Wolves of hate

The Jewish community is still reeling from what may have been the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. Last Saturday, a gunman opened fire into the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, killing 11 and wounding six. The victims were between the ages of 54 to 97. They had gathered for a naming ceremony, an initiation for newborns into the faith.

For Debby Nelson, President of Congregation Beth Shalom in Carmichael, Saturday reminded her of 1999, when hers was one of three Sacramento area synagogues firebombed by two white supremacist brothers.

“We were fortunate that no lives were lost,” Nelson said Tuesday. But the massacre, several state lines away, still pained her.

“If you’re a Jew, you’re part of that local family and community, and although this horrible crime was across the country in Pittsburgh, we feel it deeply here,” she said. “It reminds us that we always have to be vigilant.”

Under the current administration, she’s probably right. Whether it’s Trump falsely equating the Charlottesville protestors and those who shouted “Jews will not replace us,” to signaling his belief in globalist conspiracy theories that often paint Jews as villains at the helm, the president has been a vehicle for anti-Semitism.

Monday night offered a different message. At the Congregation B’Nai Israel synagogue in Sacramento, an excess of 1,200 attendees, spanning all faiths, memorialized the victims. “I’ve been particularly touched by my non-Jewish friends who have supported that position that we’re all brothers and sisters in the community,” Nelson said.

If you’re interested in showing solidarity and support, you can donate to the Greater Pittsburgh chapter of the Jewish Federation’s “Our Victims of Terror Fund,” or directly to the Tree of Life.

Locally, the California Museum is offering free admission to its Unity Center this weekend.

The exhibit opened in August 2017, originally conceived in response to the 1999 bombings—and its following attacks. Those same brothers later firebombed an abortion clinic, and murdered a homosexual couple, Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, in their home.

If one community is unsafe, we’re all unsafe.