Federation is taking anti-Semitism seriously, offering a community forum on anti-Semitism on Jan. 23.in partnership with ADL Michigan and JCRC/AJC.

By Beverly Liss and Alan Jay Kaufman

We’ve said goodbye to the festive lights of Chanukah and move forward into the first days of our secular calendar. Before we close the books on 2019, however, we want to offer a sincere thank you to every one of our supporters, volunteers and participants who continue to make the work of the Jewish Federation possible.

We are grateful to report that 2019 was a year of exceptional generosity and commitment. Thanks to more than 10,000 donors, we were once again able to raise and distribute the resources necessary to take care of those in need and support Jewish life throughout Metro Detroit, as well as in Israel and around the world.

We continue to change and evolve with the times, but — because of you — Detroit remains one of the most vibrant and cohesive centers for Jewish life to be found anywhere.

We must also acknowledge the challenges that emerged over the past year. In particular, anti-Semitism has risen throughout the world and we have seen, for the first time in history, continuous acts of violence perpetrated against Jewish people living in the United States. The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Chabad of Poway in San Diego and now the heinous series of assaults in New York, culminating in the attack on a rabbi’s residence in Monsey: These murderous acts of anti-Semitic violence signal a terrible new paradigm in our society and demand a sustained response to protect our Jewish homes, businesses and houses of worship.

Security for our community is a central priority for the Jewish Federation. Our expanded community-wide security team collaborates closely with local organizations as well as with local and national law-enforcement entities — including the Secure Community Network, a national homeland security organization working on behalf the American Jewish community.

Beyond security measures, education and ongoing communication are essential in this effort.

For this reason, we invite our entire community to a forum on anti-Semitism and our local response, to be held at Adat Shalom Synagogue on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m., in partnership with ADL Michigan and JCRC/AJC. There, we will hear from local leaders, clergy and law enforcement professionals on their efforts to confront anti-Semitism and security concerns.

We wish to offer our deepest sympathy and support to all those affected by these crimes, and we look forward to a time when hatred and bigotry are finally eradicated. Until then, one thing is certain: Standing together as a strong and proud community, we will not be deterred from living active and joyous Jewish lives.

Beverly B. Liss is president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and Alan Jay Kaufman is president, United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit.

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