By Amy Zewe—
Ten days ago on Sunday, September 25, at sundown, Rosh Hashanah commenced. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. The birthday of the universe some would say. It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve.
Last night at sundown, on Tuesday Oct. 4, Yom Kippur began. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year—the day on which we are closest to G-d and to the quintessence of our own souls. It is the Day of Atonement:
“For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G-d” (Leviticus 16:30).
The 10 days that lie between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the Yamim Nora’im (Days of Awe) of the holy days of the Jewish calendar for observance. For more information about holidays of the Jewish Calendar, go to Chabad.org
Our Jewish friends are often busy during this fall season each year because of the celebrations and traditions within their communities, synagogues, and family. Most don’t have the luxury of having planned days off from school or work like Christians usually enjoy during the Christmas and New Year holiday time.
So while our Jewish brothers and sisters continue to work and study, while observing their most sacred and hallowed holidays, the rest of society should at least be mindful and accommodating to their schedules, practices and mindset. You would hope, anyway.
But unfortunately, not only does ignorance often accompany the larger community’s treatment of its Jewish members during these holidays, but antisemites also find a sadistic joy in maligning Jews during this time—and often the news and leadership ignore it.
According to only two news sources that I could find, and of course, the work of the diligent watch dog group Stop Antisemitism (and a few social media sites that reposted the Stopantisemitism.org or news articles), antisemitic attacks on US college campuses terrorizing the Jewish populations during their most revered season not only happened but was mostly ignored.
The Jerusalem Post and The Jewish Journal were the only two major news sources to report on at least three antisemitic attacks on the heels of Rosh Hashanah and uncovered by StopAntisemisim.org—who have uncovered even more, so the following list may not be exhaustive by the time you see or read this:
- Rutgers University’s Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) (A Jewish fraternity) house was egged on September 26. This Is not their first incident of being victimized. They were egged in April on Holocaust Remembrance Day. As of now, school leadership has not devoted much effort to identifying and punishing the perpetrators.
- An incident occurred at American University (AU), as University President Sylvia Burwell wrote in an email to the community that a swastika was found on a ceiling tile in one of AU’s bathrooms. She condemned the act outright but also noted since no cameras are in restrooms, their search to identify this vandal is difficult. She asked for the community to send any information.
Burwell wrote in her email:
“The discovery of this hate symbol during Rosh Hashanah, a holy time for our Jewish community members, adds to the harm and hurt. Antisemitism in any form is unacceptable.”
- Near the university of Michigan campus, flyers from the Goyim Defense League (GDL) were found in neighborhoods nearby the University of Michigan on September 25 stating that “every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish.” According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the GDL is “a small network of virulently antisemitic provocateurs.”
Stop Antisemitism Executive Director Liora Rez said in a statement to The Jewish Journal,
This horrific trend of antisemitism on American college campuses becomes even more offensive when it takes place during major Jewish holidays such as it did during Rosh Hashanah this past week. These incidences are exactly why so many Jewish students and their families have reached out to Stop Antisemitism to gauge where it’s safe for Jews to attend school.”
She added that both the University of Michigan and Rutgers were listed in Stop Antisemitism’s recent report grading how universities have handled antisemitism on campus; the University of Michigan received a “C” grade and Rutgers received a “C-” grade.
You will remember, our report last week was about this very report issued by StopAntisemitism.
- Sacramento State University is working to set up a campus town hall after another swastika was found on campus. The watchdog group StopAntisemitism tweeted it was the school’s third incident this month.
- At Stamford University, a mezuzah on the apartment door frame of two Jewish graduate students living in a residence hall was removed Tuesday, the last day of Rosh Hashanah, according to a university post on the Protected Identity Harm Reporting website. StopAntisemitism.org stated the Stamford event was the fifth antisemitic incident that occurred on college campuses in America during Rosh Hashanah.
And, since we are only within Yom Kippur right now, I fear I might find, after a diligent search, tomorrow, even more incidents revealed and reported.
Our Jewish community members deserve peace and safety every day of the year—nothing less than that is acceptable. But as Christian Zionists, let us pray for peace and safety for Jews worldwide as they are targeted more during their holy days. Let us also seek avenues for which we can support and show solidarity with our friends and neighbors, as when they are attacked, we should feel attacked.
G’mar chatima tova; may you be sealed in the Book of Life.
–Yom Tov; have a good holy day.