Fact Check: Hasidic Jews Did NOT Rehearse Child-Murder Ritual In Synagogue


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Fact Check: Hasidic Jews Did NOT Rehearse Child-Murder Ritual In Synagogue Holiday Skit

Did a group of Hasidic Jewish men rehearse the hanging of a child in a synagogue, eliciting frenzied cheers from worshippers? No, that's not true: The claim made in a video on TikTok actually shows the men putting on a skit to mark the Jewish holiday of Purim. The claim that they are rehearsing a child murder is an iteration of "blood libel," a centuries-old antisemitic trope that accuses Jews of killing Christian youth and using their blood in rituals.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok on January 31, 2024. It shows a man in Hasidic Jewish attire in the altar area of a synagogue where a miniature gallows has been erected. He strings up a dummy to boisterous applause from the congregation, with one member waving what appears to be a gun. At the 0:11 mark, an English-language title appears reading, "Doll is the size of a child." At the 0:27 mark, the faux hangman begins punching the dummy in the face under the ungrammatical caption "If hanging and shooting it wasn't enough..."

The text over the video read (translated from Hungarian to English by Lead Stories staff):

The Chosen People!?👺
✡️ Actors rehearsal!?
You see it if you see it☝️💥😈

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-02-13 at 6.58.30.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Feb 13 11:58:30 2024 UTC)

The men are celebrating the Jewish feast of Purim, as recorded in a video (archived here) that appeared on YouTube on March 25, 2016, the day after holiday observances ended that year. At Purim, Jews commemorate their deliverance from Haman, a Persian noble who was plotting to exterminate their nation. His plan was thwarted thanks to Jewish heroine Esther's intercession with the Persian king, who ultimately ordered his men to execute Haman, according to the story in the Bible's Book of Esther.

Jews re-enact Haman's demise as part of Purim festivities, hanging, burning or otherwise defiling his effigy, according to the Jewish Encyclopedia (archived here). Another Purim custom observed in the video is for the Jewish faithful to boo and hiss every time Haman's name is mentioned during the reading of the Book of Esther, according to the National Jewish Outreach Program (archived here).

The men are not rehearsing a child murder. This false claim began appearing on social media sites such as Instagram (archived here) after radical Christian website Crusade Modernity (archived here) promoted it at the 17:58 mark of a video on YouTube titled "Verifying the Talmud [2]" on July 22, 2023 (archived here).

The claim is an example of "blood libel," which the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum describes (archived here) as:

the false allegation that Jews used the blood of non-Jewish, usually Christian children, for ritual purposes... Blood libels, together with allegations of well poisoning, were a major theme in Jewish persecution in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the modern period. They were a central component in the development of modern antisemitism in the 19th century.

Georgian website Myth Detector debunked the same claim in a fact check published on January 18, 2024 (archived here.)


International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

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