“As extensively reported in a recent issue of Port Washington News a very important and insightful program titled Responding To Anti-Semitism In Our Community was held on April 30 at the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore. The audience, which filled the sanctuary, heard a distinguished panel, moderated by the synagogue’s rabbi, Jodie Siff, address the issue of anti-Semitic acts on Long Island and beyond. As a Holocaust survivor and one who has been subjected to and victimized by anti-Semitism, I was given the opportunity to make the following observations:
It is important to agree that these acts are not mere“innocent” pranks but wanton, deliberate, premeditated acts of hate. They should therefore be treated and prosecuted as such. One reads about an arrest of the perpetrator and then what? It appears that there is a void in that process. To fill it, I offered the following detoxification steps.
1. The individuals arrested for committing an act of anti-Semitism, should be by court directive, made to attend testimony presented by a Holocaust survivor.
2. He/she, also by court directive, should be made to visit any one of the Holocaust museums on LI. By court order the perpetrator should write an essay on their observations, including why they committed such an act of hate. Did he/she hear anti-Semitism at home, in school from friends/classmates, etc.? In short, why was such an act committed.
Society must find out the root cause of this hate-infested epidemic which permeates throughout this country. It’s a cancer. If it is not eradicated no amount of discussions will cure this disease. If it is found that its roots are in the adult community than it, just like the younger generation, must be subjected to intensive education about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. As General Dwight D. Eisenhower put it so aptly upon visiting a liberated concentration camp in Germany,”we must teach our children tolerance and understanding at home and in school because tolerance cannot be assumed. It has to be taught again and again. We must instill in our children that hate is never right and love is never wrong.”