Fighting Against Hate

Seventy-five years ago the horrors of Nazi Germany shamed the world by exposing the monstrosity of rampant Anti-Semitism. Today Europe and the United States are again experiencing this hatred, and a global effort is underway to combat this epidemic.

Two Swedish donors pledged $4 million to “Instill some hope in the Jewish population”, inside the European Union. Private donors and governments are engaging and funding a variety of programs to take a stand and respond to those threats.

This week in Florida, a grant sponsored by the Jewish Women’s Foundation, set out to match local Holocaust survivors with teenage companions with the intention of enriching lives. “It’s an opportunity for the students to really learn about living history from their survivors. It’s also an opportunity for them to learn about previous generations”. For the survivors, it’s an opportunity to tell as much or as little of their story as they are comfortable with, and to bond and mentor young people.

California Governor, Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that provides grant funding to nonprofit organizations at risk from hate-inspired violence. AB-1548 establishes a fund to protect nonprofits from hate crimes. The bill was partly catalyzed by the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California. It established the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which provides grants up to $200,000.00 for security guards, reinforced doors, alarm systems, and other measures to protect “high risk “ nonprofits.

Facebooks’ chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg has pledged $2.5 million to the Ant-Defamation League to support anti-hate programs in Europe and the United States. She posted on Facebook that she is doing this to honor her parents’ 75th birthday. She also noted, “A week ago, on Yom Kippur-the holiest day of the Jewish year-I was sitting in synagogue, thinking about how, earlier that day, a gunman showed up at a synagogue in Germany, …Sitting in temple that day, I knew what my parents’ birthday present should be.” The ADL’s national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said “the gift comes at a critical juncture in the fight against bigotry.”

The owner of the Super Bowl Champion, New England Patriots football team is Robert Kraft. He is the 2019 Genesis Prize laureate and he has announced the launch of a $30 million foundation dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism. He accepted the award in Jerusalem and donated the $1 million prize that comes with the award.

The 5 previous Genesis Prize laureates are former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, actor Michael Douglas, violinist Itzchak Perlman, artist Anish Kapoor, and actress Natalie Portman all donated their award money to philanthropic causes. Kraft said,

My vision is to work to end the violence against Jewish communities. To educate, to inform, and to heal inter-communal relations. In combating the scourge of anti-Semitism, my solemn ambition is to counter all forms of intolerance in the spirit of the ancient Jewish value of – to heal and the repair the world”.

One victim of hate was the Tree of Life Congregation which was a target of a murderous gunman last year. They raised and contributed $60,000 of the $650,000 that was donated by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to victims of the Christchurch mosque hate attack that left 51 worshippers mortally wounded.

%d bloggers like this: