Since the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, the world has changed in unexpected ways. Global terrorism is now a fact of life. There have been attacks on Jewish communities from Melbourne to Berlin, from San Francisco to New York. As violence rises in the Middle East, Jews around the world become targets of hate crimes and terrorist attacks, which are becoming increasingly violent and deadly. Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, we are threatened by radical Islamic groups such as ISIS, racist elements such as Neo-Nazis, and random “lone wolf” assailants targeting Jews. Threats to the Jewish community are constantly evolving, and it’s important that we act to properly identify these threats and do what we can to avoid them.
The Paris attacks, and subsequent terrorist attacks in California, have us on heightened alert.
Bias crimes against Jews represent more than 60 percent of religious based hate crimes, according to the FBI’s Unified Crime Reports. There have been reported incidents of harassment and physical assaults on Jews in Brooklyn, and several of our own community buildings have experienced security threats.
- March 2015: Two men of Middle Eastern descent approached
two community synagogues on the same day to photograph
and survey the buildings.
- April 2015: A man of Middle Eastern descent was found
photographing and video recording a community synagogue on
- May 2015: A Swastika was painted on the door of a Jewish
institution adjacent to a community synagogue.
- October 2015: A family of Middle Eastern descent entered a
community synagogue on one of the High Holidays, remained
there and observed the service until followed out of the building.
- December 2015: A Middle Eastern man enters a Sephardic
synagogue in Brooklyn and was later apprehended by police.
These incidents are a result of a number of factors, including the ongoing conflicts in Israel and elsewhere the Middle East, traditional religious hatred, and unstable economies.