Never and Again – This time an attack on a home Chanukah Party

We pray “never again” in response to the violent escalation of antisemitism or any hate and yet it is happening again and again.

In the summer of 2018, I began my studies for a doctoral program at the Hebrew Union College.  In a course for my major in American Jewish history, we explored the freedoms granted and safety secured in this country. The equality we attained in our 360+ years on America soil was unlike any other time we had historically known since our sovereignty in our ancient land thousands of years ago.  Then on October 27, 2018, with the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, the solid ground on which we stood became frighteningly unsteady. During the lecture the following week, my professor and adviser, Dr. Gary Zola, questioned whether we had entered a new chapter in American Jewish history.  Sadly, we had. The Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooting was followed by shootings at Jewish institutions in Poway and in Jersey City. Last night, there was a stabbing wounding five people at a Chanukah party in a rabbi’s private home in New York.

Hardly any state is immune. Swastikas in our schools and antisemitic statements in our halls are so shockingly and regrettably a regular occurrence. We have security at our JCCs and synagogue doors. Do we now have to worry about Jewish celebrations in our homes, Jewish stars and symbols around our necks, yarmulkas on our heads? Do I have to worry about having the title rabbi as part of my name?

Here’s what we can and must do:

Do not become complacent.

Remain horrified by hate crimes.

Call out dangerous rhetoric aimed at anyone – whenever and wherever and from whomever you hear it.

Stand with your neighbor. Stand up for your neighbor.

Do not allow hate aimed at any one minority to create wedges between us. Be allies and work with allies across lines of difference to address our country’s climate and our global climate of increased hate.

Educate and educate and educate – so that tools for understanding diversity, identifying systems of prejudice and discrimination, and creating inclusion and safety can be acquired and practiced.

Share your difference with pride. Do not allow those who hate to win.

If you are Jewish, tonight (December 29, 2019) light your candles proudly in your window in celebration of the eighth night of Chanukah .

If you are not Jewish, share the above image, or any image of a menorah filled with nine candles burning brightly, on your page in celebration of Jewish survival and in appreciation of America’s diversity.

15 Comments Write a comment


  • Eileen Schwartz December 29, 2019

    Thank you Rabbi Judy for your words. Most comforting. I too am horrified by the continuous rise in anti- semitism. It has become all too common and accepted by too many people

    • GRACE SANDAGATO December 30, 2019

      I may not be Jewish nut i pray that this crime against you stops. You have every right to practice your religion in peace. God Bless you all.

      • Rabbi Judith Schindler December 30, 2019

        Thank you for your kinds words of consolation.

  • Julie Ann Szuminski December 29, 2019

    The world is at war against Jews and Christians. Why?! History is repeating itself. Yes educate and not be afraid to share our faith; listen to and respect others.

  • Steve Muhlfelder December 29, 2019


    As always, your words are to the point and filled with wisdom. Thanks for your continued leadershipl

  • Susan Proctor December 30, 2019

    As we try to wrap our minds around the growing number of unthinkable acts of violence and hate, you put our angst and frustrations into words and give voice to our heartache. Then you bring us to actions that lead from powerless ness to hope. Ut is ibe if your greatest gifts. Thank you

  • Susan Proctor December 30, 2019

    As we try to wrap our minds around the growing number of unthinkable acts of violence and hate, you put our angst and frustrations into words and give voice to our heartache. Then you bring us to actions that lead us from fear to hope. It is one of your greatest gifts. Thank you

    • Barbara Melinek December 30, 2019

      Rabbi Judy, your comments are probably the best and most appropriate that I’ve seen. We all need to find the strength and courage to resist the animosity that is, sadly, becoming more public.

  • Nancy December 30, 2019

    Thank you, Judy, for your words of wisdom and call to action.

  • Reverend Geraldine Huckman December 30, 2019

    My prayers for justice are rising up. May the spirit of The Holy One hover over the families of your Congregation May grief and sorrow run their course so that Shalom may be enlarged wherever you go.

  • Anne Wood December 30, 2019

    Thank you , Rabbi Schindler. I will share this to my fb page. I did post a personal statement stating that as a Christian, my faith is rooted in Judaism. I stand with you and Jewish people everywhere

    • Rabbi Judith Schindler December 30, 2019

      Thank you for acknowledging our strong bonds of connection as faith communities.

  • Debbie baker December 30, 2019

    I am horrified at the hatred being spewed against the Jewish people. I am a Christian but have many Jewish friends. As a teenager, a new kid in school, the Jewish kids took me under their wings. At 67 years old, the inclusion of me at a hard time in my life, made all the difference

  • Rev. Claire Beutler-Cruise December 30, 2019

    Like Anne Wood, I post this on my fb page as one who is horrified by such acts of hate wherever they occur. My heartfelt sympathy to you, and to all people of faith (whatever that may be) who are grieving this atrocity along with you.

  • Ruth Anne Pruitt December 31, 2019

    I am a Christian, Those of us who study scripture know that our Jewish friends are Gods chosen people; the apple of His eye. We know that He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her. We know that our God watching over Israel never slumbers nor sleeps. We understand that salvation comes through Israel and that Judaism is the foundation of Judeo-Christianity. Without Judaism we would all be lost. God permits us to defend ourselves. The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective but more concrete steps must be taken. If the holocaust can happen in a country as basically good, bright and sophisticated as Germany; a country that has given the world so much it can happen anywhere. Arm yourselves.

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