Nazi salutes from white-nationalist group revive painful memories for local Jewish community

Jewish community responds to video

SAN ANTONIO - “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory.”

That’s the cheer that went up from a packed crowd in Washington D.C. on Saturday, as anti-Semitic imagery best left to a history textbook once again reared its ugly head.

Video from the Atlantic captured the moment over the weekend, as a conference of the white supremacist “National Policy Institute” erupted into stiff-armed Nazi salutes.

It’s an image that, too many in Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg’s congregation, brings up painful, personal memories.

“They have lived with a horror in the past, never thinking that, in America or the world today, this could happen again,” said Scheinberg.

Rabbi Schienberg’s synagogue, Rodfei Sholom, is part of the same Northwest side community that, just a year ago, was marked in an act of vandalism. Residents of the predominantly Jewish neighborhood were horrified to see swastikas, and offensive language spray painted on cars, telephone polls, and public property. Some cars even have windows smashed in with rocks.

Scheinberg says this video is different and far worse.

“It must be denounced,” said Scheinberg. “It’s evil.”

Winslow Swart, another prominent member of the San Antonio Jewish community, says groups like this have always existed. Only now they’ve gotten louder

“I think that anti-Semitism has never been fully squelched or eradicated,” said Swart.

He also says it’s important to keep in mind that the actions of a group of Trump supporters shouldn’t necessarily reflect negatively on the president-elect.

“I can’t say I was a Trump supporter in this campaign, but I genuinely believe he’s not anti-Semitic,” said Swart. “I’m not concerned about him, but certainly we can be concerned about some of his supporters.”

Now the Jewish community, which is so used to washing away the marks of hate and prejudice, weighs how to respond to what feels like a recurring nightmare.

“Every individual has to be loved and respected,” said Scheinberg. “Period.”

(© 2016 KENS)


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