Jews were stabbed for celebrating Hanukkah at home in America. I am a Jew celebrating Hanukkah at home in America. The brutal attack on innocent souls in Monsey, New York last night is heartbreaking, horrific, horrible. I am praying for the five victims, for their families, for the greater community, for our Jewish people, for all of us celebrating Hanukkah across the United States and in dozens of countries worldwide, for anyone exercising our right to religious freedom, for humanity as a whole. As the Festival of Lights comes to a close with the lighting of the eighth candle, we are reminded of the power of light and the possibility of miracles, but Jews need more than that in the face of a terrifying recent spike in anti-Semitic attacks in the New York area amid an increasingly hostile environment for the Jewish people everywhere. Jews are being violently and directly accosted on sidewalks, in subways, supermarkets, houses of worship, private homes — a veritable crisis with an alarming, traumatizing and inexcusable nine attacks in New York City this week alone. The deliberate targeting and vicious threat of hatred, discrimination and criminal assault is both local and global, as it has been all throughout time. For years, I’ve been barraged with horrendous messages from anti-Semites, neo Nazis and white suprematists telling me that I’m inferior, do not belong, should not exist and/or must leave my country, simply because I am a Jew. And appalling, gut-wrenching, painful moments like this gruesome attack remind me and Jews everywhere that we are indeed a vulnerable minority. Too many of us live in fear because the devastating reality is that we are not safe, especially the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox, and law enforcement is failing to protect us. My heart breaks for Monsey, as it does for my fellow Jews in Brooklyn and Manhattan and Jersey City, in Poway and Pittsburgh, in Europe and Israel and the world over.
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