What We Do Now: A Message on Antisemitism

What We Do Now: A Message on Antisemitism

Yesterday, overt antisemitism touched our community once again. As children waited for their school bus in Bethesda, they faced horrifying messages threatening our community. Simultaneously, residents in DC’s Kalorama neighborhood received antisemitic flyers on their doorsteps. 

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington condemns these hateful threats, symbols, and attacks against our local community and Jewish people everywhere.  

It is no coincidence that this vitriol comes on the heels of antisemitic statements by people in positions of power. When leaders and celebrities use their immense followings (oftentimes larger than the Jewish community itself) to traffic in hateful tropes, it is not simply off-putting — it is dangerous. This baseless venom begets violence. 

Many in Greater Washington, from all backgrounds, are feeling anxious and angry. In times like this, our natural inclination as a Jewish community may be to turn inward, but we also know that the vast majority of Americans, and of those in Greater Washington, abhor these hateful actions. And so I urge you — as individuals and as a collective, resilient community — to channel that anger into action.

Federation and our partners, including the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) Secure Community Network (SCN), and ADL, are wholeheartedly committed to the safety and security of Greater Washington’s Jewish community. When yesterday’s graffiti and flyers were discovered, our security team was in immediate contact with law enforcement, ensuring that there was no physical threat to our community members. We do this work every day to keep our community safe. 

In the years since Federation first brought SCN to our community, we have strengthened security protocols and safety measures across the region, including at synagogues, day schools, and community centers. In the last year alone, we have delivered over $1M in security services across our Jewish community and supported 58 agencies in accessing federal funding for physical security enhancements. And through our partnership with Jewish Federations of North America, we are leading our community’s LiveSecure effort: an unprecedented national fundraising campaign and initiative to ensure the security and resiliency of our communities today and into the future.  

At the same time, Federation and our Jewish Community Foundation are in regular conversation with our partners at JCRC, ADL, local synagogues, and institutions and leaders within and beyond the Jewish community on ways we can work together to combat hatred and continue to secure our community in perpetuity. 

While these antisemitic, hateful threats are disturbing, we will not stop living our lives as proud Jewish community members.  

As we remain vigilant, let us commit to continuing our conversations with our allies against hate across Greater Washington and beyond. We are grateful to those who continue to stand with our Jewish community, and to speak out in the face of this and all bigotry and hatred.  

Federation and our partners will not stop fighting for our community’s safety and security, and I know that you won’t either.

Gil Preuss
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

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