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EDITORIAL: Horrific targeting of faith groups continues

Attacks on those of Jewish, Muslim faith must spur solidarity against hate

“My words of ‘never again’ have disappeared from my language,” said Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers on Saturday. “They have been replaced with ‘yet again.’ And so it is that we stand here yet again at this (vigil) as one united community.” 

On the last day of Passover, this past Saturday, a gunman wielding an "AR-type assault weapon” opened fire inside a synagogue in San Diego, California, leaving one person dead and three others injured. Saturday also marked the six-month anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh in which a white supremacist killed 11 people. 

Congregants worshipped, hate victimized the innocent. Lori Kaye, identified as the woman killed in the attack, was at the synagogue praying for her mother, who passed away in November. Kaye jumped in the line of fire to protect the synagogue’s founding rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, according to reports.

Injured in the attack, 34-year-old Almong Peretz was shot in the leg while guiding children to safety. Currently being treated for shrapnel wounds is 8-year-old Noya Dahan, who has been transferred to a children’s hospital, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Dahan’s family moved to the area from Israel after members of the family were injured by rocket fire. Israel Dahan, her father, reportedly informed CNN that his children now look to leave the U.S., wondering and asking after the shooting: “Why are we staying here?”

Passover is a celebration and continued assertion of the Jewish people’s story of liberation from slavery, a story that is placed at the crux of the religion, most of the holidays and the Torah reading every Shabbat. 

Passover is not a hollow celebration, but rather it is an upholding of the task of telling the people of the world that no system of oppressive power is fixed, that the world can be fundamentally transformed and that together we can build an economic, political, social and cultural reality based on love and acceptance, peace and nonviolence, social and economic justice, environmental sustainability and caring for one another and the world. This is the tikkun olam calling of the Jewish people, the calling for the healing, repairing and progressing of the world. 

The ultimate message of Passover is that change, liberation and justice are possible. It is a celebration of past victories of righteous progress, an acknowledgement of past struggles for freedom like the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising that began on the second night of Passover and recognition of current movements of liberation.

The suspect of the shooting, radicalized through online far-Right chat sites, reflects the horrific forces that oppose liberation and justice. He was inspired by the New Zealand mosque shooter who killed 50 people in March. The killer on Saturday was not a lone wolf, but rather the derivative of the rising tides of hate and Right-wing violence in the world.

The day before the synagogue shooting, a driver in California identified as a 34-year-old Army veteran attempted to drive his car into groups of people, “intentionally targeted the victims based on their race and his belief that they were of the Muslim faith," according to The Washington Post.

There must be solidarity among the oppressed and targeted. 

Rutgers is witnessing its own rise of far-Right extremism among budding student organizations. This is not a time for divisions among religious faiths. As hateful messages and racial dog-whistles that motivate a conservative base lose their subtlety, so too should the condemnation and confrontation of such positions. 

There must be a clear distinction made between speaking to start a conservation and speaking to denounce. There must be a clear line drawn between the safety of hateful speech and the safety of minority lives.


The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 151st editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company  or  its staff.


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