Anti-Semitism remains a problem, but there are solutions

Matt Goldberg

Anti-Semitism is on the rise. This is no secret.
The Anti-Defamation League has reported an 86-percent spike in incidents for the first three months of 2017 alone. They include everything from swastikas drawn on school desks to physical violence and threats against Jewish institutions.
This all culminated in a violent march in Charlottesville, Virginia, which saw the largest gathering of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and KKK members in recent memory. Part of the rally took place during Shabbat. Members of Congregation Beth Israel were forced to leave by a back door, and their Torah scrolls were hidden for fear of an attack on the synagogue.
This happened in the United States … in 2017!
What happened at this rally was violent and vile, and we mourn the loss of Heather Heyer, murdered for having the audacity to stand up against hatred and bigotry.
There have not been many anti-Semitic incidents in greater Louisville, but they do happen here.
Recently, I have dealt with swastika graffiti, general negative comments about Jews from other students, and praise for Hitler from a student in a classroom. I have dealt with more incidents in the last few months than in the previous five years.
Parents sometimes ask me what schools can do about anti-Semitism, but each incident is different.
One important development came out of a recent incident at North Oldham High School. After a swastika was found drawn on a car in the parking lot, the school administration notified all parents, telling them there was no tolerance for something like this. Student leaders felt empowered to turn the issue into a teachable moment. (I have been in touch with the principal and have offered the full support and resources of the JCRC).
So there are solutions to anti-Semitism, however small.
People of good will are the clear majority in this country, and our demonstrated display of intolerance for intolerance is an effective and proper response to all forms of hatred.

(Matt Goldberg is president of the Jewish Community Relations Council.)

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