The Fight of Antisemitism in America

America, the land of the free. A promise given to so many individuals immigrating and being born in the USA, but that promise is not being held up. During this holiday season, antisemitism has made headlines and has brought light to the dangers Jewish people are faced with every single day.

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Eran Bagwell, Contributor

Hanukkah–in 2020 it lasted from December 10th to December 18–is an eight-day celebration “that commemorates the purification and rededication of the temple following the Greek occupation of that Holy Place” (Reform Judaism).

During Hanukkah, a menorah is lit–one candle for each day–to represent the story of the Ner tamid, which was a constant burning light in the temple that was put out. In an attempt to relight it, they found one jar of oil that held enough power for one day in the temple. The oil miraculously lasted eight days, leading to the tradition of lighting one candle every day for eight days straight in order to celebrate this miracle. 

Now that there is a background of Hanukkah, what happened this year during this eight day celebration? Days of antisemitism plagued our country. Antisemitism is defined as a prejudice or hate against Jewish people and it originated as far back as 1095: “Pope Urban II called for the liberation of Jerusalem. Christian crusaders set off to free the Holy Land from the Muslims. On the way, they slaughtered thousands of Jews” (ushmm.org). Jews were prosecuted heavily by people of the Christian religion; Christianity actually came after Judaism and emerged from the religion, so what strikes the fight against the Jewish religion? The gospel was interpreted by blaming all Jewish people for the crucifixion of Jesus in Judea. This hate that was originated as far back as 1095 is still alive and rampant today.

The most-known interaction of Antisemitism was Adolf Hitler’s holocaust, the Genocide of 6 million Jewish people, and neo-Nazis still plague our society today. They show themselves through modern acts of antisemitism, North Shore Hebrew academy was hacked with anti-Semitic propaganda and slurs, showing graphic pictures and writing of Anti-Semitic acts “in the website’s ‘about us’ tab, there were more pictures of Nazi soldiers holding up swastikas and referring to the school as the ‘North Shore Concentration Camp’,” (theislandnow.com)  this act of Antisemitism was done on the fourth day of Hanukkah.

On the third night of Hanukkah, a man interrupted the Menorah lighting in Kentucky at the University of Kentucky Jewish Center in Lexington. “the driver pulled up to the university center Saturday night and began shouting abusive language when a community member ‘heroically’ stepped in front of the car. ‘The attacker grabbed the man and held his arm, dragging him for a block, and running over his leg’,” (NBC News) this act of violence terrorized the community, leaving Jewish people to fear their life even more than they already do.

The anti-Semitic attacks range from shooting lights out on Menorahs, vandalizing monuments and statues with swastikas and more graphic images, vandalizing synagogues, and physically attacking Jewish people. The fight against antisemitism isn’t getting the attention it needs, acts of hate like this need to be talked about, not just in Jewish homes, but in setting and every household, as this problem is dismissed and Jewish voices are not being heard. Allies are an important part of any movement; this is not just a fight for the marginalized group, this is a fight of which everyone needs to be apart of and aware.