A United Front Against Antisemitism

Rebecca Blumenthal

On Sunday, January 5th, tens of thousands of Jews and allies marched in New York City to show solidarity amid the recent wave of antisemitism and violence against Jews. Holding signs with lines like “Hatred is not Kosher!” or “No Hate, No Fear”, participants marched from Lower Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge and into Brooklyn.

New York legislators who spoke at the event, like Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer, announced plans to increase federal funding for protection of houses of worship and for fighting hate crimes. 

This march comes in response to recent attacks on the Jewish community, particularly the stabbing that occurred at a Chanukah menorah lighting ceremony at a rabbi’s house in Monsey, New York on the seventh night of Chanukah. This attack left five people hospitalized, with one victim still in intensive care. This came just a few weeks after a shooting at a New Jersey Kosher market left six dead.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization that tracks hate crimes, anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. had been on the decline since 2001, until 2014, when they skyrocketed. In 2017, the number increased by 57%. Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the ADL, has said that acts of anti-Semitism seem to be “now the new normal.”

Mrs. Goldberg, the advisor of Ward Melville’s Hebrew Culture Club, explained that this new wave of “hate and violence” is “promoted from above.” To combat this hate, she says, we as a school and community “need to make a united front; we need to all stand together and show that it’s not tolerated… we have to learn from each other and promote tolerance and acceptance of everybody.”

Although progress is slow, the march represents solidarity and strength in response to the wave of anti-Semitism. People of all religions and ethnicities rallying together in support of the Jewish community is certainly a step in the right direction towards a world with no hate and no fear.  “We’re all the same,” said Mrs. Goldberg. “We all have one goal: we just want to go home and sleep at night, and get up and start all over again the next day.”