Professor Howard Lupovitch of Wayne State University

“An attack on any Jew is an attack on every Jew.” With these poignant words in his opening remarks, Professor Howard Lupovitch of Wayne State University’s Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies touched on a theme of unity and continuity that surfaced often at the Jewish Community Forum on Anti-Semitism held January 23 at Adat Shalom Synagogue.

Approximately 1,000 people attended the forum at Adat Shalom Synagogue.

Presented by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, the JCRC/AJC and the Anti-Defamation League’s Michigan chapter, the event was a chance for community members and allies to come together for information, insight and reassurance in response to a growing wave of anti-Semitic attacks in the United States. Approximately 1,000 people attended as local leaders, Rabbis and law enforcement professionals detailed their efforts to confront hate and address our community’s coinciding security concerns.

Carolyn Normandin, Regional Director of ADL Michigan

Carolyn Normandin, Regional Director of ADL Michigan said that community building among the varied minority groups in Metro Detroit, including the Muslim and African American communities, was necessary to help fight anti-Semitism and hate crimes in general. She also urged the audience to stand up for any incident, no matter who the intended target. Along the same lines, Rabbi Asher Lopatin of JCRC/AJC said, “We have to go outside the bubble and develop relationships. We need to connect with other communities to create lasting relationships.”

Rabbi Asher Lopatin, JCRC/AJC

When the program moved to a discussion of community protection, David Kurzmann Senior Director, Community and Donor Relations, at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, and event moderator, noted that Federation’s annual security budget in 2010 was $250,000 but has risen to $1.8 million today. “We cannot outspend this problem, but we can prepare as best as possible,” he said.

Kristen Hollenbeck, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

While Kristen Hollenbeck, Deputy Director for the Jewish Federation’s community-wide security team shared how their group offers training and continual monitoring of schools and other buildings across the area. “We are weekly going out to these agencies and institutions, helping them find better ways to secure their buildings,” she said.

Rabbi Azaryah Cohen, Frankel Jewish Academy

By the end of the event, one key takeaway was clear. Anti-Semitism isn’t new. It’s a 3,500-year-old problem that we won’t eliminate in our lifetime. We can do something, however: The most important response we can take is to continue living vibrant, active Jewish lives. To keep honoring our heritage and celebrating our Jewish identity—to enrich all our lives and keep us strong.

What’s next? As a follow-up, Federation shared the following resources so if you experience or witness acts of anti-Semitism you know where to turn:  

TO REPORT SECURITY CONCERNS

Contact JFMD Security
For immediate concerns related to Jewish communal schools, congregations and agencies, contact the Jewish Federation Community-Wide Security team at 248-833-2521 or email security@jfmd.org

TO REPORT INCIDENTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM

Contact ADL
To report incidents of anti-Semitism, bias, and discrimination through the ADL, visit https://www.adl.org/reportincident or call 248-353-7553.

*Anyone in immediate danger should contact 911 (or their local law enforcement entity).

TO LEARN MORE & GET INVOLVED

Resources from ADL:

Sign up for ADL’s monthly newsletter to keep up to date with the local work ADL is doing including updates from the Regional Director and education team, as well as work in advocacy, education, and investigation & research. Sign up here: https://www.adl.org/sign-up-to-receive-adl-email-newsletters

Ending bias and anti-Semitism starts with education. Reach out to ADL’s education team by clicking here (https://www.adl.org/plan-a-training) to learn more about bringing programs to your schools or religious institutions.

Visit adl.org for background documents on hate groups & symbols, resources for parents & teachers, reports and advocacy.

Resources from JCRC/AJC:

Click here to join JCRC/AJC’s email list (scroll to the bottom) or email alekman@jfmd.org.

Through important partnerships, JCRC/AJC coordinates programs throughout the year with our African American and Muslim neighbors. To get involved with JCRC/AJC’s Black/Jewish and Muslim/Jewish programming, email englender@jfmd.org.

Follow JCRC/AJC and the Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity on Facebook.

Translate Hate – A digital resource aimed at enabling people of all backgrounds to expose antisemitic tropes and take action against hate speech. It features an illustrated glossary of 25 terms and expressions, explains the antisemitic nature of words and phrases in certain contexts and their history. It also offers the tools and information needed to report hate speech.

AJC 2019 Survey of American Jews on Antisemitism in America

Resources from the Jewish Federation System:

The Secure Community Network (SCN) is part of the American Jewish community’s response to heightened security concerns in the United States. Sign up for updates here.

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