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10/28/2021 03:45:00 PM

Oct28

Rabbi Ari Lucas


Addressing Antisemitism

This week marks three years since the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh claimed the lives of 11 Shabbat morning regulars. Since that time, the landscape of antisemitism in America has gotten increasingly complex and concerning. I know it’s something that is on many of your hearts and minds. It's on mine too.

On Monday October 4, CAI hosted a roundtable discussion with Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) about contemporary issues related to antisemitism. At the meeting were representatives of the Anti Defamation League, Greater MetroWest Federation, the American Jewish Committee, as well as Orthodox and Reform rabbinic colleagues (I was honored to represent our synagogue and Conservative colleagues in the area). Each of us shared our concerns about antisemitism and our perspective on how she and the federal government can be helpful.

For my part, I offered Congresswoman Sherrill a blessing that she should continue to be a model of how a leader can be both progressive and unequivocal in opposing antisemitism. I praised her for her past and persistent support of Israel and for having the courage to stand up to some of the more extreme voices in Congress. I handed her a copy of Dara Horn’s new book, "People Love Dead Jewsand encouraged her to continue to learn more about the history of antisemitism in America and its present iterations.

But most importantly, I expressed to her that I wished we weren’t meeting about antisemitism at all. Instead, I would have preferred to have the opportunity to welcome her into our Jewish community and share more about Jewish life than Jewish fears and concerns. I wished she had come to our synagogue to see our ECC where children learn to be joyfully Jewish and proud of their heritage. I wished she could experience our Shabbat worship or attend an adult education class. Because the best way to combat antisemitism (or any hatred for that matter) is with love and relationships. I expressed to Congresswoman Sherrill that I hope this was not her last visit to CAI.

I’m proud that our synagogue could host this gathering and grateful that the Congresswoman took time to focus on these issues that I know are on the minds of many of you. If you have a moment, you might consider sending her a note of thanks for her interest in our community and our concerns.

February 27,2024 /  18 Adar I 5784