This past Sunday, the Jewish Federation held its 28th Annual Meeting. During the event, we not only awarded two scholarships and celebrated our 2022 Volunteer of the Year (Joanne Karr), but we also had the opportunity to hear from Josh Rawitch (President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum) and Peter Dreier (Professor, Author, and Baseball enthusiast) discuss the special connection Jews have with baseball.
Mixed with some anecdotes and insights, both Rawitch and Dreier shared different stories about the special bond Jewish baseball players have had with one another since, as was pointed out, there have not been that many of them to make the major leagues. What I found fascinating was how similar it has felt to me knowing that someone else is Jewish and that initial bond we both feel when we find out.
I bring this up in this week’s column to remind all of us of the power of connecting, or more explicitly, feeling connected to others. During times of crisis or difficulty, knowing that someone else understands or “gets” what you are going through makes the situation feel a bit more manageable. Think back to the start of COVID and remember how nice it felt seeing the compassion and caring people were showing, whether it was seeing a sidewalk chalked rainbow or teddy bears in the window you may have passed walking around your neighborhood. While it may not be exclusive to only Jews, this connection we feel is powerful.
The other reason I am bringing this up now is the antisemitism we continue to see, including the ongoing antisemitic flyering being found throughout our community. We sometimes feel isolated and alone when something happens to us personally, like finding the latest round of flyers that hit Claremont and Upland over the weekend. Unfortunately, as I have previously shared, as despicable and appalling as these instances have been, no crime, except possibly littering, has been committed. This is because Jewish homes and businesses are not the targets - these flyers are being flung on random people’s driveways. From what I have heard, and feel comforted in knowing, is that in each instance, people are contacting local law enforcement and their elected officials to report.
By making decision-makers aware of each instance of this targeted hatred, we are forcing discussions about how they need to respond within their respective jurisdictions. And in the next few weeks, as I have previously shared, the Jewish Federation will be launching a coordinated campaign to advocate on behalf of our community that local elected officials need to take action against this targeted attack. If you are interested in supporting this effort, please let us know by calling (626.445.0810) or emailing the Jewish Federation (email@example.com).
Now is the time to feel and appreciate the power of community and connection. This is what the Jewish Federation tries to deliver each day through everything we do.
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