With attacks on Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn up 50% in 2019 from 2018 and the recent shooting in Jersey City, observant Jews, and Hasidim in particular, are feeling very vulnerable in the New York City area. We asked a member of Project Makom to explain how she is feeling in this climate.
Here’s what she said:
A week ago five people were killed in an anti-semitic hate crime. To make matters worse, I have read several comments from people (who had bad experiences in the Hasidic community) and non-Jews who think that Hasidim deserved it and they were happy about it.
I understand people are hurting, and I am too (I also was abused in this community), but how can you be happy that a family lost a parent? How can you be happy that parents lost a son? Those people did no harm to you!
Since I grew up Hasidic, I can give some firsthand insight: NOT ALL RELIGIOUS/HASIDIC people are bad, in fact there are some amazing, exceptionally generous people in the community who help others with no favors expected in return!
Since the last couple of incidents, I’m scared to walk on the streets when it’s dark. I always call up a friend and I keep them posted every two minutes as to where I am. I constantly look over my shoulder and suspect every passing person as a potential attacker and some people wonder why. Why are you always looking over your shoulder? What are you so scared of?
Since I am visibly dressed as an ultra-orthodox Jew, apparently, I am a target. I have had people yell “dirty jew” at me on the street. I have had people throw bottles at me and scream, “Heil Hitler.” That’s why I am scared! I usually try to put up a brave face, because when they see that I’m scared the anti-semites enjoy it even more.
For the anti-semites in the world, maybe start talking with those people you want to curse out and see how much good they did in their lives. See how they have a personality and feelings too. Yes, they may look different and have a more old-fashioned life style, but most of them don’t bite! Yes, those few bad apples have done some horrible things, which everyone knows about. But if someone in your community commits a crime, you don’t want to be judged by that either.
Finally, for all the kindhearted people that showed your support after the attack, we really appreciate it! There is nothing like going through a tragedy like this and knowing people out there care. It heals our wounds.