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  • “I’m Sorry That My Jewish Identity and Pride Make You So Mad”

    George Washington University Shliach Rabbi Yudi Steiner shared in an Instagram story an antisemitic email he had received and his response showing pride in his Jewish identity. The Rohr Chabad Center at GW’s Instagram story shared a screenshot of the email alleging that “Am Yisrael Chai,” which translates to “The People of Israel Live,” is the equivalent of “Heil Hitler.” “It’s a chant of Jewish supremacy: ‘We will oppress you goyim all we like’” • Full Story, Photos

    Jewish Journal

    George Washington University (GWU) Chabad Rabbi Yudi Steiner shared in an Instagram story an antisemitic email he had received and his response showing pride in his Jewish identity.

    The Rohr Chabad Center at GW’s Instagram story shared a screenshot of the email alleging that “Am Yisrael Chai,” which translates to “The People of Israel Live,” is the equivalent of “Heil Hitler.” “It’s a chant of Jewish supremacy: ‘We will oppress you goyim all we like.’” The email went onto compare mezuzahs to swastikas, accused Israel of “murderous racism,” and called the recent vandalism of a Torah at GWU’s Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity “An Act of Resistance against The Oppressor.” The email concluded by stating: “History is repeating itself because dumb Jews like you are making the same dumb mistakes German Jews made. You people must have a death wish.”

    The Chabad’s Instagram story also shared Steiner’s response to the email. “I’m sorry that my Jewish identity and pride make you so mad,” Steiner wrote. “Please know that every attack on our people will be met with more Mezuzot and more proud Jews.”

    He added: “Smearing our Jewish pride as the racism that hurt 6,000,000 of us is an ugly fail at intimidation.”

    Steiner concluded by suggesting that one day the person behind the email might “tire of being a racist bigot and become a friend of the Jewish People. Until then, I’ve got lots of mezuzot to affix.”

    Steiner told the Journal that he has been in contact with the university since the Torah vandalism occurred and “they’ve been very responsive. I’ve not been in touch with the Authorities about this hateful and ignorant email because I don’t feel personally threatened.” He added that he “debated whether I should share the email with the public.” “In the end I felt that this was the perfect opportunity for me to model what I feel is the best response to hate. Number one, do not get intimidated; react cautiously but don’t overreact, and above all, convert the negative energy into positive energy to do something good.”

    GW for Israel President Ezra Meyer also said in a statement to the Journal, “The message sent to Rabbi Yudi is yet another example of the unchecked antisemitism that persists in our society. We’re shocked and offended by this cowardly act of hate. Unfortunately, those who speak up are often targeted by online bigotry, as we have routinely faced these types of comments ourselves. We look forward to working with the GW administration to effect as much change as possible within our own community.”

    Jewish on Campus shared screenshots of both emails, tweeting that the initial email was filled with “Holocaust inversion, blood libel, Elders of Zion conspiracies” while Steiner’s response was “powerful and moving.” “He reminds us that we must stand together as proud Jews, unintimidated in the face of hatred.”

    StandWithUs Co-Founder and CEO Roz Rothstein said in a statement to the Journal, “It’s hard to believe that anyone would have sent such insulting, threatening and hateful garbage to another human being, let alone to a Rabbi. Threats and bigotry like this that start with Jews never ends with Jews.  We are heartbroken that Rabbi Yudi would have ever received such a dreadful message and offer him our full support. The hundreds of people who gathered yesterday in support of the Jewish community at GWU after a Torah on campus was desecrated, bear witness to the recognition that there is no place in decent society for such hateful and out-of-touch sentiments or actions.

    “We commend Rabbi Yudi for his encouraging response to this abhorrent message, and hope the Jewish community will, as he has pledged to do, continue to express pride in their heritage and identity.”

    On October 31, the GWU TKE Torah was torn and dripping with laundry detergent in an act of vandalism; the following day, hundreds of people showed up to a solidarity rally and public Torah reading in response to the vandalism.



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