1. The Tree of Life synagogue shooting
The “slaughter of the innocents” in a Pittsburgh synagogue in October was the single worst anti-Jewish attack in U.S. history, with 11 worshippers killed (among them were two of my cousins, Cecil and David Rosenthal). The swift public revulsion and denunciation of the massacre cut across all religious, ethnic and racial boundaries and resulted in a vast outpouring of support for the American Jewish community.
2. U.S. embassy moves to Jerusalem
In May, the U.S. embassy in Israel officially relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as President Trump followed through on a December 2017 announcement. The move, met with both celebration and foreboding from political and faith leaders at the time, has been largely overwhelmed by other events, including violent attempts to breach the Jewish state’s borders by Palestinians in Gaza, Iran’s continued support of the brutal Syrian regime and the terrorist group Hezbollah based in Lebanon, and the discovery of several Hezbollah secret military tunnels that encroached into Israeli territory. Though Saudi Arabia’s King Salman was among those who criticized the embassy move, Israel strengthened its diplomatic outreach to Saudi Arabia this year.