I was immensely saddened to learn of recent bomb threats to JCCs in the United States and Canada and of the malicious destruction of headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery in my hometown of University City, Mo.
I hope our country will soon know who committed these heinous acts.
When I turned on the evening news for updates, I saw Vice President Mike Pence, who had flown to St. Louis, make a stop at the cemetery. He spoke a few words condemning the vandalism and then, in dress shirt and tie from a talk he gave earlier that day, he donned a pair of gardening gloves, took up a rake and joined folks of all backgrounds, including Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, in clean-up efforts.
The next day I read that a crowdfunding campaign started by two Muslims had raised almost $75,000 for the cemetery restoration, with excess funds to go to “other vandalized Jewish centers.”
Knowing about the swift national responses to one evil act gave me my second wind.
Sadly, on Feb. 27, another desecration of a Jewish cemetery, this one in Philadelphia, was reported, as well as a new wave of bomb threats to JCCs and Jewish schools.
I hope national condemnation and positive actions taken after these “copycat” events will be as strong.
— Barbara Russek
Editor’s note: The crowdfunding campaign, with an original goal of $20,000, has raised more than $155,000.