03 November 2023
I write at a challenging time for the American Jewish community. As we collectively confront simultaneous challenges in Jewish Greater Washington and abroad, the safety and place of Jews within the American landscape seems more at play than at any point in my lifetime.
With threats on college campuses, on social media, and on the street, American Jews are worried about their future and their long-term safety. This concern, however, is not one of resignation but rather indignation. There is deep frustration and anger that certain segments of American society can openly threaten another with so few repercussions.
During a recent gathering in NY, Dr. Mijal Bitton, a Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, eloquently and forcefully expressed this indignation and offered a rallying cry for the Jewish people, Israel, and our allies, as well as a reminder of our history and heritage as a people of courage in the face of hate and destruction. Her remarks resonated with me in this moment:
“We are the children of Jewish history. We are the children who know that in every generation, they rise up against us to try and destroy us. We are the children of a new time in Jewish history. We will not be silent. We will not be afraid. We will not abandon Israel in its hour of need.”
As Dr. Bitton’s words remind us, we have faced threats to our safety and, indeed, our very way of life, for thousands of years. Today, just as in generations past, we cannot and will not allow antisemites or those seeking to harm the American Jewish community or Israel to define who we are and what we stand for. I have no doubt that our local Jewish community will continue to stand together, to engage proudly in vibrant Jewish life, and to care for one another. Hatred cannot and will not overwhelm who we are as a Jewish people.
Thank you for continuing to show strength and resolve, and for all you do to uplift and empower one another, this community, this country, and Israel. I am proud and honored to be part of this incredible community.
CEO, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington