On Monday, The New York Times published a report on how the rising incidence of anti-Semitic attacks in America has affected Orthodox Jewish communities, who much more outwardly advertise their faith than some other practitioners of Judaism and are therefore more vulnerable.
“A rabbinical student was walking down a quiet street in Brooklyn last winter, chatting on the phone with his father when three men jumped him from behind. They punched his head, knocking him to the ground before fleeing down the block,” wrote Liam Stack for the Times. “When police officers arrested three suspects later that night, the student, a Hasidic man who asked to be identified by his first name, Mendel, learned that another Hasidic Jew had been attacked on the same block in Crown Heights just minutes before he was. Video of the earlier attack showed three men knocking a man to the ground before kicking and punching him.”
Mendel said that the victims were “very visibly Jewish” — and that put them at risk. “You could ask everyone if they’re Jewish, or you could just go after people who you don’t have to ask any questions about because you can just see that they dress like they’re Jewish.”
“Most of the anti-Semitic incidents in New York have not been perpetrated by jihadists or far-right extremists, but by young African-American men,” wrote Stack. “Local leaders said that phenomenon grows out of tension in areas where longstanding African-American and Jewish communities have been squeezed by gentrification.”
“Jeff Katz, the treasurer of the Stanton Street Shul, a small Orthodox synagogue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, said that he was riding the subway one day last fall when another passenger erupted at him,” wrote Stack. “‘He was saying, ‘Why aren’t you looking at me?” said Mr. Katz, who wears a yarmulke. ‘And I thought, ‘We’re on the subway, I don’t want any part of this.’ Then he started saying, ‘What? Do you think you’re superior, Jew boy?” Mr. Katz said that a friend who also wears a yarmulke had been slapped by a stranger as he was walking on Delancey Street in Manhattan a few weeks later, during Hanukkah.”
No organization tracks the number of anti-Semitic attacks on Orthodox Jews specifically. But these communities are being put on edge in a particularly damaging way.
You can read more here.