01 March 2017
“When the world is divided, let us do the opposite thing and show that we are united.” – Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
In the wake of anti-Semitic acts across the nation – as recently as this week in our community – we must remain alert, aware and vigilant. We will not permit hateful voices to intimidate or prevent us from accessing and enjoying our community’s institutions. We will stand together strong in the face of hate, which will strengthen our bond of unity, We also call upon local and national political leaders to join us in denouncing acts of hatred against all faith communities.
The safety of our community remains, as always, a priority for The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. That is why we provide significant financial support for security and proudly stand with our local institutions as they work diligently to ensure the safety and security of community members. Our Security Director consults with all local Jewish institutions. In partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, we have worked for years to successfully secure significant Homeland Security grants for security upgrades for agencies and synagogues, maintain close relationships with area law enforcement officials and organize security seminars.
In the wake of our tormentors’ intentions, there are signs of hope. Friends and neighbors from Christian and Muslim communities locally and around the nation have extended their support and solidarity to us, including through this note from Columbus, Ohio: “We heard about the threat at your JCC, and we wanted you to know that you have allies all across this country. We stand with you, in love.”
It is in messages of solidarity like these, expressed by those who do not share our religious beliefs but who do share our belief in peace and security, that we take solace. And we must remember that even in challenging times, we stand strong – and stand together – for there is tremendous work to be done.
We hope you will continue to join with us to live our Jewish values, stand up to that which may frighten us and continue to focus on the meaningful – and most important – work of caring for those in our community who need us most.
Steven A. Rakitt