As the aftermath of recent anti-Semitic attacks still remains in the atmosphere, another violent act shakes the American Jewish community, particularly in New York.
That is the new reality in America. The recent stabbing at a rabbi’s house during Hanukkah, which left five people wounded by a man who allegedly deliberately targeted Jews, was the most recent attack out of ten incidents against Jews in New York in a week.
The inevitable question is, “Why us?” Also, what can be done to avoid another tragedy?
The answers are ultimately in our unity.
Are Anti-Semitic Crimes and Threats the New Norm in the U.S.?
Nearly 60% of crimes religiously motivated in the U.S. in the last year were committed against Jews, with 1,879 such incidents reported during this period. Physical attacks on Jews have also increased nationwide by 105% over the past year. In the Big Apple alone, anti-Semitic assaults make up more than half of its reported hate crimes.
In light of the situation, the NYPD has increased security in Jewish neighborhoods and facilities.
Also, on a personal level, I spoke to my son earlier today who was visiting Monsey, the place where the most recent attacks took place, and the Jews in the area told him how yesterday they didn’t even have locks on their doors, while today, they’re talking about what are the best guns to buy for self-defense. However, adding more security against increasing anti-Semitic manifestations will fail to prevent the recurrence of such cases.
How can we disallow anti-Semitic crimes and threats from becoming the new norm?
Could what have happened in Nazi Germany again occur in the enlightened and cultured U.S.?
While some American Jews justifiably fear an unknown future, the majority of U.S. Jews are likely skeptical about the possibility that a terrible disaster could hit in their homeland. However, reality shows that American Jews’ sense of immunity has been lost. That Jewish places of worship, community centers, and homes have become targets is a situation that was inconceivable in the past.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Unity of the Jewish People — the Light at the End of the Tunnel
The insurance policy of the Jewish people is in its unity.
In order to thrive and survive, the people of Israel have to be united “as one man with one heart,” i.e., to live in mutual responsibility according to the rule, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” These are not merely pleasant or empty words. It is the order of the day.
Unity of the Jewish people is intended to bring spiritual prosperity and well-being not only to the Jews, but to humanity. The role of the Jewish people is to be a “light unto the nations,” providing every person on this planet with a method to achieve unity and the manifestation of a positive unifying example.
Anti-Semites harbor unexplained irrational enmity toward Jews. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, this negative sensation is inherently a longing for unity among Jews, one that will fill all of life’s gray spaces with light and vitality.
There is a chance to unite, and by doing so, stop further escalation of anti-Semitism. But we need to act in the direction of coming closer to each other and rising above our differences before it is too late. It is as written, “once permission has been granted to the Destroyer, he does not distinguish between righteous and wicked.”
When Hitler came to power in 1933, first Chief Rabbi of Eretz Israel and Kabbalist Rav Kook delivered a sermon in the old city of Jerusalem in which he spoke about the terrible Holocaust, years before it began:
“Enemies force the Jewish people to be redeemed, blasting the trumpets of war, bombarding them with deafening threats of harassment and torment, giving them no respite in the Diaspora. The shofar of an impure animal becomes the shofar of Mashiach. Amalek, Petilura, Hitler and their ilk- awaken us to redemption. The one who did not listen to the sound of the first shofar and the ones whose ears are closed up and do not want to listen to the sound of the second, ordinary shofar will listen to the sound of the impure, invalid shofar. They will listen against their will.” (Berachot 51b)
Today, President Trump is pro-Israeli, but sooner or later, the administration will change, and a leader can enter into office with a lot less sympathy for the Jews.
In such a scenario, the media will limit its coverage of violent incidents against Jews. Less awareness from the authorities and the public would thus make anti-Semitism take a far uglier turn from its current intensification.
If the message of our better future depending on our unity reaches listening ears, we will experience a shift to safety, peace, and calm. As long we are given an opportunity to disseminate the method of connection — the wisdom of Kabbalah — it is our duty to do so, as it holds the potential to dissipate all threats and bring us to a newfound harmony.
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