November 17, 2018
Rabbi Dr. Ari Sytner (center) with community members in Pittsburgh, there to provide comfort after 11 Jewish worshipers were shot and killed by a gunman the Tree of Life — Or L'Simcha Synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018
Anti-Semitism seems to be galloping across the United States over the past few months, with incidents being reported on a near-daily basis.
This week vandalism, threats and attacks were reported in Miami Beach, Connecticut and Washington DC.
In Miami Beach, Florida, the Haim and Gila Wiener Florida Lubavitch Headquarters was vandalized this week with a swastika and an upside-down cross — sometimes symbolizing the occult or satanism — painted on a post in front of the building.
Also known as the West Avenue Jewish Center, the building houses a rabbinic college, a Jewish boys' elementary school and Congregation Beth Medrash Levi Yitzchok Lubavitch synagogue.
The vandalism was discovered early Wednesday morning by a security guard at the building, according to local News 10 ABC TV.
In Woodbridge, Connecticut, the Board of Education has been forced to confront the ugly phenomenon of anti-Semitism at its award-winning Amity High School, where Jewish students are becoming increasingly apprehensive about the atmosphere at their school.
Jewish students told a meeting of the board on Monday that they have found swastikas in the bathroom, and on school desks, according to a report published by the New Haven Register.
They have been harassed in the school's hallways, and they feel threatened in the school parking lot, wondering what kind of damage they might when they reach their cars. They told the school board they don't feel safe wearing obvious Jewish symbols, and in fact, they don't feel safe at the school, period.
Interim School Superintendent James Connelly said Wednesday that he doesn't want the school to become a "poster child" for anti-Semitism.
"We have to address it and become a model in dealing with bigotry and hate," he said. Students who attend the school live in the towns of Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge.
Security has been stepped up, counselors have been made available for students who feel intimidated, and the Anti-Defamation League has been brought in to create an education plan to counter hate, specifically tailored to Amity High School.
In addition, Connelly met with elementary schools across the board in Woodbridge, Orange and Bethany to include them in programming, along with private schools.
In Washington DC, a white supremacist has been arrested on charges of illegal gun possession after his family members called police to express concerns over his remarks that last month's Pittsburgh synagogue massacre was "a dry run."
Jeffrey Clark, 30, was arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court on charges of illegal possession of a firearm and a high-capacity magazine, according to The Washington Post.
Clark was "friended" by the Pittsburgh gunman, Robert Bowers, on the extremist chat site, "Gab."
According to a media report, he later wrote on Gab that the Pittsburgh murders were a 'dry run' and that "the f*** kikes that got shot by the hero#RobertBowers were all active supporters of pedophilia . . . and every last one of them deserved exactly what happened to them and so much worse."