People are watching President Donald Trump for signs, trying to see where he stands at a time when the Jewish community feels under attack.
Since he took office, Jewish Community Centers, synagogues, cemeteries and schools have experienced bomb threats and vandalism.
On May 4, a statement was issued over Trump’s executive order rolling back the Johnson Amendment, which restricts political activity from the pulpit. The statement was on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. It said, “Today’s executive order undermines the First Amendment principles and protections that allow religious life to flourish in the United States. … The Reform Movement condemns President Trump’s executive order on religious freedom issues in the strongest possible terms.”
The order was said to be masquerading as protection of religious freedom while endangering it.
Kaila Waineo, a Michigan State University student, said, “All I can say is that Jew hate crimes skyrocketed three times as Muslim hate crimes and they have gotten a lot worse,”
According to USA Today, 150 headstones at Chesed Shel Emeth Society Cemetery in Missouri, were vandalized on Feb. 26. A week later, 75 to 100 headstones were damaged in a cemetery in Philadelphia.
Prior to these events, Jake Turx, a Jewish reporter from Ami Magazine, clashed with Trump.
Turx’ main issue with Trump was a perceived lack of empathy for Jews after these events.
Joshua Krupp, an MSU student and member of MSU Hillel, said, “… I do not feel that we are being supported.” He said a comment made by presidential spokesman Sean Spicer also upset him.
Spicer referred to Syrian President Bashar Assad using gas to harm citizens and implied that Hitler did not use chemicals during the Holocaust. That is incorrect and Spicer later apologized.
Events taking place between the United States and Israel are also causing concerns. According to CNN, Trump is strongly considering moving the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, capital of Israel.
This could elevate tension between Israel and Palestine.
“Well, think about the statements and where the support comes from. We just want more support, that’s all,” Waineo said.
To support the Jewish community in Michigan, MSU Hillel and the Michigan Jewish Conference hosted a Michigan Holocaust Commemoration at the Michigan Capitol on April 25. The event brought the Jewish community of Michigan together to honor families of survivors of the Holocaust.
The program consisted of prayers, a statement by Gov. Rick Snyder, and the lighting of a menorah. The program concluded with hugs, cheek kisses, and conversation.