He had been identified as one of the 36 under 36 in 2017.
He was a leader, albeit in anotherJewish community.
He had a practice of providing Torah scrolls for Bar and Bat Mitzvah services, he founded a Jewish agency, he tutored students, albeit in another Jewish community.
Why was he still a stranger to his neighbors?
Racism isn’t a weed in a garden; it’s the soil the weeds grow in. It’s not my words, my actions, or even my intent. It’s the mindset and communal context that allows me to justify my assault on the grounds that I was using common sense, that it is the job of the other to defend himself and defuse the situation, that the other should get over their pain because it wouldn’t have bothered me. As Jews we should recognize that system, and we should attend to how we perpetuate it, ourselves. Even better, we should dismantle it.
I hope someone invites Yehudah Webster and other Jews who don’t look Jewish to each other to Shabbat dinner this week. Make it a tradition.