Rabbi says anti-Semitic incidents could continue to increase

Rabbi says anti-Semitic incidents could continue to increase

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – A 57 percent increase. That’s how much the reports of anti- Semitic incidents throughout the country went up last year compared with the year before.

It’s a report from the Anti-Defamation League, which defined the incidents as vandalism or harassment of people or places associated with the Jewish faith.

Rabbi Todd Thalblum at Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids says he was saddened to see the report Tuesday.

Wednesday happened to be the start of a Jewish holiday called Purim.

“It’s very interesting holiday. It’s not like your typical holidays. In fact Antisemitism plays a big role,” Thalblum said.

It is a happy celebration, not a sad one. He says it’s a time to laugh in the face of hatred.

“It’s too much to always take it so somberly, so seriously,” Thalblum said.

Something he is taking seriously is the Anti-Defamation League’s report.

The report listed nine incidents in the state in 2017.

Last month, TV9 spoke with Naomi Homrighausen, a Jewish mother who says her daughter has been harassed in school for her religion.

“She has been physically harassed, physically threatened, verbally harassed, had to listen to chants of ‘Heil Hitler,'” Homrighausen said.

Thalblum says he feels Cedar Rapids is an accepting community for the most part. He hopes the nationwide numbers don’t get worse.

“I don’t see them getting lower anytime soon, unfortunately, I mean there’s been a lot of changes in the last couple of years in our world that have allowed for this kind of rise,” Thalblum said.

Thalblum says he thinks the country needs to have a more open dialogue.

He says things like the Know Your Neighbor event coming up on March 12th at the Cedar Rapids Public Library will help people get a better understanding of people who aren’t like them. At the event the speakers share different things about their religion.

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Posted from The Cedar Rapids Gazette