My grandmother Sarah would not have been surprised by the upsurge in anti-Semitism during the past few years. “Scratch a goy, you’ll find an anti-Semite,” she used to say, using the Yiddish word for non-Jew. I didn’t agree with her, but I understood where she was coming from—both geographically and psychologically.
She was born in Lithuania around 1883 and immigrated to the United States as a young girl. Her family left Eastern Europe to escape the violent pogroms against Jews. They arrived in the United States to discover that anti-Semitism—including the violent variety—existed here, too.