Photo Credit: courtesy, Rabbi Schneur Kesselman
Chabad Public Chanukah Menorah lighting in Malmo, Sweden main square, Dec. 26 2019

In the Swedish city of Malmo, where one third of the population are immigrants from Muslim nations, anti-Semitism is a problem, as it is in the Big Apple, New York City.

The city of Malmo was home to 341,457 people in 2019 according to the latest census figures, with 48 percent of the population under the age of 35.


The Jewish population in the city is estimated at around 1,500 at present.

Last June, two people — one Jewish philanthropist and one who was a gentile — together donated more than $4 million to pay for security measures to protect the Jews of Malmo, according to Ynet.

They haven’t disappeared by any means, to judge by the crowd that showed up for the public Chanukah Menorah lighting ceremony on Dec. 26, 2019 in Malmo’s main square.

Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Schneur Kesselman, who organized the event, told in a telephone interview late Monday night that some 250 people came out to celebrate.

There are two vibrant Jewish communities with two solid Orthodox synagogues holding Shabbat services every week in Malmo, and plenty of activities taking place on the holidays. In addition, there is an egalitarian Jewish temple in the city as well.

Malmo’s city council reportedly voted to allocate some $2 million for measures aimed at protecting the Jewish community from the dozens of anti-Semitic incidents which are growing by the year.

The move almost parallels that which took place in New York City.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is being deployed in massive numbers to protect the city’s Jewish synagogues and other important sites in the wake of a massive wave of anti-Semitic attacks that has been taking place over the past several months.

With great fanfare, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at a rally this week the state will release $45 million in funding “to protect religious-based institutions and non-public schools.”

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In Malmo, there are plans to open a Holocaust museum, and the government has talked about holding an international conference in Malmo on fighting anti-Semitism.

Malmo is much smaller than New York. But like the Big Apple, it is an international city facing the issue of how to blend many cultures. Nearly a third of its residents – 100,000 — were born overseas. More than 135,000 have a foreign background. Fourteen percent of the population are foreign nationals, with the largest group of immigrants coming to Malmo from Iraq, a Muslim nation not particularly sympathetic to Jews. Others have come from Serbia, Denmark, Poland, Iran and Hungary, among the 170 different nations they left in order to call Malmo home.

The Jewish community in Malmo remains “strong and active,” said Kesselman, who added he is already hard at work planning the next event for his congregation: a celebration for the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.