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In light of the most recent anti-Semitic attack in a suburb of New York City, where a man broke into the home of a prominent rabbi holding a Hanukkah celebration with a machete, I’ve heard from many friends “What can I do to help?” I wanted to offer some tangible suggestions for those horrified by the slow-moving pogrom happening in New York City and wishing to act:
- Contact your local Jewish community and ask if they would accept volunteers from outside the community to provide security.
- The cost of upgrading security has been enormous for many Jewish institutions across the country. Off-duty police officers are paid to work shifts on holidays and on Shabbat, but many buildings have undergone serious renovations to install new security systems, panic buttons, auto-locking doors, new windows, and more. Consider donating to your local synagogue, Jewish community center, Hillel, schools or Jewish Federation’s security fund.
- Another worthwhile organization worth noting is the Community Security Service. You can donate to their efforts to train Jews to protect their community, or contact them to ask how you can get involved in their work.
- Shop at Kosher supermarkets and restaurants. It’s a scary time to run a business that is a potential terror target, and it’s encouraging for those working there to have the support of the wider community.
- Contact your local representatives and ask them to step up to the plate, especially if you live in a district with a Jewish population.
- Lend support and encouragement to officials doing the right thing, like here:
This morning @NYSenatorFelder, Assemblyman @SEichenstein, Councilman @ChaimDeutsch and I sent this letter to @NYGovCuomo.
We're asking for the State Police and NY National Guard to be deployed to our neighborhoods, and for a special prosecutor to prosecute antisemitic violence. pic.twitter.com/EVh8BjwpjT
— Kalman Yeger (@KalmanYeger) December 29, 2019
7. And hold feet to the fire of politicians who refuse to do more than tweet (if they’re even doing that).
8. Encourage your faith leaders to take a stand and give them ideas of what that looks like: a statement to the congregation, a joint-vigil or gathering with the local Jewish community, or merely a public statement of support.
9. When you see biased or toxic representations of Jews in popular culture, the media, or in your daily life, say something. Dehumanizing Jews is a root cause of the violence we’re now seeing.
A few more suggestions from my Twitter followers:
I’m going to volunteer my services – for security, and the appearance of security – at my local Synagogue. I called and left a vm earlier.
However they need, I’m there. I’ll help walk people home, and/or provide static or plain clothes security…just ‘stand in the gap’
— Jared (@jaredstill) December 29, 2019
Speak out. Say something. Don’t let the conversation or lack of die out. Post, share, like the news when these things keep happening. Let it be known this won’t be accepted as the new normal.
— Rina Haller (@rinabracha) December 29, 2019
Pressuring our politicians to fight the anti semitism would be the best way
— Mike James (@MikeJamesNYC) December 29, 2019
Stand up for obvious Jews when obviously disturbed people verbally harass and assault us in public places about “Jesus killers” and the “real Jews” and all that. Polite society usually just ignores – esp when the perpetrator is lower on the intersectionality pole.
— OnTheBench (@Huerts31) December 29, 2019
As a Catholic I intend to pray the rosary today for the victims. But I can assure you if I see or witness something I have no intention of being silent. Anti-Semitism needs to be dealt with through action not words.
— Jacob Descheneaux (@SpartacusX86) December 29, 2019
Not Jewish – but a new Daf Yomi cycle starts January 5. Understanding the Orthodox dedication to learning Talmud is probably a good place to start.
— Jennings DePriest (@jenningslawton) December 29, 2019
Do you have any other ideas? Leave them the comments.