Written by Rabbi Shmuel Tiechtel, the Shliach to Arizona State University
I never thought this could happen here.
My brother is the Chief Rabbi in Berlin. He lives in a city where it’s dangerous to wear a Yarmulka. When walking with his son to synagogue he was attacked and spat on. But I thought it could never happen here.
I grew up in Brooklyn. We thought attacks on the streets in America were a thing of the past. And yet over a dozen times in the last two months, Jews have been attacked on the street in my hometown. But I still never thought it could happen here.
Several weeks ago, my Chabad colleague in Seattle was chased down the street and threatened with a gun by a man yelling about Jews. But still I thought it could never happen here.
And yet tonight, here at Arizona State University, students wearing emblems of anti-Israel organizations, and waving signs encouraging violence against Jews, tried to shut down an event right here on campus. Campus police were forced to stand guard at the door the entire event to make the Jewish students feel safe.
Despite the attempts to disrupt, the event was amazing. The stories shared by Dor and Aviv, the wounded IDF veterans that visited us, were truly inspirational, and I’m so glad our students got to hear it.
I am so grateful that ASU University Police Chief Thompson and ASU Dean of Students, Dean Aska were there to make sure every student felt safe.
I’m proud of the many students that attended the event and showed our interest and support of the IDF and I’m thankful for our wonderful united Jewish community on campus that came together to co-sponsor this event with us.
We will never give into angry voices. Because the loudest voice tonight was the eternal voice of the Jewish people saying Am Yisroel Chai. The Nation of Israel lives. A year after Pittsburgh, we are here. Six months after Poway, we are here. While terrorists’ rockets rain down on Israel, we are here, and we are not going anywhere.
Chabad is here and we stand with you. If you’re feeling unsafe or uncomfortable, please reach out. You are not alone. We are with you. Feel free to reach out anytime.