As 2019 comes to a close, I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on the past year. There were many wonderful things that happened during the past 12 months. Unfortunately, we were also faced with some challenges and tragedies.
The increase in recent years of anti-Semitism has been alarming. Even more concerning, the acts have become more physical in nature. Most recently, an attack took place at a Chanukah party in Monsey, NY. Five people were stabbed; two remain in critical condition. Less than three weeks prior, three people were killed in an attack on a Kosher grocery store in New Jersey.
This is just a small example of what the Jewish community has faced this past year. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 1,879 recorded acts of Anti-Semitism in the United States in 2018. I have no doubt that countless more unrecorded acts took place. Sadly, I am confident 2019’s numbers will be approximately the same, if not higher.
As we embark not only on a new year, but a new decade, I hope that this unfortunate trend of hate turns around. The Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton is working hard behind the scenes to be proactive. We have a Security Committee in place, with representatives from each of the local synagogues, where we share information regarding safety and funding opportunities. We are looking to expand the breadth of this committee in the coming year.
In addition, we have hired a full-time Jewish Communities Relations Council (JCRC) Director. Marcy L. Paul, PhD will join us in January. Marcy and I have already spent time discussing strategy and goals for the upcoming year. Our top priority is education and relationship building, as those have been proven best strategies to combat intolerance. I look forward to having Marcy on staff.
I wish you all a happy 2020 filled with good health and peace.