By Jessica Handler
When I was in my twenties, the house I shared with roommates in Arlington, Massachusetts was vandalized with a Molotov cocktail. This was the mid-1980s. The bomb was made of a small Pepsi bottle, a washcloth, and a burning match. The incendiary fluid was probably rubbing alcohol or gasoline.
What happened was this: on a sunny afternoon, my roommates and I heard a thud at the front door, and then we smelled smoke. I don’t remember running to the foyer. I do remember standing by the door as the cop took our report. I felt stunned and weirdly exposed, although I was fully dressed. A synagogue in the neighborhood had been hit a few days earlier, he told us.
The cop taking the report didn’t know why we were targeted. We were the renters on the top two floors, the homeowners lived on the first. I don’t recall if all the roommates’ names were on the mailbox, and anyway, only two of the names of the seven people in the house were identifiably Jewish. Continue Reading…