Determined in the Wake of Celebrity Antisemitism

The mainstream celebrities joining a recent chorus of slurs against Jews have glorified infamous anti-Semites and genocidal mass murderers. This groundswell, and the fact that one of the celebrities is Jewish (making her tropes all the more offensive), points -- once again -- to the need for education, community relations, advocacy, and security.   
We consciously choose not to mention the celebrities' names, so as not to further promote them or their misinformed messages. 
Let us simply say these messages, and their messengers, make the world a more hateful and dangerous place. We urge them: Get an education.
Anti-Semitic incidents like this, and worse, occur daily around our area, our country, and our world. Sadly, one could make an entire career of talking about them, writing about them, ruminating on them.  
In terms of outcomes, Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey has learned actions are stronger than words. Community-wide leadership decided years ago, we would de-emphasize the making of statements in order to commit more of the time, political capital, and money at our disposal to taking actions pushing back on and protecting us from hate.  
We note the actions being taken in response to recent slurs: from taking down posts, apologies being made, and networks ending their affiliations with offending celebrities to, all importantly, plans for education – including with trips to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and perhaps even Auschwitz, when COVID-19 conditions permit.  
Are these actions enough? In our view, no. Are the apologies and plans to take educational trips genuine? Who knows?  Are they steps in the right direction? Yes. They are much-needed steps to be taken, then built upon.  
And what about us in the heart of NJ? What about you? What steps can we take? 
Federation’s local actions have included, and will continue to include:
  • building bridges of understanding and cooperation with peace-minded neighbors of all ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, and races; 
  • advocating with elected and other civic leaders to address anti-Semitism and hate in all forms with additional resources;
  • teaching Jews to stand up to hate;
  • increasing education for non-Jews to stem bias;
  • coordinating community-wide efforts and supporting individual organizations in bringing more than $5,000,000 in Homeland Security grants to dozens of Jewish organizations across Monmouth and Greater Middlesex – and more.  
Please be a part of it. 
You can support Federation community relations and security initiatives by volunteering for a committee, making a donation, or working with us on social media to advance any of these efforts:
  • Ongoing communication with representatives from national Jewish organizations, local law enforcement, civic, elected, and religious leaders – to ensure the needs of this Jewish community are understood and addressed
    • We have thwarted local anti-Semitic threats in our community because of this cooperation
    • We have made our officials aware when local incidents should be treated as a bias incident (in cases where they were not)
    • We have advocated for additional government funding and programs addressing anti-Semitism both proactively and responsively, and we are an active member of bias advisory councils at the state level 
  • Coaching for Jewish communal leaders on several aspects of handling hate
    • How to advocate against hate and bias with civic leaders
    • How to properly report anti-Semitic incidents, which is key to understanding the scope and complexion of the issue and empowers the Jewish community to effectively advocate for its needs with elected, civic, and law enforcement leaders
    • Facilitating and providing high-level professional security training for Jewish communal institutions to protect their people and property from attack  
  • Education, education, education
    • Teaching students, from middle school to college, to stand up to hate and embrace tolerance – both Jewish students in communal settings and public-school students of all faiths and backgrounds
    • Educating elected leaders and law enforcement to recognize and handle bias incidents
  • Advocating successfully in Trenton and Washington, resulting in the passage of the Never Again Education Act expanding Holocaust education in public and private schools and doubling of security funding for Jewish and other non-public schools, and much more.  
Begin by putting yourself on our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) email list. Be among the first to learn of important community efforts to address hate.
In the meantime, we welcome the opportunity to talk with you about Federation initiatives addressing anti-Semitism and the security threats it brings, as well as the ways we are focusing locally on supporting vulnerable populations and empowering young people to strengthen the Jewish future.  
Contact Dan Rozett, Federation’s Manager of Community and Israel Engagement, for more informatino about the JCRC and thank you for staying connected. Please know how much your continued interest and support mean to Federation as we work to keep Jewish life strong and safe for all.
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