I have been telling people lately that my children have experienced more antisemitismin their lifetimes than I have in
mine. This would seem highly unlikely because while I grew up as the only Jewish family in my public elementary school in suburban Minneapolis, my kids came of age attending Jewish day schools and living within walking distance of Orthodox synagogues in Richmond and Skokie. And yet, I firmly believe it to be true.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says that 2022 recorded the highest number of antisemitic acts since they began tracking in 1979. As I write this column, reports of Jew hating speech by Ye, formerly Kanye West, Kyrie Irving, and Nick Fuentes are in the headlines. But these national statistics and news stories can feel removed from our lived
experience here in the heartland. In this issue, Andrea Kruszynski has researched and written an excellent and revealing piece about antisemitism right here in Central Indiana.
We share this with you for several reasons. For some, it may be the first time you are hearing about these disturbing incidents. Local antisemitic acts don’t always make the news or have a very limited shelf life. Second, we want to assure the community that your Federation, Jewish Community Relations Council, and Midwest ADL are aware of these horrific acts and do our best to take appropriate action each and every time.
Most importantly, we want this article to be a warning- not about your personal safety, but about the dangers of normalization. When we hear about any acts of violence over and over again, we eventually become desensitized to that issue. This can be true for mass shootings and it is true for antisemitic speech. But we must always remember that this need not be, and should not be, normal! I know I didn’t grow up this way and most of you, above a certain age, did not either.
It is up to us, all of us, to call out these actions and speech every time, to let our community leaders know that it is not harmless, and to make sure that people are held accountable to such a degree that the lid is put back on this historic bottle before it is too late.