LA Jews worry hanging Hanukkah decorations in present local weather: ‘They may come burn all of it down’

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LA Jews worry hanging Hanukkah decorations in present local weather: ‘They may come burn all of it down’


Some Jews residing in Los Angeles, California, are struggling to resolve how they wish to have a good time Hanukkah this yr, expressing concern that decorations on their properties might invite response from antisemites in the course of the Israel-Hamas battle.

Adam Kulbersh, who lives in Studio Metropolis, informed the LA Instances he didn’t know how one can clarify to his six-year-old son Jack the plight of Jews within the wake of the continued battle, admitting a menorah may result in undesirable consideration.

“Proper now, there are imply individuals who wish to do imply issues,” Kulbersh informed his son. “My primary job is to maintain you secure, and we’re not going to hold decorations.”

One retailer within the Hollywood Hills ended a 30-year custom when the proprietor selected to not show a big menorah, citing fears of harassment or vandalism.

“There are loopy individuals on the market on the earth. They may come burn all of it down,” the proprietor mentioned.

The person was one in every of a number of people who requested the LA Instances to not reveal their full names over considerations that they might be focused due to their Jewish religion.

One Atwater Village resident, Nicole, in contrast the October 7 terrorist assaults by Hamas to a bruise lingering over the group in Los Angeles, which has one of many nation’s largest Jewish populations.

“I’m feeling a bit of homesick for the vacation, however I don’t essentially really feel unsafe right here,” she mentioned. “I received’t draw back from speaking about my religion. That’s why I can store at a kosher deli guilt-free.”

UC-Berkeley Jewish research and historical past professor Ethan Katz informed the Instances that the vulnerability Israel and Jews have confronted since October 7 is analogous to the fears People skilled after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror assaults.

Some Jews in Los Angeles are struggling to resolve how they wish to have a good time Hanukkah this yr. Getty Pictures/iStockphoto

Days earlier than the interview, Katz was strolling down the road carrying a hat worn by some observant males generally known as a Kippah. Somebody inside a close-by automotive shouted at him, “Free Palestine.”

“I began by saying, ‘You don’t know something about my place on Israel. You’re making plenty of assumptions. And also you’re assuming that as a result of I’m a Jewish particular person, I should have sure views of Israel and that I’m honest recreation so that you can specific your opinions about Israel,’” Katz mentioned.

Males stand in entrance of a synagogue in Los Angeles with an Israeli flag. AFP by way of Getty Pictures

Regardless of the alarm, many Jews within the space nonetheless say they’ll specific their religion and have interaction within the upcoming festivities.

“If Jews can’t publicly be Jews in Los Angeles, then we should always not dwell in Los Angeles anymore,” conservative Rabbi Nolan Lebovitz mentioned.

Jewish non secular group Nefesh board member Daniela Gerson expressed an analogous sentiment, noting that folks typically take solace in Jewish communion.

“Sometimes, menorah lighting in my house is personal. I don’t plan to alter something about this Hanukkah,” she mentioned.

Regardless of the alarm, many Jews within the space nonetheless say they’ll specific their religion and have interaction within the upcoming festivities. Getty Pictures

After telling a non-Jewish good friend that he wouldn’t grasp decorations this yr, Kulbersh mentioned his non-Jewish good friend supplied to position a menorah in her personal window as an indication of solidarity.

“Now I’m in a position to flip to my son and say, ‘This yr we’re not solely hanging our decorations, we’re going massive and he’s thrilled,” Kulbersh mentioned.


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