Virtual Tisha Be’av service hit by antisemitic hate, calls to bomb Israel

Additional messages also attacked Hinduism and African Americans.

A family takes part in a Zoom shiva (photo credit: ANDREW LICHTENSTEIN/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES VIA JTA)
A family takes part in a Zoom shiva
(photo credit: ANDREW LICHTENSTEIN/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES VIA JTA)
A joint service of several Dallas-area synagogues was disrupted on Thursday by threatening antisemitic messages targeting Jews and Israel, according to an Algemeiner report. 
When several local Orthodox synagogues and rabbis gathered for morning prayers on Zoom to mark Tisha B’Av at 10:30 a.m., they began to be bombarded by messages reading: “Kill all Jews,” “Bomb Israel,” “Free Palestine” and “Hail Hitler," after someone infiltrated the call. A swastika was also displayed on screen, along with additional messages of “F–k Judaism” and vulgar comments attacking Hinduism and African Americans. 
Following the incident, an activist named Elizabeth Savetsky, who is also a congregant at one of the synagogues targeted, Shaare Tefilla, posted on Instagram a video of the antisemitic messages. It was reported that a person named Andrew Rodriguez was responsible for the bombardment of racist and antisemitic messages. 


 
The antisemitic messages appeared on the screen only a few minutes after the start of the service, prompting the host account to remove the user and shut down the conference. The congregants later started a second service, which reportedly attracted more participants than the first disrupted service.
Rabbi Ariel Racovsky, who heads Shaare Tefilla, also reported the incident to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Racovsky, in a video statement to his congregants, highlighted the connection between the antisemitic messages and Tisha Be'av, a tragic holiday that primarily commemorates the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem in addition to other calamities that have befallen the Jewish people, saying that “These awful people did us a service. They helped us make our Tisha Be’av much more real. If Tisha Be’av was something you couldn’t relate to, if you were on the call this morning, suddenly you could relate much better to Tisha Be’av.”
“Even as we confront our enemies, we are going to succeed. We are going to emerge stronger,” he added. 
“We are going to triumph in the face of our adversaries. All of the people that want to destroy us, denigrate us and humiliate us, they will not succeed. And they will have to live with the poison and hatred in their souls while we move forward with the Torah in ours…We are going to succeed and emerge stronger as a result of this..No one who tries to Zoom‐bomb us or actually bomb us, or destroy us in any way is ever going to succeed,” the rabbi concluded. 
Racovsky said he hoped the offenders would be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.”  
In a statement to Algemeiner, Savetsky also noted the connection with Tisha Be'av, saying “On the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, our community was reminded just how present hate is towards the Jewish people when our virtual prayer service was hijacked by people spewing horrific antisemitic comments. There were children in attendance. The threat no longer looms in the distance, but it is in our own backyard. We feel violated but we will not stand down”
Her video has since been shared over 4,000 times.
“I hope we continue to see the Jewish people speak out against antisemitism in all its forms and stand together in solidarity,” she noted.