By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
We’ve seen the numbers showing a sharp increase in hatred directed at Jews. We’ve been shocked at the frightening images on the news and the vile postings on social media. We’ve been deeply saddened to hear friends and relatives say they are afraid to go out in public wearing a kippah or magen david.
The age-old scourge of antisemitism has reared its head again following the recent violence in the Middle East. The ugliness is taking place not only in faraway communities, but also here in Seattle, where we know all too well how thoughtless or incendiary rhetoric can spur disturbed people to perpetrate terrible acts.
The painful and frightening experience of antisemitism is widespread among Jews nationwide. The recently released Pew Research Center’s study shows that three-fourths of American Jews believe antisemitism in the U.S. has grown over the past five years. More than half feel less safe wearing distinctly Jewish items. One-third have reported hearing an antisemitic trope in their presence.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, in concert with other communal organizations, is here for our community, now and always. Federation’s SAFE Washington program is working non-stop to keep us safe and informed through robust communications, timely trainings, and preparedness resources. Our advocacy team is working closely with elected leaders to raise awareness of antisemitism and secure stronger commitments to fight against it. The Jewish Community Relations Council is working to foster greater understanding of antisemitism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within and beyond our diverse Jewish communities.
Antisemitism will never overcome an enduring source of our people’s strength: our resilience. We have our timeless value of kehilla/areivut, our collective responsibility to care for our community, in times of joy and in times of pain. We can lean on each other and look after each other.
With this, one thing is certain, above all else: The light of our Jewish people will always shine brightly.
Unified, we’ll get through this. Stay strong, be kind.