A new story of Jewish resistance to the Holocaust
A pre-IHOP Mike Bickle story from the 1970s

Here's something you can do locally to counter antisemitism


Because modern antisemitism has deep roots in Christianity's long history of anti-Judaism, the hatred of Jews is an ancient problem.

But it's a calumny that is experiencing an alarming resurgence, especially since the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas terrorist attack on Israel. Here, for instance, is a CNN piece on the subject that was published several weeks after that attack.

What lots of people ignore, however, is that the growth of these anti-Jewish acts and words affects Jews everywhere, including our Jewish friends and neighbors right here in Kansas City, So earlier this month the JCRB/AJC (Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee) held a symposium called "Driving Out Darkness in the Heartland: 2024 Regional Summit on Combating Antisemitism."

It was held at Rockhurst University just as the annual commemorations sponsored by the SevenDays organization were marking the 10th anniversary of the 2014 murders of three individuals at local Jewish institutions. Those individuals were killed by a neo-Nazi who was trying to slay Jews but who wound up killing three Christians, instead. On the SevenDays website to which I've linked you, there is information about the founding of the organization and the work it does -- especially with teenagers -- to overcome hatred by teaching kindness through education and dialogue. (I serve on the SevenDays board.) One of the speakers at the JCRB/AJC symposium was SevenDays founder Mindy Corporon, author of Healing a Shattered Soul. Mindy's father and son were among those killed 10 years ago.

In opening the seminar, Gavriela Geller (pictured above), executive director of JCRB/AJC, offered a distressing picture of how Kansas City area Jews are feeling about this new round of antisemitism.

“Since Oct. 7," she said, referencing the Hamas attack date, "the Jewish community has experienced what I can only describe as an explosion of antisemitism, the likes of which have not been seen for years. . .We have experienced a 500 percent increase in these events right here in our community." Then she offered a litany of examples:

“There is in our own community a Jewish woman who has been harassed and threatened so badly that she had to move.

"I want you to know that we have had our youngest incident report yet, a second-grader, bullied on the school bus for being Jewish.

"I want you to know that Jewish college students are being harassed, targeted and isolated. . .simply for walking across campus wearing a Jewish star or kippah.

"We hear stories like this every single day. And in Jewish communities right here in Kansas City, it’s scary. Your neighbors are scared.

"Jews know enough of our history to always have a valid passport. But the question that I’ve heard people ask in the last six months is, ‘When will we know it’s time to leave?. . . Should we buy property abroad?’

“I do not know how else to say -- how to explain -- how serious this is. . .how deeply this is impacting our community right here."

Then she pointed toward action to be taken in light of these appalling circumstances.

“Over the course of this year," she said, "JCRB will work to craft and implement our region’s first-ever plan to combat antisemitism. This plan will inform our proactive action, legislation and the partnerships necessary to tackle this evil. We are the heart of America, and what we’re creating will act as a model for the rest of the country.”

Discussions about that process filled the rest of the daylong seminar.

This is a project that needs all people of goodwill to help. If you have ideas, contact the JCRB/AJC. I've given you the group's primary website link above, and here is a link to its "Contact Us" page. Share your ideas. Ask how you can help. At a minimum, please wish those who will work on this plan well.

From time to time, I hope to report back to you about how this work is going and to share with you a final product when it's ready.

Kansas City is known around the country not just as the site of the gruesome murders at Jewish facilities 10 years ago but also as a center for generative interfaith dialogue and cooperation. This is another time for that latter reputation to come to the fore. So let's all do what we can to help.

* * *


American politicians aren't the only ones in the world who sometimes engage in outrageous speech that dehumanizes others. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi proved that a few days ago when, at a campaign rally, he essentially called for India's Hindus to hate India's Muslims. It was, says my Indian friend Markandey Katju, an example of Modi crossing all limits of decency and propriety. The link I gave you to Markandey's brief remarks includes a video of Modi spewing disgusting words, but he's not speaking in English. The first link is to an AP story that focuses on the bitter reaction to Modi's words on the part of Muslims. Modi and his Hindu Nationalism have been a disaster for India, just as American politicians promoting Christian Nationalism for the U.S. are doing us no favors.


The comments to this entry are closed.