Antisemitism and Hate Crimes
As antisemitic incidents increase, the Union for Reform Judaism and Religious Action Center continue to work for the safety and security of our communities. We have joined with the Anti-Defamation League, the world’s leading anti-hate organization, in the creation of a multi-faceted partnership.
-Download “Responding to Antisemitic Incidents: A Resource for URJ Communities," a toolkit for both congregations and individuals to effectively respond to acts of antisemitism and hate in their communities.
-Read Rabbi Josh Weinberg's "How to Respond to Antisemitic or Anti-Israel Posts Online" published October 2023. We have seen several deeply troubling posts on social media that are antisemitic, anti-Israel, and/or contain misinformation or disinformation. While this is not a complete guide, we hope it will help guide you in responding.
-Report incidents of antisemitism, extremism, bias, bigotry or hate. Incidents reported through this form will be reviewed by the URJ and ADL, and both organizations may follow up when appropriate to provide assistance.
-Explore Prayers for Strength and Healing.
-Learn if your state requires Holocaust and genocide education. Research suggests a direct relationship between deficiencies in Holocaust education and heightened prejudicial, antisemitic beliefs.
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 () 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Related Press Releases
Over 100 Jewish Organizations Join the Union for Reform Judaism to Demand Elon Musk Address Hate Speech on Twitter
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For Your Congregation
Please read these two memos on congregational security to enhance your synagogue’s security measures:
- 2018 Memo to congregations and rabbis on the acceptance of governmental security grants
- 2004 Memo to Rabbis, Presidents, and Temple Administrators on Homeland Security Department Funding of Synagogue Security
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.
What Our Partners Are Doing
- Anti-Defamation League
- American Jewish Committee
- Matthew Shepard Foundation
- Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law
- Human Rights Campaign
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- The Sikh Coalition
- Hindu American Foundation
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- People for the American Way
- U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum