June 17, 2019

America's Synagogue's Are Burning

“As the stroke of midnight on the second night of Passover drew near, Rabbanit Leah Sarna beckoned sleepy congregants, including myself, attending the synagogue’s communal seder to stand by the heavy carved oak doors of entry-hall as we welcomed the prophet Elijah into our midst.

For the first time in the “after Pittsburgh” epoch of American Judaism, we recited the controversial passage of the Haggadah calling on God to “Pour Out Thy Wrath” on the nations who target the Jewish people. As the chilly Chicago air drifted in through the open doors, it felt, this year, like an act of vulnerability – and determination.

Only a few days later, the news came of the attack at the Chabad Center of Poway at the end of the Passover festival. As unnerving and unprecedented as recent terrorist attacks against Jewish houses of worship, and the dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents has been this year, it, thankfully, remained for me a kind of abstract horror of American Jewish history.”

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