January 19, 2024
By Solly Kane
President & CEO
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to “show up” lately. Since October 7, so many of us in the Jewish community have felt like longtime partners and allies have failed to “show up” for us when we needed them, first, after the attack on Israel by Hamas, and then as we have experienced unprecedented levels of antisemitism.
The ADL recently released new data about skyrocketing antisemitism in the United States—3,291 incidents in the three months since October 7. That’s a shocking 361 percent increase over the same period last year. Of that total, at least 500 were on college campuses and 256 incidents were in K-12 schools. These numbers, of course, only reflect incidents that were reported, meaning they are likely just a fraction of the many instances of antisemitism our Jewish community has experienced.
While these statistics about antisemitism are terrifying and heartbreaking, I also saw our Jewish community show up for each other this week as the Washington State Senate considered an important piece of legislation that will ensure every student in Washington State graduates with knowledge about the Holocaust and the historic and current implications of genocide for our world. Education about the Holocaust and other genocides is one way that we can combat antisemitism and hate against all peoples. This legislation adds a requirement for education and provides resources for educators.
Your Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is leading the communal advocacy for this bill in partnership with the Holocaust Center for Humanity (HCH). The JCRC and HCH leadership testified at the Senate committee hearing on Wednesday. What impressed me most was that nearly 1,000 members of our community showed up by responding to an urgent action alert from the JCRC and HCH the day before the bill’s hearing by signing in online to support the legislation.
It’s more critical than ever that we continue to show up for each other. Here are three ways you can do that in the coming weeks:
The Washington House of Representatives will consider a companion bill to the Senate Holocaust education bill. Once again, we need our community to sign in to support the bill! Where the sign-in form says “position,” sign in PRO here by Tuesday, January 23, at 3 pm. It takes just a couple minutes to do from the comfort of your home.
Join us at Jewish Community Lobby Day on Thursday, February 15 in Olympia for the chance to advocate for safety and security grants for Jewish communal institutions, legislation to combat antisemitism and hate crimes, and funding to preserve our state’s Jewish history. Register here.
On Sunday, January 21, starting at 4 pm, there will be a panel discussion at Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle with families of Israeli hostages. This is an important opportunity to bear witness and hear directly from those affected by the attack on October 7. You can register here. I hope to see you there.
As we head into Shabbat, I encourage our community to keep showing up for each other—we need it now more than ever.