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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 10, 2020 - Volume 48 Issue 02
Puget Sound Jewish leaders, state, and local officials call for action to address the troubling rise in antisemitism
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Puget Sound Jewish leaders, state, and local officials call for action to address the troubling rise in antisemitism

SEATTLE (January 6, 2020) - Over 60 Puget Sound-area Jewish leaders and state and local officials are calling for unity and action to address the troubling rise in antisemitism both in Washington state and across the country. The group signed a letter resolving to unite against the troubling rise in antisemitism and urging all people to stand together and speak out to turn back the spreading tide of hatred. A copy of the letter is available [at https://www.jewishinseattle.org/community-services/advocacy/antisemitism/how-do-we-react-in-the-face-of-hate/].

The recent horrific attack at a rabbi's home in Monsey, NY, is just the latest in a series of troubling violent attacks against the Jewish community across the US. Earlier in December, three people died at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, NJ, as a result of antisemitic violence. Synagogues and other community organizations in Washington state have also been targeted with antisemitic rhetoric and vandalism in the past year. Washington has the fourth highest number of hate crimes nationwide, according to FBI data.

"While antisemitism is always present, the recent increase is bringing back echoes of some of the worst moments in Jewish history. We must hear more than words of compassion. Our local, state, and federal leaders must actively combat the rise of hate groups wherever they gather and whomever they target. Inaction is acceptance of what must be clearly condemned," said Rabbi Will Berkovitz, CEO of Jewish Family Service of Seattle.

"As the letter declares, we must redouble our education and advocacy within the Jewish community and ally with communities experiencing similar threats in the current climate. We must show up for each other, now, and act together, now, to ensure our security and protect our freedoms," said Miri Cypers, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, Pacific Northwest.

"The growing antisemitic attacks are horrifying and deeply troubling. As long as I am governor, I will continue working to make Washington a place where people of all faiths are safe, protected, and honored," Gov. Jay Inslee said. "All of us must continue to push back against hatred and fear, and we stand with the Jewish community."

"Across our country, we're continuing to see horrific, antisemitic attacks on the Jewish community. No one should be afraid to celebrate, attend a service, or thrive in our country because of their religious identity. There is no place for this kind of hate in America. We must continue to speak out against hate-based violence and protect the rights and dignities of our communities," said Jenny A. Durkan, mayor of Seattle.

Over 60 Jewish community leaders and elected officials in Washington State signed the letter in a matter of hours. The letter was written collaboratively by:

" Miri Cypers, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, Pacific Northwest

" Dee Simon, Baral Family executive director of the Holocaust Center for Humanity

" Rabbi Will Berkovitz, CEO of Jewish Family Service

" Nancy B. Greer, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle

" Rabbi Daniel A. Weiner, Temple De Hirsch Sinai

"That so many leaders from across our community and so many of our elected leaders signed the letter so quickly is a heartening show of solidarity and a shared determination to fight antisemitism and intolerance," Nancy Greer said.

The letter to the community included a list of resources for education and action that individuals and communities can take to meet the challenge of combating antisemitism. The list can be found [at https://www.jewishinseattle.org/community-services/advocacy/antisemitism/how-do-we-react-in-the-face-of-hate/#resources].

"Today, the universal values that are the foundation of America's democracy are under threat. Antisemitism and bigotry of all types do not just threaten the targets of hate but threaten people of all backgrounds and faiths. There is no room for indifference and no security in passivity. We must overcome the complacency of bystanding with the courage of upstanding," Rabbi Weiner said.

"Take action. Raise your voice. In this new year, we must work together to turn back the darkness of hatred and turn up the light of justice." Dee Simon said.



Courtesy of the ADL

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