Reuven Leigh, director of Chabad of Cambridge and The Cambridge Lehrhaus, reports how a broken window morphed into a major antisemitic indicent: “I don’t doubt there are antisemites out there who wish to do me harm, but my default response and knee jerk reaction every time some misfortune befalls me is not one of victimhood.”

Read on below…

How To Weaponise Anti-Semitism: A Cautionary Tale

Reuven Leigh, Medium
9th May 2018

On Shabbat afternoon I was taking a leisurely stroll through the picturesque winding streets of Cambridge with my son. Passing by The Cambridge Lehrhaus, the centre for Jewish thought that I founded nearly five years ago, I noticed the now notorious smashed window. Unable to take any meaningful measures to secure the building and protect passersby from harming themselves on the exposed glass, I made sure to inform my landlords at Gonville & Caius College of the problem and told them I would take care of it that evening.

The ever helpful porters arranged for the glass to be cleaned and the window to be boarded up.

On my way home I bumped into a non-Jewish friend who asked me if I had seen The Lehrhaus. She appeared very concerned which I thought was kind but it still didn’t dawn on me that I would soon be at the centre of a full scale ‘incident.’ The only thing going through my mind was that I would have to wait until after the bank holiday weekend before I would be able to get the window replaced.

That evening, already in bed, I received a message from a concerned Jewish student who wanted to speak with me about the ‘incident.’ I was amused that something so obviously innocuous as a window being smashed on a prominent high street could be construed as anything more than drunken vandalism. I messaged back that I look forward to chatting in the morning.

Without my knowledge, some more concerned Jewish students contacted the student media to alert them about a potentially anti-semitic attack on a Jewish building in Cambridge even providing their own quotes and comments…

Read more about the making of an antisemitic incident…