Jew hate in all its forms is rearing its ugly head in alarmingly high numbers.
Just yesterday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released its 2022 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, which reported a dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents of all kinds, including vandalism and harassment, conspiracy theories, bomb threats, and assaults (especially on Orthodox Jews). Massachusetts has seen a 41% increase from 2021–2022, as we have witnessed firsthand in our own community — including the horrors of synagogue arson, the stabbing of Rabbi Shlomo Noginski, the Mapping Project, and more.
As I read the ADL report, themes of Passover kept coming to mind.
In less than two weeks, Jewish families around the world will gather for their own versions of the Passover Seder, a tradition that began thousands of years ago when the Israelites first left Egypt. Remembering the journey from slavery to freedom reminds us not to take for granted how far we have come and the ways we have experienced and continue to experience physical, mental, and spiritual liberation.
In addition to celebrating our freedom, we also read or sing as part of our Passover Seder: B’chol dor v’dor omdim aleinu l’chaloteinu — in each and every generation there are those dedicated to our destruction. The ADL report reconfirms that the battle against hate is not a thing of the past, but rather a continual calling — on ourselves and our allies — to fight bigotry and hate against Jews and in all forms.
As part of our 5-point plan to combat Jew hate, CJP will continue to call attention to individuals’ stories, and we invite community members to share their experiences with us. We are grateful to those who have shared already — their responses underscore the necessity and importance of this vital work.
We tell these stories and report these incidents not to reinforce a narrative of Jewish victimhood, but rather as a form of vigilance and resistance. The ADL report is meant to be, in its own words, a call to action, not a source of fear. In this same spirit, we are proud to work closely with The Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS), which will be launching an important new campaign on NBC’s The Voice on Monday, March 27, at 8:00 p.m. ET, including a simple way for you to #StandUpToJewishHate on social media.
This Passover season, let’s continue to tell stories of the past and present, even as we write the chapters of our future. Our stories connect us to one another as well as to our history and heritage. They also bear witness to lived experiences, including wondrous moments of liberation and inspiration as well as challenges and threats that we must face and overcome. Both are meant to awaken and empower us with the resilience and confidence that come from knowing we have faced this and triumphed over it before, and we are in this together. Freedom is not a static state, but rather a process of continually emerging from oppression, confinement, and limitations — whether imposed on us from without or within.
B’chol dor v’dor omdim aleinu l’chaloteinu. It is an unfortunate reality, but we will, indeed, overcome again.
Shabbat Shalom and wishing you an early Chag Kasher v’Sameach (Happy Passover),
Rabbi Marc Baker