Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

Shining a light on Hingham news

The Harborlight

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Congregation Sha’aray Shalom as the Latest Victim of Antisemitism

Taken+by+Ethan+Warhaftig
Taken by Ethan Warhaftig

It seems like nearly every day, we hear about another act of violence towards Jewish people in the United States. Many occur on college campuses, in schools, or at places of worship. Unfortunately for the South Shore community, Congregation Sha’aray Shalom in Hingham was a recent victim. 

In the early afternoon on Sunday, November 19th, only a few hours after the synagogue was packed with students for religious school, the Rabbi of the synagogue received an email threatening that a bomb was in the building. The Hingham Police Department (HPD) arrived immediately, and the synagogue, as well as nearby houses, were evacuated. As an additional precaution, the HPD closed nearly a mile of Main Street stretching from Gardner Street to Queen Anne’s Corner. Fortunately, the threat turned out to be unsubstantiated, and after searching the building, the HPD did not find any explosives in the synagogue or the surrounding area. 

Nevertheless, the rise of antisemitism over the last decade is evident, in particular, even more so after October 7th when Hamas attacked Israel and killed over 1000 innocent 

Israeli civilians. The recent threat was incredibly “unsettling to the whole Jewish community,” says Cantor Steven Weiss of Sha’aray Shalom, a Hingham resident who recently celebrated his 20th year anniversary as clergy at the temple. 

In response to the threat on Sunday, Principal Swanson made an announcement to the Hingham High School community on Monday morning. “The threat against the Jewish temple here in Hingham offers vivid proof of the hatreds and divisions that continue to plague our society, and it represents an affront, not just to those who worship at the temple, but to every one of us,” said Swanson. He reminded and encouraged us to be a community where kindness prevails and to “become a powerful champion of mutual respect and love over hatred.”

Troy Leibovici, a sophomore at HHS who has family members living in Israel, has been severely affected by the recent violence in the world. He comments, “I always knew that antisemitism was around us but I never thought that it would be this close. Never did it cross my mind that it would be this extreme and threaten the lives of adults and children of all ages.”

Kate Swanson is the co-president of the HHS Unity Project, a club that advocates for equality at HHS across various ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds. Regarding the threat, Kate says, “I can’t honestly say that I was shocked — which is telling about the state of the world right now,” referring to the elevated frequency of acts of violence around the world. “I can say, however, that I was — and am — disgusted by the people who make these threats with the intention of harming others, and I was appalled at the blatant display of antisemitism in our own town.” 

As the frequency of antisemitic actions continues to rise globally, it seems likely that events such as these will continue. Our community must continue to band together to continue the fight against antisemitism. We have the ability to make change. Together we can do this.

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