“What happened last Shabbat was terrifying. Seeing Nazis marching with torches on American soil touches our deepest vulnerability, our collective trauma. Hearing the leader of our country refuse to take a stand against them reminds us of so many closed borders, so many who turned away when our parents and grandparents were running for their lives,” Rabbi Rachel Timoner of Congregation Beth Elohim wrote in a letter to her Brooklyn, N.Y., congregation urging them to not feel alone in their fears, and to stand with in the wake of the Charlottesville car attack.
Three days after Charlottesville, Eran Greenberg, a 42-year-old doctor who works in Northern Virginia, had a different response: He retook possession of the gun he’d bought years ago but kept stored outside his home. “Seeing this up three blocks from my house set me off,” he said, sharing a photo of an Identity Evropa poster proclaiming “Our destiny is ours” on a lamppost in Old Town, Alexandria, Va. Identity Evropa is an American white supremacist group, and the offices of “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer are in Alexandria, making the city a hub of white nationalist activity.
“Every Jewish person I know feels pretty much exactly the same way. And it’s this sort of sense of dread because we don’t know when we’re being unnecessarily frightened and when to take it seriously. It’s the question that’s been asked by Jews around the world: When is it time to go? When is it time to leave? And when is it too late?” asked Kaili Joy Gray, 39, a D.C.-based senior editor at Share Blue media, who unspooled a Twitter thread asking similar questions after Charlottesville.