Campus Jewish groups at Indiana University Bloomington (IU Bloomington) are sounding the alarm after a worrying increase in anti-Semitic incidents since Rosh Hashanah, including four mezuzahs being torn down.
The president of Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, Jason Bohrer, initially contacted IU President Pamela Whitten after a Jewish student’s mezuzah was torn off the door of her dorm room on September 24. Two days later, the same student’s mezuzah was again vandalized.
Three additional mezuzahs were also torn down.
“It’s not just specific to Bloomington, it’s around the world,” Bohrer told the Indiana Daily Student. “Ten percent of our campus population are Jews, which is a lot of kids. I’m not sure why the school has not come out with a statement, which is why I emailed President Whitten.”
He added that other instances of anti-Semitic behavior have taken place during the last few years.
He recalled a December 2019 incident in which three Jewish IU students trying to enter a fraternity party were physically assaulted and subjected to anti-Semitic slurs by members of the fraternity.
The assault followed an anonymous anti-Semitic online post the previous year that said a “bunch of hairy stinky rude obnoxious jews” were overtaking the Indiana University campus.
In 2017, white supremacist flyers were plastered around campus, with the university contacting the FBI.
Rabbi Levi Cunin, the director of IU Chabad House told the Daily Student that the recent vandalism could not have been accidental.
“Four different mezuzahs have been torn down since the start of our New Year, one of them was torn down twice. This has to be done intentionally – it’s high up on the door,” he said.
UI spokesperson Chuck Carney told the newspaper that any actions that endangered the safety of students would be quickly dealt with.
Several university departments are working with IU Hillel to put together educational efforts to address the situation.
“IU-Bloomington has received reports of bias incidents involving anti-Semitism in the residence halls that do not reflect IU’s commitment to equitable and inclusive environment for people from all backgrounds,” Carney said. “We ask the IU community to join us in shaping a campus where everyone feels welcome, respected and comfortable no matter their race, ethnicity, identity, political or religious beliefs.”
Since the incidents, Indiana Hillel has reached out to students on social media through its Mezuzah Project. The program offers mezuzahs, hung on students’ doors free of charge, in order to “show your Jewish pride.”
Indiana Hillel has also created the IU Hillel Anti-Semitism Prevention Task Force.
“IU Hillel is putting together a task force to face anti-Semitism made-up of a dedicated group of students who are committed to ending anti-Semitism on IU’s campus by providing education and promoting Jewish advocacy,” they said.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)