Rising antisemitic violence


Libby Hurwitz

As members of the Jewish community, the increased antisemitic hate is concerning and has influenced school security measures.

The Lion's Tale Staff

We’ve all seen it in the news. Kanye West shares tweets about going “deathcon 3 on the Jews,” NBA player Kyrie Irving shares an antisemitic film with his followers, and white supremacists hang a banner over a Los Angeles freeway stating “Kanye is right.” However, these incidents are not limited to the media; it is these media posts that encourage thousands of others  to act upon antisemitic tropes. 

Antisemitic hate crimes have reached an all time high this past year. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported that antisemetic incidents reached a total of 2,717 cases of assault, harassment and vandalism in 2021. And that’s only the reported cases.

Antisemitism isn’t the only crisis on our radar. As of Oct. 31, there have been 46 school shootings in the U.S. This is the most to occur in a single year since the news organization Education Week began tracking school shootings in 2018. 

These two trends make us feel especially vulnerable as Jewish day school students.

As a Jewish day school and tight knit community, we have a responsibility to not only fight back against these antisemitic tropes but to ensure that these remarks and incidents do not become dangerous for our community. 

Security and Transportation Manager Shay HaLevi explains the importance of staying vigilant and looking out for threats because of the increased danger that comes with attending a Jewish school. 

“Being in a [school] shooting is kind of like getting hit by a lightning strike,” HaLevi said. “But, being in a Jewish school is kind of like running in an open field with an antenna. It’s not likely that you will get hit by lightning but it just puts another target on our backs.”

HaLevi met with all teachers this past month to share ways to identify potential threats, tips on how to keep the school as safe as possible and even ways to stay safe at home. 

He says that the two most important tips on how to stay safe in school are monitoring your surroundings for suspicious behavior and reporting any activity that seems out of the ordinary to an administrator or security guard. 

In addition, HaLevi emphasizes the importance of our security personnel and police presence around the building. He says that even having one police officer stationed outside can both deter threats and reduce response time to seconds. 

Despite the verbal threats we receive and the hypervigilance HaLevi encourages, we must not let potential attacks subvert our lives. If we did so, it would mean that the hatred would succeed in preventing Jews from flourishing.

“… We’re not going to let other people dictate the way we live our lives. We can’t do that. But, we need to understand the responsibility that [going to a Jewish school] comes with,” HaLevi said. 

In addition to Halevi’s recommendation of monitoring your surroundings and looking out for threats, we can also stay safe by wearing our ID badges at all times, not letting anyone into the building through the side doors and entering the building through the front entry doors. Through these practices, we can keep ourselves and the community safe.