Public Statement: In the Face of Increased Hatred, Now is the Time to Unify

The Jewish Community Federation of Richmond (JCFR) and its Jewish Community Relations Committee (JCRC), congratulate all the candidates elected to local, state, and national office. We look forward to working with returning and newly elected representatives in Virginia during the upcoming 2017 General Assembly session.

Since 1935, the JCFR has served as the central address of the organized Jewish community in Richmond. Its JCRC handles government affairs and represents our Jewish community on many critical issues. Our JCRC’s four longstanding, core-principles are:

  • Religious freedom and the separation of church and state,
  • A democratic, strong and peaceful Israel, as the nation-state and homeland of the Jewish people,
  • The eradication of all forms of racism and anti-Semitism,
  • The safety and well-being of Jewish agencies, organizations, and individuals in the Richmond community.

We promote Jewish and American values we all cherish that have been passed down to us through Torah. In Deuteronomy (16:20) “Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live,” God beseeches us. Earlier in Deuteronomy (10:19), God commands us to “Love the stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” We are not permitted to hate the “other”; rather are commanded to perform acts of loving kindness.

Locally, more than one Rabbi has reported speaking with congregants who feel less safe. Your JCFR and its JCRC are cognizant of recent, significantly increased hatred. The Anti-Defamation League reported in the past several months that at least 800 journalists received anti-Semitic tweets. This provides a snapshot of an escalation in anti-Semitic behavior nationally. The problem of increased hatred is not remotely limited to anti-Semitism. These trends are borne out in reports by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the FBI, from 2015-2016, the majority of religious based hate crime was directed at the Jewish community. However, statistics in 2015 showed a 67% increase in hate crimes against Muslim Americans. Recall our principle: “the eradication of all forms of racism and anti-Semitism.” We recognize the concerns of our community and categorically reject all forms of racism and discrimination.

As we continue to fastidiously avoid partisanship, we are proud of our record of action on the above principles. We stand for the safety and well-being of Jews in the local community and against racism, we stand for Israel and against infringement on religious freedom. We seek not to ostracize but to unite, not to ignore but to educate; we lead through example. Now is the time to unify.

As we vigilantly monitor national developments, for now, we are focusing our efforts locally. The JCRC invites all community members to attend the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, "Standing Together RVA Community Gathering." On Sunday, December 4, at 3:30 p.m., we will gather and stand together at Third Street Bethel A.M.E. Church (614 N. 3rd St, Richmond) to demonstrate concern about the recent rise in hate speech, bias, and division.

We stand with all Americans in prayer for a more just and peaceful nation and world.

Nannette Shor, JCFR President Frances Goldman, JCRC Co-Chair
Samuel Asher, JCFR CEO Richard Samet, JCRC Co-Chair

                  Daniel Fogel, Director of Jewish Community Relations


Add Comment