April 9, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
April 9, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

My Thoughts on the Israel Real Estate Event

After spending a few hours outside of a private event held at Congregation Keter Torah today, I have not yet fully decompressed from what I observed and experienced, but I felt it important to write down my thoughts while they are still fresh on my mind.

As an outwardly proud Jew, I’ve been exposed to antisemitism. I know I’m not alone. May 18 will be three years since I’ve experienced one of the most horrific acts of hate. I was walking on Collins Avenue in Bal Harbour, Florida with my wife Karen, our daughter Jamie and our close friend Mark “Mendy” Schwartz, when we were attacked by four Middle Eastern looking males in their early 20s who screamed expletives at us as well as, “Die, Jew!” and “Free Palestine!” and “We are going to rape your wife and daughter.” They threw water bottles and garbage at us from their vehicle then sped off when a stranger intervened and pulled his gun. Thankfully, this incident was caught on camera and the police were able to identify the actors and make arrests. Sadly, they were not prosecuted.

Nearly three years later, we are all experiencing what Karen, Jamie, Mendy and I went through.

Since October 7, we have seen and experienced the pro Hamas demonstrations happening in our own community. We have seen the videos of the angry mobs screaming expletives at us. We have heard the death threats aimed at us. We have heard and seen these actors calling for and justifying rape and sexual violence. We have had water bottles, garbage and paint thrown at us. We have been harassed. We have been threatened. Sadly, these incidents are occurring more frequently, with the levels of hate, and in many cases, violence increasing with each occurrence.

I recently spoke with my Grandma Susan who survived the pogroms and Nazis in Eastern Europe. I asked her if the situation occurring here in the US was like what happened then. Her reply sent shivers down my spine. “What is happening now is worse, but we are better prepared and more able to protect ourselves and good will always win over evil.”

Standing outside on the street was hard. I was screamed at. I was cursed at. I had accusations leveled at me by people who don’t even know me. I had water bottles and other objects thrown at me. I had people shouting they want me dead. I was not there to demonstrate. I was not there to share an opinion. As difficult as it was, I did not react. I did not engage. I did, however, observe.

I saw hundreds of people, both Jewish and not Jewish, outwardly showing their support for Israel. I saw a non-Jewish man waving an Israeli flag get attacked by an unruly mob. I saw people from the community bring food and drinks for the police officers, the majority of whom were called in on their day off to protect everyone –both the attendees and the protestors. I saw and heard the attendees and pro-Israel demonstrators thanking each and every police officer. I saw the pro-Israel demonstrators waving American flags and Israeli flags. I saw and heard our local rabbis who were in attendance offer blessings and words of encouragement to the police officers.

There is a lot I didn’t see or hear. I didn’t see the pro-Hamas protestors waving American flags. I did not see them take pride living in a country that affords them the right to protest. I didn’t see the pro-Hamas protestors thanking law enforcement for keeping them safe. I didn’t hear any of the pro-Hamas protestors condemning terrorism or hate. I didn’t see or hear the pro-Hamas protestors trying to have any kind of civil engagement.

I am in awe of our police officers. I am so appreciative of our brave men and women who stand watch each and every day, putting others before themselves, running towards danger instead of running away from it, putting themselves in harm’s way to keep everyone safe. The screaming and vitriol aimed at them at times was worse than what was being lobbed at the attendees and pro-Israel side. Yet, these public servants stood their posts with stoic expressions, maintained professionalism and did their jobs. I can’t even imagine how they felt knowing this has been a consistent part of their jobs way before October 7.

I’m physically tired, I am mentally exhausted, I am out of adrenalin, but I am full of hope knowing that good will win over evil. Am Yisrael Chai!

Eric M. Orgen
Teaneck

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles