If one were to ask what our nation’s creed is founded on, a good answer would be “E Pluribus Unum,” Latin for “out of many, one.” The phrase has been our national motto since our founding in 1776 and is found on both the Great Seal of the United States and on our currency. It is a clear symbol of unity, which is something Americans could all use today.
Unity is more than a word or an idea; it is a promise to stand together in the good times and the bad. And right now, our unity in support of the Jewish community is more important than ever.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise globally. Anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment is reaching a fervor that resembles the years before the Holocaust. Once again, Jews are being scapegoated and attacked, unjustly criticized and demeaned.
So we must stand together. Acheinu, a branch of the nonprofit Dirshu organization, is giving us the perfect opportunity to do so this Sept. 24 on their annual Day of Jewish Unity, urging Jews around the world to come together in prayer — prayer for peace, prayer for civility and prayer to end the hatred.
Each year, Acheinu holds this day in honor of the great Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (otherwise known as the Chofetz Chaim, 1839-1933) and his teachings, specifically his teachings on the evils of gossip and the power of prayer. Each year, Jews from nearly every continent pledge to support one another and refrain from divisive speech. This year’s theme is combating hatred and the global surge of anti-Semitism.
As Americans, Jews and non-Jews alike, we should realize that what this day symbolizes is especially important. This past year has seen a flood of anti-Semitic attacks. Jews are being harassed and attacked, synagogues are being vandalized, and Jewish centers have had to invest more heavily in security for fear of violence.
Just this past summer in New York City, there were several disturbing incidents in which individuals physically assaulted Jews, who were identified by the clothing they wear to signify their devotion to God. These Jews suffered broken bones and teeth, bruises, cuts, and — worst of all — fear. Jews are afraid to walk down the street in a nation that was founded on religious tolerance. It’s sickening.
Within the past eleven months, two gunmen, acting separately, entered Jewish houses of worship during services with the sole intent to kill Jews. And they did. A dozen people were murdered as they prayed on both coasts of my country. But it doesn’t stop there. Many others were injured, facing weeks, months and even years of recovery. Across the nation, Jews were injured by these attacks — not physically, but more deeply, in our hearts and souls.
We were afraid to pray. We were afraid to appear Jewish. We were afraid to stand together as one in a synagogue. Nevertheless, following these attacks, Jews swallowed their fears and flocked to synagogues, determinedly showing that we would not be cowed by this and we would not be divided. The Shabbat following these attacks, it was equally heartening to see so many non-Jews coming to synagogues to show their support and to stand with us.
Unfortunately, we are not always surrounded by such unity. Often, we are met with distrust and outright loathing.
In an increasing trend, particularly on the Left, anti-Semitism is finding a warm home. The Democratic Party currently has members of Congress, specifically Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who are unashamedly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. And even worse, they are not censured. At best, they are “condemned” with a resolution whitewashing anti-Semitism and calling out Islamophobia. Calling this Orwellian would be an understatement.
These two members of “the Squad” unabashedly attack Israel and support straw arguments that deepen anti-Semitism. In their attacks on Israel, Omar and Tlaib draw on anti-Semitic tropes, bolstering hatred on every level. These women openly partner with groups like Miftah, an organization that spreads anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment far and wide. When Congress planned a bipartisan trip to Israel, the two refused to go, instead opting to travel to the region with Miftah. They did this knowing that Miftah continues to propagate the infamous blood libel and refer to Palestinian suicide bombings as a “sacrifice for the cause.” Recently, they tweeted out an anti-Israel cartoon with outlandish and offensive rhetoric; keep in mind, this cartoon was drawn by a 2006 winner of the International Holocaust Cartoon Competition, an disgusting anti-Semitic tradition held each year in Iran.
And still the Left props them up as heroes, while simultaneously claiming to care about human rights.
What about our rights as Jews to exist?
As the Left continues to place Omar and Tlaib on a pedestal, anti-Semitism grows increasingly vitriolic on college campuses. Young minds at these Leftist institutions are taught to worship people like the Squad members. They are taught lies about Judaism, Zionism and Israel.
I implore all my fellow Jews — as well as non-Jews who stand for religious tolerance — to come together on Sept. 24 and observe the Day of Jewish Unity. As those who hate Israel and the Jewish people gather their forces and unite in animosity, we must gather together in prayer for peace and tolerance. We cannot let these divisive and hate-filled forces tear us, as Americans, apart.