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Is this the New Normal?

Sunday, 5 January, 2020 - 1:11 pm

I spent a day in Brooklyn, NY this week.

This was the first time I actually felt the unsettling change in atmosphere. From the visible security beef up, to the signs in store windows, advertising: "We now carry pepper spray". We are all now asking the obvious question: "Is this the new normal?" 
While we don't have a definite answer to that question, we Jews are very well primed in how to respond. Aside from the obvious need for extra security and vigilance we must also send a strong message: Anti-Semites and hate filled people will never dictate or define who we are as Jews, or how we practice our Judaism.
We are Jews and we are proud! If we hide that fact, and cower in fear, then they have won the battle! 
We must not let them be victorious. Ironically, the very story of Chanukah demonstrates this message. The Jews refused to let the Greeks dictate their Judaism. They fought back against the tyranny. We need to increase in our Jewish pride at this time and never retreat! 
Here are a few ideas:
1. Get yourself a Mezuzah ASAP. The mezuzah is the Jewish spiritual security blanket and every Jewish home and business should have one. Please contact me to help you purchase one and have it posted.
2. Educate yourself. Become a more knowledgeable Jew! Buy a Jewish book for yourself or another, as the saying goes "knowledge is power"! (feel free to reach out for suggestions). Attend a class on Judaism, a great opportunity is the upcoming JLI course entitled “Judaism’s Gifts to the World” click here.
3. Go to Shul. Strengthen your Jewish identity and join with community on Shabbat.
May G-d bless us that 2020 be a much better year for Jewish people everywhere.
Rabbi Yossi and Esty Zaklikofsky
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