By COLlive reporter
Many Jews in Europe feel under assault, the TIME magazine reported in an article titled “Europe’s Jews Are Resisting a Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism.”
The European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency recently concluded that Europe’s Jews were subjected to “a sustained stream of abuse.”
England reported the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents ever recorded, French government records show a 74% spike in anti-Semitic acts between 2017 and 2018, and in Germany, anti-Semitic incidents rose more than 19% last year.
In numerous interviews, European Jews told TIME they avoid wearing or showing a Star of David, and forgo affixing mezuzahs on their doorposts, opting instead to have them inside.
“Parents say to their kids, ‘Don’t tell your friends you are Jewish.’ Jewish teachers are afraid to tell kids they are Jewish,” Rabbi Shneur Kesselman, the Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi of Malmo, told TIME.
Rabbi Kesselman, who moved from his native Detroit in 2004, recently installed bulletproof glass on his office window in Malmo’s synagogue, which dates from 1903.
He told the magazine that Jews have steadily adapted to low-level hostility.
“We feel so long as our names are not on a list, we are O.K.,” he said. “There is a danger that we are accepting much too much.”
Public hostility against Rabbi Kesselman inspired local psychologist Jehoshua Kaufman to organize a protest in support of the Chabad Shliach, the magazine reported.
The protest was both a demonstration and a show of faith — a kippah walk, on which both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens wear the traditional skullcaps in public, in protest against anti-Semitism.
One evening in 2011, Kaufman says, he asked about 15 congregants in Malmo’s synagogue to join him in not removing their kippahs as they left the building.
“The community said, ‘They will kill us in the streets,’” he recalls. “They said, ‘You need police protection.’ I said no police.” The walk proceeded peacefully, and Kaufman says the experience was liberating. “Within a few weeks there were 100 people walking,” he says. “Then suddenly it was 500 people, and politicians showed up to make speeches.” There are now regular kippah walks in Malmo, Stockholm and Berlin.