Antisemitism and Hate Crimes

Description

In 2018, a gunman entered the Tree of Life Synagogue on Shabbat, shouting his desire to kill Jews and killed 11 people in the deadliest attack on Jews in American history. This tragic day was followed by attacks in other cities. These acts of violence do not exist in a vacuum. Hate is on the rise towards so many marginalized communities, exemplified by the anti-immigrant 2019 attack in El Paso. According to the FBI Hate Crimes Statistics (required under the 1990 Hate Crimes Statistics Act), violent hate crimes are increasing.

Most nationwide surveys released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) over the past 25 years consistently indicate between 11 and 14 percent of Americans harbor antisemitic views. As the Holocaust falls further from recent memory, hate remains. American millennials lack knowledge of the Holocaust and Across the globe, 1.09 billion people hold antisemitic attitudes and 35 percent of people have never heard of the Holocaust.

Why Should Jews Care?

In the Holiness Code, in Leviticus, we are commanded both that "You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart. Reprove your kinsman but incur no guilt because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. Love your fellow as yourself" (Leviticus 19:17-18) and that "You may not stand idly by when your neighbor's blood is being shed? (Leviticus 19:16).

We are also taught, in the very beginning of the Torah, that "God created man in God's own image, in the image of God (b'tzelem Elohimb'tzelem Elohimבְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִיםLiterally "in the image of God;" the concept—from Genesis 1:27: “God created humankind in God’s image”—that because all humanity is created in the image of God, each person is equally valued.  ) God created him; male and female God created them" (Genesis 1:27). Judaism consistently teaches the importance of tolerance and the acceptance of others, even those different from ourselves. Even more than simply preaching tolerance, we must actively work to improve, open, and make safer our communities.

Take Action

Pray Safe Act

Across the United States, houses of worship and other religious institutions face an alarming level of violence. Religious institutions must be able to access the necessary resources to ensure their institutions remain safe and welcoming to all. Urge your members of Congress to support the bipartisan Pray Safe Act to establish a federal clearinghouse through which faith-based organizations and houses of worship can access safety resources.

Related Issues

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Stop Hate

Hate Crimes

While hate crime laws cannot eliminate bigotry, legislation serves as a deterrent to those individuals who choose to act on their hatred by imposing stricter penalties against the perpetrators of these crimes.

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Modern Day Issues in Antisemitism

Antisemitism is on the rise in North America and around the world, showcased in the annual ADL’s Audit of Anti-Semitic Acts. Violent attacks on Jewish institutions and Jews are also increasing.

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Standing With our Muslim Family

Bias and violence against the Muslim community is a growing, insidious issue in the United States. The number of assaults against Muslims in 2016 surpassed the modern peak reached in 2001, following the September 11th terrorist attacks, and incidents of anti-Muslim intimidation continue to rise, as well.

What's New

Hate Crimes Continued to Rise in 2020: Will the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Give Us Hope for the Future?

October 15, 2021
In late August, the FBI released its annual compilation of hate crimes statistics, summarizing all hate crimes reported to the FBI in 2020. The data is alarming and only tells part of the story, as an increasing number of law enforcement agencies did not report data to the FBI. A new law will strengthen hate crimes data collection, reporting, and response measures, giving us hope that future statistics will be more accurate.

Responding to Antisemitic Incidents: A New Resource for URJ Communities

August 19, 2021
Amid an alarming rise in antisemitic rhetoric and violence, the Union for Reform Judaism has joined with the Anti-Defamation League, the world’s leading anti-hate organization, to develop “Responding to Antisemitic Incidents: New A Resource for URJ Communities,” a toolkit to assist congregational leaders in preparing for and responding to incidents of hate and antisemitism.

Related Press Releases

Union for Reform Judaism and ADL Launch Critical Partnership to Combat Antisemitism and Hate

Amid an alarming rise in antisemitic rhetoric and violence, the Union for Reform Judaism, which represents the largest and most diverse Jewish movement in North America, and ADL (Anti-Defamation League), the world’s leading anti-hate organization, will join together in a multifaceted partnership to provide Reform congregations with the tools needed to address antisemitism in their communities.

North American Jewish Groups Denounce Antisemitic Attacks in Wake of Hostilities Between Israel and Hamas

As North American Jewish denominations representing a significant majority of American Jewry, we join together to uniformly condemn rising incidences of antisemitism. We commend the many religious, civil society and political leaders of goodwill who have denounced these actions and are urging and implementing step to strengthen efforts to combat antisemitism and antisemitic attacks.

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Reform Judaism's Resolutions on Anti-Semitism and Hate Crimes

Learn more about the position of the Reform Movement on these key issues, and read the formal resolutions by URJ and CCAR.

View URJ Resolutions View Resolutions From Our Partners

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learning books

Engage Your Congregation

Please read these two memos on congregational security to enhance your synagogue’s security measures:

The Movement Advancement Project provides a comprehensive overview of hate crime laws and examines the need for approaches that support, rather than criminalize, communities targeted by hatred. Review the report to learn more about your state's hate crime laws.