“Based on past experience, these waves are getting stronger as the economic situation becomes more difficult and all the anger is taken out on the Jews,” he added.
This is not the first act of vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Hungary. In July 2012, 57 Jewish graves were desecrated in Kosovo, approximately 200 miles southwest of Budapest.
On March 13, in Ukraine, Rabbi Hillel Cohen, the head of Ukraine Hatzalah, was physically attacked by an unknown group of seemingly Russian-speaking youths. That made him the third Jew to be assaulted since January. In February, vandals flung Molotov cocktails at the Giymat Rosa Synagogue in Zaporizhia in eastern Ukraine.
In response to an apparent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the Ukraine in the wake of the recent political upheaval there, Russian President Vladimir Putin and interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk have each vowed to protect Ukraine’s Jews. But critics are skeptical of the sincerity of these pledges. They claim that Putin is using anti-Semitism as a pretense to justify his recent interference in internal Ukrainian affairs, highlighted by Russia’s occupation of Crimea.
Locally, News 12 reports that symbols of hate have recently appeared in Brooklyn’s Midwood section. Numerous neo-Nazi markings are covering walls and sidewalks along Avenue K, between East 12th and East 16th streets.
Some residents say the images, which include spray-painted graffiti and stickers, have been there – despite citizen complaints – since November.
News 12 says it reached out to the NYPD to see whether it was aware of the issue. No reply has been supplied as of yet, according to the media outlet.
The Ninety-Mile-An-Hour Siyum
This Monday, March 31 (29 Adar II), a unique Daf Yomi shiur will mark a rare milestone: the completion of Talmud Bavli for the third time. This upcoming siyum will not be held in a massive sports stadium attended by tens of thousands of people. It will take place in the same uncommon location where the shuir is delivered each day: on the Long Island Rail Road.
That morning will be like all others, as shuir attendees trickle onto the LIRR at the Far Rockaway, Inwood, Lawrence and Cedarhurst stations – as they have done for the past 22 years. But as the train begins to pull out of Woodmere and Sholom Fried begins the final page of a seven and a half year learning cycle, a remarkable accomplishment will be realized.
This group has been riding the same train together with a united purpose: to utilize the 45- minute ride into Penn Station by way of a daily dose of learning.
In 1991, while on a morning LIRR train ride, Aryeh Markovich asked Rabbi Pesach Lerner to teach the Talmud on the 7:51 a.m. Far Rockaway-Manhattan train. “I used to see a lot of people playing cards on the train,” Markovich said, “and I figured: why don’t we do something for people to utilize their time productively and learn something?” Rabbi Lerner agreed. Markovich proceeded to hand out flyers in order to publicize the class-on-wheels. The next morning, nearly 30 people showed up for their mobile tutorial in the train’s last car.
It has been going strong ever since. Today, there are two morning Manhattan-bound trains that offer a Daf Yomi class. Students include accountants, bankers, salesmen, and even MTA staff members. Railroad personnel, well aware of the class, express their gratitude for the positive publicity it has generated by doing everything possible to help.
There certainly are challenges conducting a class in this environment. Eliezer Cohen, who has been learning with the group for more than 10 years and now serves as a senior maggid shuir, said, “The Daf discusses all aspects of life. Therefore, there are issues that come up, from the mundane to the very powerful. The political issues of the day, sexual [topics]…sometimes there are issues that are hard to discuss on the train, but it gives vibrancy to the commute.” Yossi Klein said, “While most commuters grunt at the occasional delay on the rails, we relish in spending the extra few minutes delving a little deeper in the daf.”