Acts of vandalism are raising awareness of antisemitism in NC

From WXII-12's Joshua Davis
December 21, 2022  

The Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Greensboro says resilience is a part of the Jewish experience, and hope is what allows people to keep going.

"When we light our Hanukkah candles, we do it to bring more light to the world," said Rabbi Andy Koren. "But we also remember that message of freedom."

The FBI hate crimes report was released last week. However the organization has admitted to the report is incomplete. It undercounts bigotry based attacks on Black, Jewish, Asian, and LGTBQ communities.

The reason for the undercount is believed to be the FBI's newly implemented procedure for police departments to report crimes with the national incident-based reporting system, or NIBRS, and many departments haven't yet started reporting to the program.

Rabbi Koren says there's still work to be done in addressing hate.

"I just need to remind those in our area that it was just a year ago that there were antisemitic leaflets that were distributed on driveways here in the Greensboro area," he said.

Rabbi Eliezer Sneiderman, the director of the Jewish Community Relations Council at the Greensboro Jewish Federation, believes recent antisemitic incidents are symptoms of current political conversation, and social media platforms allowing people to build followings based on hateful ideas.

"You're amplifying the message of antisemitism," he said. "And that's what, you know, people that hate... that's what they want. They want their message to be amplified."

Sneiderman says Jewish communities in the Triad aren't alone; they're supported by the people around them.

"When you have connections, then antisemitism and racism and these types of things just don't arise," he said. "Because you feel a connection to the people around you."

Koren says in light of recent events, he's reached out to other faith-based organizations in Greensboro. He says Temple Emanuel has received encouragement that they'll stand together against antisemitism.

"To get the statements from our neighbors, from our friends, and from people that we've worked closely with... from people that we've stood together with on so many other issues, has been something that's brought much more light to this community and to Jews in our entire area," he said.

Koren also says he still has hope.

"We as a people could have given up hope," he said. "It could have happened in Egypt, it could have happened in a number of other places. Yet we don't I think that not only do we have hope and faith in God, but we also have hope and faith in humanity."

Koren says a great way to be an ally is if you see something, to say something. He also says Temple Emanuel is grateful and thankful for so many people in Greensboro standing with them against hate.