Standing up to Antisemitism

Dear Shomrei Community,

This past Sunday night, I attended the holiday celebration in Nutley and instead of speaking about light and joy, I spoke about antisemitism.  There were 1,000 people gathered to light the Christmas tree, with a DJ and roasted chestnuts.  I was supposed to say a blessing for the Hanukkah menorah and keep it light, but my eyes were tearing up.  It felt urgent to explain how vulnerable Jews are feeling right now, right here in New Jersey, and to ask everyone there to BE THE LIGHT WE NEED TO SEE IN THE WORLD.

In my first three months as Shomrei’s Rabbi, there were antisemitic incidents in the public schools, a threat of violence against all NJ synagogues, and now graffiti on the playground where we gathered for tashlich on the first day of Rosh Hashanah.  We are about to celebrate Hanukkah, a holiday of light that celebrates religious freedom at one of the darkest times of the year.

My message to everyone in our community is we need to BE THE LIGHT.  We need to stand up to antisemitism and all forms of hate wherever we see it.  The response to swastikas on our playgrounds should be an uproar of NOT IN OUR TOWN, from every segment of our community, not just from the rabbis and synagogues.

This is weighing on our hearts and minds and now is the time to educate ourselves to recognize antisemitism and condemn it lest people think antisemitism or any form of hate is acceptable in Montclair or anywhere in our country.

Michael and I are calling a town hall meeting for the Shomrei community on Tuesday, December 13, 7-8pm in the social hall.  We invite you to come together as a community to talk about how we’re feeling and to discuss what we can do to educate ourselves and the Montclair community about rising antisemitism.  We hope you can join us.

All the best,
Rabbi Julie

Editorial Note: This message was originally sent in an email to the congregation on 12/6/2022.

image:  “fight antisemitism” by aestheticsofcrisis is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Rabbi Julie Roth
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One thought on “Standing up to Antisemitism

  1. I am happy that Rabbi Roth represented us at our Nutley event and spoke on such a relevant issue to those present. Jerilyn Margulies

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