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		                                    Addressing Antisemitism		                                </span>

By now we are all aware that there has been an alarming rise over recent years of acts of antisemitism. Just a few months ago, reports surfaced of swastikas being drawn on bathroom walls in schools and of zoom bombing services and educational programs sponsored by synagogues and Jewish institutions, to say nothing of the increase in antisemitic statements made face-to-face or through social media and other online forums. Add to this list more subtle acts that, candidly, some of us think may be antisemitic but are not certain, and the use of the word “alarming” seems hardly sufficient.

Temple Sinai has long celebrated our relationship with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC), two organizations that are uniquely positioned in the community to document and respond to antisemitism. We’ve held forums, had guest speakers, trained our students in response strategy, and more. We are proud of the resources supplied by both the ADL and the AJC and they have indeed been rather helpful.

Temple Sinai recently established a more strategic approach to antisemitism that includes education, advocacy, and ritual recognition. Our slate of events includes:

  • Daffodil Project: We will hold the planting on November 13 (location TBD) and it will include HUB and Confirmation (7th-10th graders). 
  • Yahrzeit Candle Distribution on November 6. The idea is to distribute 24-hour yahrzeit candles to each Noar family along with a prayer to recite, a book of matches, the ADL “report antisemitism” instructions and a one-pager with grade-appropriate paragraphs to read around the lighting. 
  • December Noar program: Shine a light on antisemitism
  • January 20: Brendan Murphy to speak at Sinai during Shabbat services.
  • Antisemitism sheet: This is the one-pager (or 2 pager) that will address briefly how Sinai is presently addressing antisemitism with our youth and teens.
  • February AJFF film: The idea here is to potentially earmark the “Sinai night at the AJFF” as a film dealing with antisemitism. 
  • April Yom Hashoah Observance: The goal is to have some commemoration of the observance of Yom HaShoah that does not conflict with the community observance on April 17.
  • Tour of the Kennesaw Holocaust Museum
  • Advocacy

To learn more about how you can address antisemitism, email Rabbi Brad Levenberg.

Temple Sinai, along with over a hundred other synagogues throughout the country, has been accepted into the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) synagogue engagement program Kulanu. Kulanu (a Hebrew word meaning “all of us”) is a year-long synagogue initiative focused on combating antisemitism through education, advocacy, and communal engagement.

The belief is that our participation will enhance our congregational abilities to address antisemitism. Sinai leads LaWana Streger and Emily Webb, supported by Sinai’s Vice President of Community Steve Pepper, have expressed excitement about the opportunities our involvement will provide. We will have access to programming, webinars, and briefings from experts in the field. We will also be linked to other metro-Atlanta participants to share best practices, as well as those participating nationally in this expansive partnership. As Steve shared regarding our involvement, “Our congregants are always asking, ‘what are we doing’ and ‘what can I do’ with respect to antisemitism, and this would be a good step.”

Wed, October 4 2023 19 Tishrei 5784