In the book of Esther, the threat to Jews comes from Haman, a malicious Gentile who convinces others to hate Jews because they are different; by contrast, the books of Maccabees point to Hellenized Jews stoking the anger of the regime against those Jews who resist Hellenization. Dara Horn compares these Jewish anti-Semites with those Soviet Jews who joined the yevsektsii—the Jewish sections of the Communist party tasked with destroying traditional forms of Jewish life:
There Will Always be Jews Willing to Aid Anti-Semites
At America’s Best Universities, Biblical Religion Is a Curiosity, if Not a Menace
At the time of Columbia University’s founding in 1784, notes Meir Soloviechik, the leader of the local synagogue, Gershom Mendes Seixas, was made a member of its board of regents. A Jewish student even gave a commencement address, composed by Seixas, in Hebrew. In the 20th century, Columbia attracted numerous Jews with the relaxation of quotas, and was the first secular university to create a chair in Jewish history. Barnard College, Columbia’s all-women’s school, was itself founded by a Jewish woman, and today has a large number of Orthodox Jewish students.