Years ago, my grandmother, a”h, told me a story about her first experience with anti-Semitism during the early years of the War. She was about 10 years old.
Their town’s butcher had been murdered in cold blood the night before. My grandmother was sent by her father to take care of an errand, since she had a very Aryan appearance. She passed the Jewish butcher store and saw that the butcher, Hy”d, was still hanging on the meat hook. She ran home and cried to her father, terrified. He patted her on the cheek and told her it was only the actions of a few crazy people and that everything would be all right.
I always wondered what my great-grandfather was thinking at that moment, as he looked into the teary eyes of his daughter. Was he trying to protect her? Maybe he was lying to himself as well as to her?
Yesterday, I learned the answer when my own 10-year-old daughter came crying to me when she heard about the terrible stabbings in Monsey. I stroked her on the cheek, just as my great-grandfather had done 75 years ago, and told her it was just a few crazy people, and everything would be alright.
I wonder who I was trying to convince, her or myself.
Every day when that little girl and her siblings step onto the bus on the way to school I say a small prayer. “Master of the world, protect these children from harm…”
I know that I can’t protect them from everything in the world but I want to know that I’ve done whatever I can and I daven to Hashem for His help.
But now, when she and her siblings get on the bus, an extra prayer desperately escapes my lips. The entrances to the schools do not have adequate security. The students play outdoors in full view of the main road. How can we be careless when Jewish blood is being spilled all around us?
Well-secured entrances and tall fences should be the minimum. We need more! Jewish schools across Europe have armed guards at every door. “Our government doesn’t pay for that,” you say. “The schools can’t afford it,” you say.
I’m charged nearly $100 above tuition every year for Rosh Chodesh parties. Don’t you think basic security comes before a party? We have fire drills, but do we have gunman drills? Why are we not making this our highest priority?
The many recent terrorist events targeted at our community have failed to shake us up as they should have, but we can no longer escape the facts. Schools! Please! The Jersey City shooters were mere feet away from a school full of children! Let’s not chas v’shalom learn this the hard way.
A Very Concerned Monsey Mother