December 6, 2022

As you may know, last week, I wrote an Op-ed on antisemitism. I was delighted that not only was it picked up by a few local media outlets, but many of you also shared with me how much you appreciated and liked it. My goal for writing the piece was to provide a local perspective on how this issue is impacting our community and ways that those who are not the target of this hatred can help. And more specifically, how much more power they have to confront any antisemitism they hear or are exposed to. If you have not read the Op-ed, please click here to read it in either Pasadena Now or the Claremont-Courier. And for those who have already read it, I hope you have shared it on your social media and social network. I hope we can get this piece seen by as many people as possible and that you can play a significant role in making it happen.


If you are like me, your attention has remained on the coverage of the antisemitic incidents that occurred this past couple of weeks. From the dinner, former President Trump had with Ye (formerly Kanye West) and Nick Fuentes to Ye’s appearance and antisemitic diatribe on InfoWars, as well as his Twitter account getting suspended due to his latest tweets, antisemitism has remained in the public domain for quite a while now. Thankfully these incidents have been met with more and more public outcry. So, although an article on Kveller this week asked its readers Anyone Else Experiencing Antisemitism Fatigue, while tired of seeing more and more incidents, I feel we cannot stop fighting it.


I share this perspective following an incredible opportunity I was invited to participate. That opportunity was made possible because a group of students raised their concern about the antisemitism they were seeing around school and society with their school’s administration. This is an example of what each of us can do to stand up and say that what we are seeing in society is wrong and that we need to do something about it.


Earlier today, Rabbi Joshua Levine-Grater and I were invited to speak at a special assembly to discuss the rise and prevalence of antisemitism in society today for Polytechnic School’s 400-plus high school students and faculty. Getting to talk with that many people all at once about what it is like to be the target of so much hatred directed at us and how it is impacting the Jewish community was powerfully moving and hopefully impactful to those in attendance. 


Do I believe that each person who heard us speak today will actually change their behavior based on what we had to say? Of course not. However, I do believe that many did listen to the information we shared. And hopefully, when they see or hear any form of hatred, they will be more willing to let people know that they are personally offended by hateful comments or actions. 


Each of us needs to do our part – forwarding an Op-ed and encouraging people to read it, organizing a talk to educate people or any other options. We must do what we can to help eradicate this horrible situation we find ourselves in today. Remember, it was Rabbi Tarfon who teaches us, in Pirkei Avot (a section of the Talmud), that “It is not our responsibility to finish the work, but neither are we free to desist from it.” 


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