The shameful desecration of a college fraternity Torah

The headline says it all. What happened at George Washington University was disgusting, and whoever the perpetrators were for this horrific crime, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Let me explain.

Apparently the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at George Washington University has several members of the Jewish faith. According to the Washington Post, at some time in the early Monday morning hours, someone broke into the fraternity house and caused considerable damage to TKE’s property.

But the vandals didn’t finish at that.

They found the fraternity’s Torah scroll in the basement, tore it apart, and doused it with bleach.

Immediately after the news broke, there there messages of outrage and of support for the fraternity. Sadly, there were also messages on social media that claimed, “Well, it’s not a real Torah, real Torahs are housed in a shul,” or, “Yeah, that fraternity probably destroyed the Torah themselves as a false flag.”

A couple of things. And mind you , although I do have half of my bloodline from the Jewish faith, I’m speaking as my own man.

First off, yes, there are ornate, hand-crafted Torah scrolls at synagogues and at shuls. And those are printed on animal skins and cost a fortune. This one was made of paper. But whatever the construction, the composition is the same. The words are still the words, and thus it is still a Torah. Just as a Bible is still a Bible, whether it’s printed with a 15th-century moveable type press or it’s found in the nightstand of a Motel 6.

And the whole idea of “They did it to themselves as a false flag” is ludicrous. If there’s an investigation, and it’s found out that someone did that within the fraternity itself, then yeah, that’s something to address. But you don’t immediately go into the mode of “they did it themselves” without backing your claim up with proof – and proof isn’t just “I say they did it, so they did it.”

The fact is, antisemitic hate crimes have risen in this country. Risen with alarming frequency and alacrity. Anyone who saw the Charlottesville protests, to see Proud Boys walking with Tiki torches and screaming, “Jews will not replace us!” knows that hatred and bigotry against Jews is on the rise and not going away any time soon. And it was only three years ago that a madman shot and killed eleven people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Only three years ago. Ugh.

And then there’s another question people have asked. “Why does a fraternity have a Torah anyway?”

To which I reply, “Why shouldn’t they?” I’m sure there are Bibles and Qu’rans and other books of worship and Scripture in fraternity and sorority houses. Just because you join a fraternity in college doesn’t mean you automatically have drunken toga parties and boast of possessing Pancho Villa’s bones in your basement.

I’m not in the mood for this. There’s too much hatred against people who DON’T deserve the hatred. So let me say this. Black Lives Matter. Stop AAPI hate. Be an ally to stop LGBTQIA attacks. And stand with those of other faiths, whoever wrote the text that they follow.

Because destroying a Torah means that you’re destroying those who believe in the words of the Torah.

And by the way, the Torah’s text includes the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

You know … the first five books of the Christian Bible’s Old Testament.

In case you were wondering what was being desecrated.