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This morning, the meeting I was in at the synagogue I work at in Dallas was interrupted by one of the rabbis on the clergy team. â€śIâ€™m sorry I need to miss the meeting. Thereâ€™s been a bomb threat at the JCC. Last week, 17 JCCs in cities around the country received threats. Today, seven more received them, including the one in Dallas. Weâ€™re meeting to determine our response and next steps. There will be a staff meeting in 15 minutes. Unfortunately, this is the world we now live in.â€ť
Yes, unfortunately, this is the situation in which we live. I called my husband after the staff meeting at which we were briefed on the threat and security protocols for our building were reviewed. I shared what I knew.
â€śHateful cowards!â€ť he responded. After we had spoken, I went back to my office to try to return to my â€śto doâ€ť list. But my thoughts kept returning to the state of our union.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there were 867 cases of reported hateful harassment and intimidation in the 10 days after the November election, including in schools, business and on the street. The post-election incidents followed a year in which the FBI reported a 67 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslim Americans, and similar crimes against Jews, African Americans and LGBT individuals also increased. Overall, reported hate crimes spiked 6 percent. Since many incidents go unreported, the actual number was probably higher. As a Jew and a member of an interfaith family, it is my responsibility to demand and work toward inclusivity in the Jewish community and in this country.
Our country has been through dark periods before with leaders who refused to speak up and stand up for those suffering injustice and experiencing violence. We know the consequences of hate both on our soil and abroad. So why are our leaders and fellow Americans not doing more to stop this alarming trend of hateful harassment, intimidation and episodes of anti-Semitic, racist and xenophobic behavior? And, what will it take for our leaders and communities to say, â€śEnoughâ€ť?
When will those who #ChooseLove speak louder than those who hate?
ByÂ Sam Goodman
We are sitting in the aftermath of a riveting, polarizing election. It has been all too easy to lose sight of the common humanity of those with whom we disagree. Recently, Anne posted a link to one of her Wedding Blog posts that has become relevant once again. However, Iâ€™d like to focus on a different aspect of this, because it is no longer just about Anne and me- now it is about Jack.
The children of interfaith relationships have an enormous advantage in todayâ€™s world. They are exposed to two people who hold differing religious views while still loving each other. That exposure will hopefully result in our children recognizing that the people with whom we agree may not have all the answers, and that those with whom we disagree have valid and valuable viewpoints.
How do we pass the values of respect and acceptance on to our children? Half of that challenge requires regular demonstrations of love â€“ hugs, verbal declarations, and the like, between the parents themselves, and between the parents and the children. The other half, no less important, requires respectful discussion of points of disagreement. We shouldnâ€™t disregard the differences in our faiths; rather, we should openly communicate as to why we disagree, and what we see differently, and most importantly that we still love each other in-spite of these differences. By combining these messages, we communicate that conflict can be healthy only through respecting people who hold different worldviews from you.
The past few years have seen a dangerous rise of hatred, pointing fingers, name calling, and evil. Many people are constructing ever-thicker social bubbles and shutting out those with whom they disagree. We, as interfaith parents, are in a prime position to raise our children that will reverse these trends. This gives me enormous hope for our future generation.