Contributed by Barbara Simmons.
Anti-Semitism has increased more than 58% in the last two years in the United States and more than 85% in France. Have we been paying attention? We have at The Peace Center, the ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center, where incidents are reported, but has the general public noticed this rise?
The massacre of worshipers in the Tree of Life synagogue was our wake-up call for humanity. It seemed this gun massacre knocked the breath out of us much like the Sandy Hook massacre of children. It has to do with the sanctity of bearing witness to violence a place of worship, or in a school where children are to be nurtured.
If we examine the fear behind the hatred, we can begin to address it. We have recently learned that Millennials in most states are not taught about the Holocaust in school. How is it critical history such as this is given such a short chapter in text books? Without understanding our history, we are bound to repeat it.
This is going to take a giant effort of working together and a group of synagogues and non-profits are doing just that. More than 700 people filled Beth El synagogue the week following the Tree of Life tragedy to identify ways of working in the following areas: Interfaith, Immigration, Gun Safety, and Anti-Semitism combined with Acts of Loving Kindness. The outcomes of each of the groups working towards change can be found on The Peace Center’s website: www.thepeacecenter.org.
Barbara Simmons is executive director of The Peace Center in Langhorne, Pennsylvania an organization working for community peace and social justice since 1982. The Peace Center aims to reduce violence and conflict in schools, homes and communities through a multi-cultural, community-based approach and further peace by understanding and managing conflict in the community, nation, and world.