Anti-Semitic incidents alarm Jewish community

Institutions remain open despite anonymous threats

Adah Koivula and Jayne Stevenson

The Jewish community remains alert after the Minneapolis JCC received a bomb threat in January, according to chief communications officer and assistant executive director Soni Cohen.

However, Cohen said the amount of support the community received is the true story to tell in this experience.

“The first call I received when the bomb threat happened was from the Islamic Center telling us that if we needed space to hold programs, they wanted to open their doors to us,” Cohen said. “We are very concerned about anti-Semitism. But we also don’t want to lose the ray of hope in that there are a lot of good people out there who don’t want to tolerate this behavior.”

Junior Elliot Schochet said while anti-Semitism isn’t new, it now has a platform to be exposed.

“There’s people giving voices to anti-Semites who have been voiceless in the past couple of years,” Schochet said.

Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council: Minnesota & the Dakotas, said Jewish institutions must remain both safe and welcoming for people when confronting anti-Semitism.

“It’s important to not allow fear to rule the day, but instead to celebrate the important work these institutions perform on behalf of the entire community, Jewish and non-Jewish alike,” Hunegs said.

Cohen said the public must not accept anti-Semitism.

“The minute we all accept this as our new normal is when I think it’s really sad, and that’s what I personally am hoping is not our new normal,” Cohen said.

Senior Hodanmoh Mohamud said she noticed an increase in discrimination since Trump’s presidency began.

“I don’t think anyone should be threatened to be bombed. Nobody should feel that type of danger,” Mohamud said.

Schochet said he feels thankful for the people of St. Louis Park who have supported his community.

“This has never (been) a problem our community has ever had to deal with, and that is because of the people we are surrounded by,” Schochet said.

Hunegs said it’s important to remain solitary with the Jewish community and express care for its safety.

“It’s important that the fabric of society be built not tolerating at all racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, whatever the case may be,” Hunegs said.

Schochet said he feels the country needs to unite and heal to prevent more hateful acts.

“The way to come together is to recognize commonalities and understand when it comes down to this, as Americans (and) as people of faith, we all want the same things for ourselves, for our children, for our country and once we remember that, we just remember our common creed as a human being,” Schochet said.