Forty-one percent of U.S. Jews surveyed said the status of Jews in America is less secure than a year ago, up from 31% in 2021.
Imagine there are three islands. On each island resides a group of habitants who respect, like, and admire each other. They work together to protect their culture and way of thinking.
An option exists for the dwellers to visit the other islands — though — from what they’ve heard, why would they? The others on the neighboring islands appear to be self-interested, absorbed in their own way of thinking, failing to see what potential lies beyond their own island. And yet — each of these islanders has a way to visit the other island. They have a boat available yet choose not to use it. Rather, they choose to stay with their own kind, where they find comfort in the familiar.
Are you — yes, you — the reader, on your own island? How comfortable are you to travel to the next island over — not necessarily to explore an alternative way of thinking — but at least to understand it? The simple act of understanding has the potential to breed empathy, and that empathy has the potential to breed a mutual respect.
We’re all too familiar that many in the world have a deep-rooted hatred and disdain for Jews. Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, Orthodox Jews, Sephardi Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Jews of color, straight Jews, gay Jews, and the list goes on. One thing is for certain — if you’re Jewish — a Jew-hater hates you.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) released the results of its “State of Antisemitism in America” survey. A few of the takeaways, according to the survey:
Forty-one percent of U.S. Jews surveyed said the status of Jews in America is less secure than a year ago, up from 31% in 2021. One in five American Jews feel somewhat or very unsafe when attending Jewish institutions because of antisemitism. And one in four American Jews ages 18-29 who have experienced antisemitism online reported that the encounter made them feel physically threatened.
Jews have enemies here in America and around the world. Antisemites are united in their hate against us. The rhetoric and blatant antisemitism spewed from both the far left and the far right are virtually indistinguishable. It’s time we as Jews stand united against those spewing such hate and vitriol.
The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC — Detroit (JCRC/AJC) has interfaith friends and partners from all walks of life — Black, white, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Chaldean — the support we have in the greater Metro Detroit community should make us all proud to live in such a melting pot of diversity.
And yet — even with support from our friends from other beliefs and walks of life — many of us manage to stay in our own silos, fearing to engage with those who we radically disagree with.
The AJC findings should act as a unifying force among American Jewry. The survey doesn’t cite political ideologies, branches of Judaism, or the race of the respondents. The statistics are clear — Jews from all walks of life, with many ways of thinking, fear antisemitism and its ever-growing presence here in America.
With that in mind, I think it’s time we take that boat that has been docked for far too long and travel to the neighboring island. What would it look like if AIPAC and J Street leaders broke bread together, or IfNotNow and ZOA folks held a joint community forum?
As outlandish as those examples may seem — they’re necessary for us to survive and thrive as a Jewish people. As Jews — especially in light of the most recent AJC survey — we must stand together against the hate that is permeating our society. And we can’t stand together if we’re looking at each other from across the water.
Let’s hop on that boat. It’s time to come together.
Sam Dubin is assistant director/director of media relations at the JCRC/AJC.