Seven North Shore synagogues and the Sid Jacobson JCC are hosting a joint event on Sunday to discuss rising concerns of anti-Semitism on Long Island.
The event, Responding to Anti-Semitism in Our Community, will feature a panel of local community leaders addressing community concerns, while analyzing the current situation and offering solutions to help combat the anti-Semitism on a local level.
“People are concerned so while Jewish organizations have dealt with it on a global and national level, it became apparent that synagogues themselves weren’t fully versed on how to respond to individual events on a local level,” said Matt Harris, a board member at the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore, where the event will take place.
The event’s panelists will include Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove); Etzion Neuer, director of community services at the Anti-Defamation League in New York; Nassau County Police Deputy Commissioner Patrick Ryder; and Karen Sloan, president of the Port Washington Board of Education.
Rabbi Jodie Siff of Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore will moderate the event.
“From a barrage of bomb threats made against Jewish community centers to a swastika scrawled on a bathroom wall at Schreiber High School, from a social media post depicting a local Jewish politician as a character from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ to a Disney-sponsored Youtuber streaming “Death to all Jews” to our children’s phones, rising anti-Semitism is no longer just a worldwide problem, it’s a local one, Siff said.
A string of anti-Semitic events occurred on the North Shore in the fall, beginning with a student discovering a swastika in a bathroom at Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington.
A month later in December, police investigated swastikas and the phrase “Make America Great Again,” President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, spray-painted on sidewalks in Mineola.
Police also arrested a Plainview man for allegedly drawing more than 100 swastikas and anti-Semitic messages on the walls of buildings at Nassau Community College.
“It’s urgent that people of all faiths and backgrounds come together and work toward making our communities safe for everyone,” Siff said.
Harris said people from the synagogue have been reaching out to other community groups, developing relationships with police officials, school officials and other houses of worships.
“We’ve been going to a lot of these meetings and making contacts,” Harris said. “We’re very excited by the response from local governments and officials.”
The community response to synagogue’s outreach has been positive, Harris said, with other synagogues wanting to cosponsor the event.
“Clearly all that has happen with other groups getting involved was very organically,” Harris said. “I think everyone knows it’s an important issue and there needs to be more involvement.”
Along with the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore, the event is cosponsored by Chevrat Tefillah, the Community Synagogue, the Port Washington Jewish Center, the Sid Jacobson JCC, Temple Beth Israel, Temple Judea of Manhasset and Temple Sinai of Roslyn.
Students in grades K-6 will be able to participate in a simultaneous program that will focus on acceptance and diversity.
The Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore is at 1001 Plandome Road