Danielle V. Minson — Raising the Bar
This Passover, We Cannot Pass Over Hate
As our community celebrates Passover, we are thinking about ways to become more free. As Jews living in the United States, many freedoms are afforded to us. But are we fully free when antisemitism proliferates and our own children experience it? Can we have full freedom when others believe antisemitism is only a minor problem?
As we know, Passover celebrates the Israelites’ emancipation from slavery. All Jewish households were “passed over,” sparing their eldest sons’ lives. That passing over was an act of Divine love. However, in today’s search for fuller freedom, we cannot pass over hate. Hate harms us and must be fought.
To feel secure, and free, we need the broader community to see antisemitism. All the data shows antisemitism is dramatically on the rise, reaching the highest levels this past year since the ADL began collecting statistics in 1979.
Recently, Cincinnati stepped up, refusing to pass over hate. On March 15, Cincinnati’s City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution recognizing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. This is a big win.
The fight against antisemitism is, and must be, part of the fight against all hate. We believe in a diverse, inclusive democracy, with freedom for all. We do not take those values for granted. We fight for them every day.
But more needs to be done. Most Americans don’t know that Jews are only 2.4 percent of the population, but victims of 55 percent of all religion-based hate crimes. We need awareness, or else we cannot be free. Stopping “the oldest form of hate” will require real change.
I hope you have already seen evidence of a new national effort to fight antisemitism, launched this March. It is coordinated by the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS), which is funded by Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots. His own foundation, along with FCAS, began by broadcasting ads during NFL games, calling on viewers to “stand up to Jewish hate.”
The first time I saw one of these ads, I was moved. I hadn’t seen antisemitism called out so publicly in that way before, and I felt seen. This campaign, #StandUpToJewishHate, is supported by a broad coalition. It aims to raise awareness about the modern hatred Jews face and build empathy and solidarity in the general population in a way that drives change. Its symbol is a blue square, which we hope will become a familiar emblem. If you haven’t already, please find out more, and consider sharing the blue square and its meaning on social media.
After Passover, we will renew our work for freedom, and the freedom of our neighbors.
Today, the Jewish Federation and our staff wish you a meaningful Passover, with family, safety, and freedom.