CEO April 2015 Update

We can stop the spread of this madness


In the summer of 1966, my Uncle Lou Jacobi took me to see a movie at the Lowe’s Movie Theater in Manhattan. It was a great experience for a pre-teenager to go with his uncle – the movie actor – to go to see something on the silver screen. But Lou was taking me to see a movie he thought would have great impact on me. He took me to see “Cast a Giant Shadow” with Kirk Douglas playing the leading role about Mickey Marcus – the first Israeli General who fought in the 1948 War of Independence.


Even now, when we take missions to Israel we try to weave themes into these trips that recognize the great sacrifice of the War of Independence, when Israel lost about 15% of its population in battle.

This summer was the first time I was in Israel during a war. This was a high-tech war where the use of the Iron Dome missile defense system made all the difference in the outcome. The Richmond Jewish community showed its strength as more than 500 people came out to participate in an emergency Rally for Israel July 28. 


But there is another war going on in our world today. This is a war of words and heinous acts taking place. I’m talking about the outrageous acts of anti-Semitism in Europe and in other parts of the world.


We were shocked and grieved following the attacks on the Krystalgade Synagogue and the cafe in Copenhagen that left at least two people dead. 


We were horrified by the violent attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions in France. This pattern of Jews being murdered in Europe, simply because they are Jews, must be condemned by people and governments across the world. 


So, when I saw an article in JTA by Michael Douglas, son of Kirk Douglas, I thought I would share parts with you. Douglas recalled that last summer his son, Dylan, was verbally assaulted at a pool at a resort in southern Europe because he was wearing a Star of David necklace. “Afterward, I sat down with my son and said: ‘Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism.’” Douglas wrote in the piece published Saturday.


The Academy Award winner said he began reconnecting with Judaism since his son began to connect with the faith several years ago through friends. Dylan started attending Hebrew school and studying for his Bar Mitzvah, he said.


In the article, he reviewed some of the root causes of anti-Semitism, including economics, hatred of Israel, and noted the large number of Muslims living in Europe.


“It is time for each of us to speak up against this hate,” Douglas asserted. He called on religious leaders, political leaders and citizens to speak out against anti-Semitism.


“So, that is our challenge in 2015, and all of us must take it up. Because if we confront anti-Semitism whenever we see it, if we combat it individually and as a society, and use whatever platform we have to denounce it, we can stop the spread of this madness.”


We will continue to bring you information as it becomes available about this growing epidemic in our society and in countries around the world. 


Feel free to reach out to me at 804-545-8622 or email


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