The JCC’s Bulletin dates back to the 1930s, when it was a premier source of news for the local Jewish community. We are proud to continue this tradition of keeping our JCC community informed via our virtual Bulletin.
The bulletin circa 1974
Over the past few weeks, we have been shocked and saddened by the news of anti-Semitism in our community. We know that Jews are the most common victim of hate crimes, with anti-Semitic hate crimes accounting for more than half of all religious bias crimes.
Recently, just over the bridge in Brooklyn, a young College of Staten Island Hillel student was beaten up for wearing an Israel Defense Forces hoodie. Over the weekend, the news out of Colleysville, Texas horrified our nation. We are grateful that the hostages were released, but every incident like this continues to shake the Jewish community.
In response to these anti-Semitic acts, we are taking additional precautions to ensure the safety of our members, participants, and staff. We are following our security protocols, which include working with NYPD, UJA, and JCRC’s Community Security Initiative, which connects us to many law enforcement agencies. We are also grateful for COJO’s effort to mobilize NYPD to places of worship.
Earlier this week, I attended a gathering of elected officials, clergy, and community leaders to push back on the anti-Semitism and hatred we have seen locally and nationally. It was fitting that we came together on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to talk about the importance of tolerance and understanding each other.
At the JCC, we are open and welcoming to people of all walks of life. At the core of our mission are the Jewish values of caring for our neighbors and Tikkun Olam—repairing the world. We believe in unity and inclusion, and we condemn hate and bigotry of any kind. It was heartening to see this message echoed by our community and elected leaders on Monday.
Sadly, this was not the first time we have joined together as a community to deliver this message, and it will likely it will not be the last. We are fortunate that the Staten Island community is not willing to be silent on this issue. Every time we see anti-Semitism and bigotry, we will be loud in voicing that it is not acceptable.
We continue to work with organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee to educate our community on these issues. We are also beginning to work on a new initiative called PATH, in partnership with JCRC, to help combat anti-Semitism and hate crimes. We look forward to sharing more about this in the near future.
I am grateful to our local leaders for confronting the issue of anti-Semitism head on and encourage everyone to join us as we stand up against hate in our borough.
-Orit Lender, CEO
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