By Eliza Fisher ‘23, Assistant Features Editor
As a Jewish school, acts of antisemitism deeply affect our community and force us to recognize hatred that is unfortunately still prevalent today. Over the past few months, the Jewish community experienced acts of antisemitism in Delaware, Berlin, and Michigan.
On Tuesday, August 25, the University of Delaware’s Chabad center was set on fire. Fortunately no one was in the building at that time, but the damages caused by the fire cost around $75,000. Rabbi Zhumi Vogel of the Chabad center expressed, “I cannot get into the mind of a person who is so sick to want to destroy a facility that is all about love, that is all about acceptance, that is all about inspiration, and hope, and encouragement, and goodness.” The state fire marshal described the act as arson, but federal investigators still haven’t labeled it an antisemitic hate crime and continue to investigate who committed this crime.
Over Sukkot, a 29 year old man in army fatigues and with a shovel in hand attacked a Jewish student exiting a synagogue in Hamburg, Berlin. The victim is 26 years old and went to the hospital for his grave head wounds. Around a year before this hate crime, a far-right extremist attempted to break into a synagogue and attack its congregants in Halle, another German city, during Yom Kippur services. This plan failed because the synagogue’s door withstood the explosives, but the perpetrator then succeeded in killing two people.
In addition, at the very beginning of November, numerous tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan were vandalized with the phrases “MAGA” and “Trump” in red spray paint. At least six tombstones had been graffitied. While Rabbi David J. B. Krishef, the rabbi at the cemetery’s associated synagogue, is hesitant to conclude this was an act directed at the Jewish community, many others believe it targeted Judaism. A representative of the Michigan Jewish Democrats Caucus stated, “Make no mistake, this heinous act was committed on the eve of the 2020 election to send an intimidating message to the president’s opponents, and particularly Jewish voters.” Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan’s 8th district said, “Our system is brimming with tension, hate, and bigotry. We’re at risk of it becoming normal. It’s never been more important to find a path forward.”