Action needed to stop anti-Semitism

First place, editorial writing

Even with education, today’s world is filled with so much hatred. Unfortunately, for some groups, the hatred seems never-ending.

It seems almost regular now to see reports of antisemitic acts taking place daily all over the world. A recent string of hate crimes that occurred over the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah has left Jewish communities across the country in fear.

Hanukkah, which is the festival of lights, was filled with more darkness this year than light. Over the holiday, which began on Dec. 22 and ended on Dec. 30, a reported nine acts of anti-Semitism took place.

On the second night of Hanukkah, a man in New York was charged with a hate crime for shouting antisemitic slurs at a Jew who was wearing a yarmulke, a customary brimless cap worn by observant Jews.

Then, on the same night, another man in New York was charged with a hate crime for striking two young Jewish boys in the back of the head.

On the third night, a group yelled antisemitic slurs at a 25-year-old man and threw a drink at him. The list keeps going. By far, the worst of all these acts took place on the seventh night of Hanukkah, where a man wielding a machete interrupted a celebration by barging into the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg in Monsey, New York and stabbed five people. The attacker, identified as 37-year-old Grafton Thomas, has been indicted on six attempted murder charges.

Now, people are left wondering why are we witnessing such hate? This year alone, there has been a reported 150 antisemitic attacks in New York, a 63 percent increase from the previous year.

Something needs to be done about this. How can one sit idly by as people are being stabbed during a time of celebration for their religious beliefs? How can people be okay with such acts of hatred and evil?

Jews across the country are left wondering how to respond to this antisemitism. Synagogues have found themselves hiring private security to ensure safety during times of prayer. Some Jews are refusing to go out in public for fear of being harmed.

Despite this, the truth is that these acts of hatred will not be stopped until everybody recognizes the problem and takes action. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said it himself: “It’s not enough to condemn anti-Semitism — we have to confront it.”

How do we confront it? Start by speaking out against hate. Hatred is designed to separate us and create chaos. By speaking out and informing people that such hate should not be tolerated, there will be no room left for hate to spread.

And for all Jews feeling vulnerable, we must continue to stay strong through these times and prioritize our safety.When the time comes and people decide to act in unity, that is when hatred will be trapped with nowhere to go. And soon enough, hatred will cease to exist.