Celebrating Hanukkah and allyship amid rise in anti-semitism across the country

As Hanukkah is underway, some may be worried about celebrating with anti-Semitism on the rise across the country.  

According to Midwest Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, David Goldenberg, on top of the political climate in the US, there’s another aspect that contributes to these record-high numbers of hate crimes and incidents: access. Social media provides easier access to hate speech and symbols, amplifying those voices. As these issues continue to happen across the country, it may feel a bit worrisome to celebrate this year.  

"I think families should celebrate and practice Hanukkah the same way they always have,” said Goldenberg. “We know that we're doing it with a backdrop of incredibly high numbers of antisemitic incidents, but we also think it's important that we can't shy away of who we are of our religion and of our traditions.” 

Anti-Semitic incidents occur more frequently around Jewish holidays like Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, however, 2022 was a record year for hate crimes and incidents of hate across the US. This year hit an all-time high since record-keeping began in 1979. In Indiana, over the past five years, Hoosiers have seen an increase in antisemitic incidents by more than 100-percent.   

Goldenberg says there need to be comprehensive hate laws, training and enforcement in place, but until then, it’s up to us.  

"You can ultimately be a strong ally and speak out against hate crimes or hate incidents or hate just in general…and that's something that each and every one of us can do today. We can do it now, and by the way it takes nothing but courage." 

Goldenberg says ignorance is to blame for the increase in hate crimes. He encourages people to turn that ignorance into curiosity and ask questions and learn more about people that are different from you. This holiday season Goldenberg urges folks to speak out around kitchen table, choose to become educated about something you don’t know, assume intent with individuals you’re around, be a strong ally against hate crimes regardless of the people/groups impacted   

“When there's instances of hate, whether it be antisemitism or any other form of hate for that matter that it's not just the victim, and not just the community that's affected but it's all of us coming together and saying we're not OK with that." 

You can learn more from the anti-defamation league and how to best support others here

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