There is a disturbing, sickening trend gaining momentum in the United States, and it involves increased threatening, prejudiced attacks on people of various ethnic and nationality groups, gender identities, and other descriptors. A certain twisted, malicious element of our society is emboldened to make phone and email threats, online social media threats and name calling, as well as actual violence. It would be naive for me to think that this is new; no, it is not. But it has been growing rapidly. There are many reasons, and they can be debated, as to why there is more anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia and other categories of hate manifested.

But to say that the attitude of the current presidential administration has nothing to do with this, to me is absurd and mendacious. iI did not start with Trump but it has increased greatly. You cannot shake your head at this.

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And Jews are being targeted in particular. Jewish Community Centers and various Jewish organizations have received phone, email and social media threats galore in recent weeks. Individual Jews (especially journalists) have received detailed, horrifying threats. Jewish cemeteries have had groups of headstones knocked down, vandalized, painted with swastikas.

My own neighborhood has experienced this, and my own synagogue has as well. The East Midwood Jewish Center, my synagogue since 1971 when I was a little girl and my family moved to the Midwood section of Brooklyn, received a phone call the other day. A man threatened to throw pig's blood at the synagogue, used a derogatory term for Jews ("Kikes") and said other mocking things on a voice mail message. The perpetrator's phone number was revealed to be from upstate New York. Several members have been discussing this awful situation. Overall the mood seems not to be fear so much as anger and disgust.

That encapsulates my own feeling about this. I do know a few people who, viewing all these mean-spirited and stupid events around the US, are wondering if a new Nazi regime is arising. I do not think so (and have debated this with a few people who think I am naive) but I am angered and frustrated, and nauseated, by these vile acts.

Fortunately a large segment of the the American populace is also disgusted by these events and so many others. In fact these acts are galvanizing many people into action against hatred and prejudice-- and that is a positive effect. Still, as they say it has "hit home" for me. And this has me particularly agitated.

And a local Jewish cemetery has seen a group of headstones toppled over. It appears that at the Washington Cemetery the headstones were actually not vandalized but were victims of neglect and age. But other area cemeteries and some in other states  have been marred. Stupid, sick cowards are to blame. It's a foul act that reeks of stupidity.

I drove past the Washington Cemetery today; it is an oddly shaped grounds, bisected by a sizable road called Bay Parkway. There is an elevated subway train station that stands sentry there, the Avenue I station on the F train Culver line. Many times I have stood on the uptown or downtown platform there, and gazed down at the cemetery while waiting for an arriving train. I cannot recall hearing about a group of toppled headstones in the past.

My neighborhood and my area in general are both heavily Jewish, and for the most part people are comfortable to wear religious garb (and not just Jewish garb). But now just about everyone is aware of the increase of threats and anti-Semitism. We are not only concerned for ourselves but I, and most people I know, are also concerned because this speaks so poorly of our American society, our land of promise and hope. It is un-American.

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