She and her sister-in-law had to just keep walking so they, too, would not immediately be killed.

This trauma (and other traumas I have noted in previous posts) emotionally damages generations, but makes survivors of those generations who take heed. Our family has learned. The Warsaw Ghetto, Treblinka, Auschwitz, and several of the 42,000 documented Nazi work camps have been our personal teachers. The Holocaust survivors are the closest to us, our closest family members.

The United States of America has been the safe haven of religious freedom.  Safety and freedom for all, including Jews persecuted for thousands of years.

Now, America joins the ranks of the countries in which we Jews have good reason for our heightened vigilance.

A killing spree at an American synagogue where a baby naming was taking place brings tears of remembrance to my eyes.

Inscribe the various quotes from New York Times, October 27, 2018:

“Armed with an assault rifle and at least three handguns, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning, killing at least 11 people and wounding six others, city officials said. President Trump described the shooting as a “wicked act of mass murder” that was “pure evil.”

“Worshippers had gathered at the synagogue, in the Squirrel Hill neighbourhood, for a baby naming ceremony during the Sabbath at the Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill.”

This synagogue dates back to 1864.

“We believe this is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States,” according to the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish non-governmental organization that fights anti-Semitism.

In the United States,“[a]nti-Semitism is becoming normalized.” Said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. His quotes: “Permissible to attack Jews. . . .” “Political climate contributing and social media amplifying.”

Jonathan Greenblatt said this must be shut down by our government.

What must be shut down? The normalization of anti-Semitism in America is what must be shut down.

Why? Talk leads to action. Our family knows this.

We all should now learn this.

In 2017, anti-Semitic attacks in the United States surged nearly 60%, according to the Anti Defamation League, which found 1986 cases of harassment, vandalism, or physical assaults against Jews or Jewish institutions last year.  New York Times, October 27, 2018.

Anti-Jewish bias was the most likely cause of the hate crimes motivated by race, ethnicity or religion according to the FBI, in their reporting that in 2016, hate crimes reached their highest mark since 2012.  Washington Post, October 28, 2018.

Our President said the synagogue should have had armed guards.

Having armed guards does not deal with the cause. Anti-Semitism has been with us for thousands of years. It is the normalization of anti-Semitism that is the danger from which armed guards will not save us American Jews.

Inscribe these quotes from the Washington Post, October 28, 2018:

““I’m afraid to say that we may be at the beginning of what has happened to Europe, the consistent anti-Semitic attacks,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of Simon Wiesenthal Center, who prayed at Mr. Trump’s inauguration. He spoke in a phone interview from Austria, where he was visiting the Mauthausen concentration camp.”

“If it is not nipped in the bud,” he continued, “I am afraid the worst is yet to come.”

Anti-Semitism appeared to run deep for Mr. Bowers. Before it was deleted Saturday morning, a social media account believed to belong to him was filled with anti-Jewish slurs and references to anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.”

“I used to think that the United States is the guarantor of Jewish security worldwide, and now it’s not the case any more,” said Sergey Lagodinsky, a member of the assembly of the Jewish community of Berlin. “From the European Jewish perspective, this haven that we thought the U.S. is for Jews is no more there.”

We must now act to codify in Federal Law the goals of George Washington, in his 1790 letter to the Touro Synagogue, the second oldest Jewish congregation in the United States, in Newport, Rhode Island.

“. . . .the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. . . . .May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

The normalization of anti-Semitic talk and action must now be made illegal or the United States will no longer endure as a safe haven for Jews.  The Federal Government must update its laws to put the kind of violence targeting Jews (and other minorities and religious groups) in the same category as terrorists inspired by foreign groups.

A dear long (we never say old) friend, who is not Jewish, sent me a text message yesterday.  She said, “What happened in Pittsburgh is evil and wrong. I feel so sad that my Jewish friends have been attacked emotionally if not physically. There is no room for anti-Semitism in our country.”

She told me I could add her text to this blog post.

What I say to her and all Americans, Jewish and Non Jewish, is to act by contacting President Trump, your congressmen and senators. Easy instructions are below.*

Tell them (and you can just copy this): Domestic hate crimes must be labeled as terrorism.  Modify Federal Law so that if someone meeting the legal definition of a terrorist committed a domestic hate crime, they can be charged with a separate federal terrorism offense.

Please add:

It is the United States of America that must put the Federal Government behind condemnation of anti-Semitism, stand up, not only say NEVER AGAIN, but put Federal Law in place, putting its muscle where its mouth is.

Please send this blog post to all who care about safety and freedom for all Americans.  We all must act now and stand up for America.

 

With Little Joy,

 

Mema

 

  • How to contact President Trump: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
  • How to contact Senators: https://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/How_to_correspond_senators.htm
  • Emailing a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives:  https://www.house.gov/representatives
  1. Visit www.house.gov. This is the official website for the US House of Representatives. …
  2. Enter your zip code. …
  3. Enter your street address. …
  4. Click on your representative’s name. …
  5. Click on the “Contact” link. …

 

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