RELIGION

Atlanta history teaches the violent toll of anti-Semitism

  • In this Wednesday, March 1, 2017, photo The Temple is seen in Atlanta. In 1958, a bomb blast ripped a hole in The Temple, an act of violence which still resonates today in Atlanta's Jewish community. The bomb blast also inspired a book, and a play now on stage at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

    In this Wednesday, March 1, 2017, photo The Temple is seen in Atlanta. In 1958, a bomb blast ripped a hole in The Temple, an act of violence which still resonates today in Atlanta's Jewish community. The bomb blast also inspired a book, and a play now on stage at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Oct. 13, 1958 file photo, authorities investigate the scene of damage from a bomb blast at The Temple on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. A few more hours and Sunday school classrooms at the temple would have been filled with 600 children. (Dwight Ross/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

    In this Oct. 13, 1958 file photo, authorities investigate the scene of damage from a bomb blast at The Temple on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. A few more hours and Sunday school classrooms at the temple would have been filled with 600 children. (Dwight Ross/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Wednesday, March 1, 2017 photo, Rabbi Peter S. Berg poses for a photo in the sanctuary of The Temple, in Atlanta. In 1958, a bomb blast ripped a hole in The Temple, an act of violence which still resonates today in Atlanta's Jewish community. The bomb blast also inspired a book, and a play now on stage at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

    In this Wednesday, March 1, 2017 photo, Rabbi Peter S. Berg poses for a photo in the sanctuary of The Temple, in Atlanta. In 1958, a bomb blast ripped a hole in The Temple, an act of violence which still resonates today in Atlanta's Jewish community. The bomb blast also inspired a book, and a play now on stage at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)  (The Associated Press)

Amid a surge of bomb threats and vandalism at Jewish institutions nationwide, members of Atlanta's Jewish community have felt a familiar wave of apprehension about what may come next.

Because all of that, and worse, has happened there before.

Six decades ago, during the turmoil of the civil rights era, 50 sticks of dynamite blasted a huge, ragged hole in Atlanta's largest synagogue. A generation earlier, in 1915, Jewish businessman Leo Frank was lynched during a wave of anti-Semitism.

Some in Atlanta fear that history is once again arcing toward the viperous climate that set the stage for earlier violence.

Author Melissa Fay Greene said Atlantans have learned over several decades the power of hate speech — and how it can foster violence.