Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Jersey Synagogue Firebombed

In the latest antisemitic incident in the New York City area, a Rutherford, New Jersey synagogue was firebombed. Unfortunately, as those who have read several previous diaries here, these incidents are becoming all too common in New York City and its environs. This also represents a particularly alarming turn of events. Previous incidents were property crimes or minor assaults. This event was an attack on a residence, as the synagogue's rabbi and his family live in the building as well. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli explained:

At this point it’s not just a hate crime and a bias crime. It’s now an attempted murder. (emphasis my own)

Describing what happened, Rabbi Nosson Schuman said:

“We just woke up to flames roaring through my window and my quilt caught on fire,” he told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan. “I really think by the grace of God the fire did go out and when it came through the window it did not come on our faces. It went on the blankets.”

[snip]

“My quilt was on fire. I had to put it out,” he told WCBS 880′s Sean Adams. “Got the kids out and realized that this must have been a continuation of the hate crimes that have been occurring throughout the area.”


According to the report, several devices were thrown specifically at the upper portion of the building, which is where the residence is located. These devices included molotov cocktails and lit aerosol cans. Thankfully, the injuries suffered were only minor. However, they could have been much worse.

As Adam Dickter writes in The Jewish Week, perhaps it is time for Chris Christie to come back to New Jersey and do his job:

So now might a good time for Governor Christie to tour some of the affected areas and make it clear, as only he can, that criminals who commit any kind of bias crime on his watch will "go down" just as swiftly as those hecklers in New Hampshire.

Living my whole life in New York, and being under 30, I previously felt safe. Now, I don't know that I feel as safe. I see all these incidents going on around me. It's probably even more pronounced since I've become more observant over the past few months. I generally cover my head these days when I'm outside the house. Usually, I'll wear a baseball cap. However, sometimes I'll wear a kippah (yarmulke or skullcap). And all this is on top of already being used to the police checking in at my synagogue on the holidays to make sure everything is okay.

Things don't exactly feel different, but at the same time they do. I'm a bit more vigilant, but I'm not terrified. It's hard to put into words. It's a gut feeling. I guess the least imperfect way of explaining it is that it seems that whenever I look in the news there's always something there to remind that I'm a Jew and that many in this world hate me simply for existing.

4 comments:

  1. We've asked that question with each and every incident. :-(

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  2. And what happened to comments here? They're all weird and small and hard to read. And the avatar things are all screwy, too. Like Donkey Kong-style graphics or something. Tear down these new fonts, Blogspot!

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  3. Agree about the formatting. It could be improved.

    As for the event, it is not a surprise anymore, and the animus is not just coming from one direction.

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