The Omaha metro Jewish community continues to react to the brutal murders of eleven people at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday. Temple Israel’s Senior Rabbi Brian Stoller reacted to the tragedy by saying, “This is an act of terrorism against the Jewish community. Plain and simple. And we’ve seen sadly a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic acts around the country.” And that includes Omaha.
Last summer, a swastika was burned into the lawn at Memorial Park. Also this summer anti-Semitic literature started showing up in neighborhood free libraries. Rabbi Stoller says the Anti-Defamation League shows a 60% increase in antic-Semitic acts nationwide over the past few years.
Pinpointing the origin of this behavior is not known but Rabbi Stoller believes that people have always hated “the other”, people they don’t know or understand. He says it defies explanation. Rabbi Stoller says, “I think that the citizens of Omaha can make their voices heard in a variety of ways to let the Jewish community here and around the country that we stand with us.”
However, Rabbi Stoller says they will remain strong of spirit and they will not allow this hatred to crush their community. He says as a safeguard they added armed security a few years ago at services and have taken several other steps to boost security after seeing a rise in anti-Semitism and general violence in the community. He goes on to say they have to remain vigilant and they will.