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Connecticut's Jewish Community Reacts to Hanukkah Attack

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Members of New Haven’s Jewish community are vowing to show the world more positivity after a difficult Hanukkah season. 

The Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut says there have been at least 10 anti-Semitic incidents in the New York and New Jersey area this week. The most recent was an attack Saturday night in Monsey, New York, where five people were injured during a Hanukkah celebration.

“When will enough be enough? These heinous attacks make something abundantly clear: the Jewish community needs greater protection,” said Steve Ginsburg, director of the Connecticut Region of the Anti-Defamation League.

“It’s heartbreaking. You wish you could do more, you wish you could turn the clock back, you wish you could solve the problem that people shouldn’t have to experience what they had to experience,” said Adam Haston of New Haven.

Rabbi Shua Rosenstein of Chabad at Yale said these acts are hard to process, for him, his children and his students at Yale. It also makes it scary abut the future and how to move forward. 

“I grew up in an America that welcomed us after thousands of years of persecution, all over the world,” said Rosenstein. “And this is not the country I grew up in…we do need to talk, we do need to stand up against hatred of all forms, against anti-Semitism of all forms.”

Rosenstein said there will be increased security at Chabad at Yale when students return from break next week.

Area synagogues have increased security after violent attacks over the years, including an anti-Semitic attack earlier this month in New Jersey, according to Judy Alperin, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.

“Today what attacks like this do is they cause us to take a look at our security plans, and redouble our efforts and tweak things around the edges where they need to be,” said Alperin.

She added that a recent grant for the Jewish Community Center has helped in making the facility safer. It’s a difficult reality to face.

“I never thought only 70 years out of the shadow of World War II and the Holocaust that I would be confronted in my lifetime with this. But the reality is the forces of evil never truly go away, they’re under the surface and they’re out now, and we all need to do everything we can to tamp them back down.

She said it will take a unified effort from people of all faiths to help turn the tide on hate. Haston said the one thing everyone can control is their response to the violence.

“The best thing that we can do, the best reaction that we can have is increasing acts of goodness and kindness, increasing life and light in the world.”

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