Between Kanye and the Midterms, a disturbing stream of anti-Semitism

Between Kanye and the Midterms, a disturbing stream of anti-Semitism

He added: “There is an old saying that every Jew knows where his passport is.”

Last week, the Jewish Democratic Council of America released a digital ad opposing the rallies in Nazi Germany, the January 6 Capitol invasion, anti-Semitic graffiti and the recent “Kanye is right” sign over a Los Angeles freeway.

Sunday was sponsored by Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots television commercial during the Patriots-Jets game, asking spectators to speak out against anti-Semitism.

Rabbis across the country are grappling with how to resolve the congregant problem. Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn sent an email to members this week announcing this weekend’s sermon on anti-Semitism, citing the upcoming election as well as news of rising anti-Semitism, and saying, “It’s hard not to feel anxious about the future.”

Younger Jews feel a change in society. “For people of my parents’ generation, there was a certain sense of security about anti-Semitism in America,” said Meshulam Ungar, a 21-year-old junior at Brandeis and vice president of the Brandeis Orthodox Organization. “Things have become more dangerous for us.”

The consequences of anti-Semitism are now vividly displayed in culture. Ken Burns’ new documentary, “USA and the Holocaust,” was released in September by PBS and describes how American anti-Semitism affected the nation’s willingness to accept refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. The best-selling new play of the fall season is on Broadway Tom Stoppard‘s “Leopoldstadt”, about three generations of a Jewish family in Austria that was largely destroyed by the Second World War.

Brandon Uranowitz, one of the lead actors in the play, said that performing the story of the deadly effects of anti-Semitism in this climate has become both more painful and more important. “Suddenly the objects in the mirror are closer than they appear,” he said.

Off-Broadway, a group of artists stages an unexpectedly timely revival of “Parade,” a musical about the lynching of a Jew in Georgia in 1915 fueled by anti-Semitism. Ben Platt, star of that production, made a similar observation, saying“I feel the urgency in a way that is shocking to all of us.”

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