Over 150 bomb threats and acts of violence have left Jewish communities in panic

By Amber Bartlett (’18)

A robotic voice blasts over the intercom. Panic sweeps over familiar faces. People reach for their belongings as they are told to evacuate as quickly as possible. Children grip hands tightly and file out of the room, down the hall, and away, leaving the place they call “home.”

People of all ages crowd around after evacuating the La Jolla JCC awaiting the “all clear” statement. Photo: Debbie Ditter

Since January of this year, more than 80 Jewish community centers have become targets of hate. The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center was one of the JCCs across the nation targeted with emails and phone calls. These calls contained frightening messages like, “Jews are going to be slaughtered.” The threats aren’t the only acts of hatred facing the Jewish people. Vandals in Philadelphia and New York have desecrated tombstones in Jewish cemeteries by knocking them over or smashing them until they crumble. Clearly, hatred is in the air.

We have another pharaoh in our midst who could violate our freedom. In his statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Donald Trump did not mention the unjust murder of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. Instead, he replaced the word “Jew” with the word “innocent” which is an inaccurate representation of the Jewish victims whose lives were ended by Hitler and Nazi perpetrators. In addition, Trump has not acknowledged the fact that Jewish children are going to school in fear or the sickening tweets going viral containing “jokes” of reopening the gas chambers for Jews on the east and west coasts.

In a second news conference, a journalist asked about the vandalism of synagogues and bomb threats across the country. Trump responded with anger in his voice, “Quiet! Quiet! Quiet!” He then reassured them that he is “the least anti-Semitic person that you have ever seen in your entire life.” However, he did not respond to what some people are calling “the biggest wave of antisemitism since the 1930s.”

SDJA’s own Vivienne Blackburn (‘19) has a strong opinion on the subject: “vandalism of any sort should not be tolerated, especially when it is a hate crime.” When asked what we should do to try to remedy the recent hate, she responded that we should “not let fear control us and dictate our actions.”

The FBI has arrested one of the terrorists, Juan Johnson, who tried to take out revenge on all Jews after his Jewish ex-girlfriend dumped him. However, officials are not sure of the identities of the other terrorists because they are not able to track their advanced technology.

Fortunately, senators are taking action to battle anti-Semitism following the rash bomb threats targeted for Jewish institutions. In a rare unity, all 100 senators accepted the idea of assisting the Jewish community in fighting off this wave of anti-Semitism. Secretary John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and FBI Director James Comey are urging law enforcement to do their part to protect and prevent further threats.

However, in our so-called civilized society, where our government takes action for unfortunate events, each individual must also do their part to stop hatred. Hatred is nourished with ignorance. Ignorance is a lethal poison that slowly overthrows the mind and grinds our tolerance to dust. We must come together as a Jewish community and as a community at large to educate and push back against these hateful threats before it is too late.

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