On Saturday, October 27, 2018, a horrible tragedy has struck the Jewish community during Shabbat
services: a shooting at the Tree of Life Or L’Simcha synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 11 people were killed, and six more were wounded, including four police officers. The suspect, Robert Bowers, is already in custody. This was a hate crime. Bowers targeted the synagogue because he is Anti-Semitic.
This event is very scary because it makes me think about how this could have happened to any one of us. The threat of anti-Semitism weighs heavily on me. As someone who goes to services often and helps out at the Hebrew School, I am constantly worried that something might happen to my friends or family. Anti-Semitism is a prevalent issue in our society, even though it seems like the world has gotten more tolerant.
Anti-Semitism seems to be getting worse with the emergence of more white supremacists and the creation of alt-right groups. For this reason, it is important to know how to respond to people that may say Anti-Semitic things toward you.
If someone says something hateful directed towards you, ask them why they think that way. If you
understand their thought process, it is easier for you to give them facts. Also, listening to them helps
them feel that you care about what they have to say. If they see that you are empathetic, their opinion of you may change for the better because you are defying the stereotypes they were led to believe. If you feel as though you are in danger from the way someone is speaking to you, tell someone immediately. Let someone know how you are feeling so the situation can be handled effectively. The most important thing is to be safe. No conversation should be put above your safety.
Be careful, my friends.