I was looking forward to Monday’s July 12th Rockland Boulders game against Team Israel at Palisades Credit Union Park, Ramapo New York. One of the furthest things from my mind was that attending “America’s Favorite Pastime” would bring back my mother’s stories about the Holocaust and fear of going places.
Why? That evening as thousands of Jews and others from Rockland and Bergen counties gathered to watch the game between the local minor league baseball team and Team Israel, the country’s national team headed for the Olympic Games, they were joined by dozens of law enforcement officers assigned to protect them.
I appreciated the officers’ presence and understood there were threats of protesters and possibly violence. But I can’t help wonder how parents answered their children’s questions about why so many uniformed officers, some carrying long guns, were stationed outside the stadium and walking around inside.
While I felt extremely protected, I also felt concerned. Worried that we as Jews face anti-Semitism wherever we go in the United States. Sad that we and local authorities feel we can’t go to a simple, beloved activity without fear of being terrorized. Most of all, I’m frustrated despite all our outreach efforts to teach tolerance and educate that anti-Semitism continues.
According to the ADL, the number of reported bias incidents has increased since the start of the pandemic not only in Rockland but the entire world.
I wish I knew the answer that would please everyone. The solution to racism and hatred is respect for all humanity, and everyone is equal. Sharing that message is hard work and something we must continue to do even as too many people don’t want to acknowledge that.