Jew Hatred Has No Place in Cleveland

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Last Shabbat, six Jewish teenagers were attacked by someone with a paintball gun fired from a vehicle in the heart of Jewish Cleveland. Although a police investigation is underway and information is still being gathered, we may never know for certain whether this attack was motivated by antisemitic hatred of Jews or merely a random assault.

But it does not matter. It was an attack – plain and simple – and our teens could have been seriously injured. This particular attack against our community is disturbing because it comes at a time when we are seeing increased violence against Jews across our country. Some of it is driven by blatant, hate-fueled antisemitism – some comes under the loose cover of anti-Israel rhetoric. Regardless of the source:

There is never justification for antisemitism or antisemitic acts, in the same way that there is no justification for racism or bigotry of any kind.

Similarly, liking or disliking a person, politician or government action or policy is never a valid excuse for hating an entire people or group.

To that end, we call on our family, friends, partners and Greater Cleveland community to stand with us to make it clear that antisemitism/Jew hatred has no place in Cleveland and will not be tolerated in any form.

At the same time, Federation’s security provider – JFC Security, LLC – continues to work closely with local and national law enforcement to keep Jewish Cleveland safe and open for all to live Jewishly. Below are a few reminders on ways you can help (click here for a full list of recommendations):

  • Call 911 immediately for any and all emergencies.
  • If you see a JFC Security officer in the area do not hesitate to approach or flag down and report suspicious or threatening activity to them immediately. They will relay information directly to police.
  • If you see something or someone that is of concern, ensure you act as quickly as possible. In doing so your quick action may help keep potential problems away from the community.
  • Talk to your children and teens about safety. It is important to encourage children to trust their own instincts. Teach them that if someone or something makes them feel uncomfortable or if they feel like something is just not right — even if they cannot explain why — they need to walk away immediately and alert an adult.

We want to thank all of our local police departments and law enforcement agencies who work to keep all of us safe. We are blessed to live in Cleveland, which takes such pride in preserving and protecting its diverse neighborhoods and communities.

Stay safe and Shabbat Shalom,

J. David Heller

J. David Heller
Board Chair

Erika B. Rudin-Luria

Erika B. Rudin-Luria

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