October 9, 2019: While I was praying in synagogue on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, a terrorist tried shooting congregants in a similar service in Halle, Germany. Frustrated by the bolted door — an unfortunate precaution that synagogues must take these days — he shot and killed a passerby, then threw a bomb into a kebab store, killing one.
Once again another mass shooting, another at a place of worship and another synagogue. Pittsburgh and Poway weren’t even a year ago, and it has happened again, and in Germany!
But why are synagogues the target?
A synagogue is where Jewish people meet together to pray, it is exactly what antisemites hate. When I am at my synagogue, Sinai Temple, I feel a sense of Jewish pride like no other; singing and praying with members of the Jewish family. Unity and community, exactly what antisemites hate to see the Jewish people partake in.
But these values are so integral to the Jewish people.
The response to antisemitism is not abandoning your synagogue because of fear, but instead investing in your synagogue by showing up.
Instead of not showing up on Shabbat on Saturday, Halle’s Jews returned to pray.
To me, that is the embodiment of Jewish resistance.
Throughout thousands of years, the Jewish people have been the recipients of grotesque antisemitism, but we persevere and came back and prayed.
Instead of letting fear defeat us, let’s come together at synagogue and continue praying.
We will defeat antisemitism by continuing to do what antisemites hate most, being proud of being Jewish and praying with our Jewish family at synagogue.