Jews are going underground

In a month of terrible anti-Semitic attacks, including a stabbing yesterday of multiple people at a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, the news that most depressed me did not involve violence. It was not something done to Jews but something Jews did. synagogue in the Netherlands is no longer publicly posting the times of prayer services. If you want to join a service, you have to know someone who is a member of the community…

In Europe and the United States, Jews have been repeatedly assaulted on the street. Tombstones were desecrated in Slovakia. In London, anti-Semitic graffiti was painted on synagogues and Jewish-owned stores. A Belgian daily newspaper accused a lawmaker who is Jewish of being a spy for Israel. A Polish town refused to install small brass plates that commemorate Holocaust victims. In Italy, the town of Schio did the same because, the mayor said, they would be “divisive.” (Divisive to whom?) This intolerance is coming from right-wing extremists, progressive leftists, and other minorities who, themselves, are often the object of persecution. Anti-Semites seem to think it is open season on Jews. And maybe, given the many incidents, they are right.

So why has the news that a synagogue in the Netherlands stopped posting the time of services upset me above all? Because it is vivid proof that anti-Semitism is driving Jews underground in the West.

For some time now, many kippah-wearing Jews have adopted the habit of wearing baseball caps when visiting Europe. Young people think twice before wearing Israeli-flag T-shirts when they wander the streets of Paris. Or before carrying a backpack with the name of their Jewish youth group prominently displayed. A number of years ago, I met a Jewish woman from Brussels who told me that she had asked her teenage children not to wear their Jewish-star necklaces in public. She acknowledged that she was embarrassed to have asked them and relieved when they agreed…

For many years, Jews have known that when visiting a European synagogue, they must bring their passport with them and expect to be interrogated by guards outside the door. I now call ahead to let a synagogue know that I am coming. And that does not always guarantee entry. A few years ago, I was turned away from a synagogue in Rome.

Jews have been living defensively for a long time. But when a synagogue, as a precaution, decides not to post the time of services, we have reached a new level.

Read The Full Article At The Atlantic