Temple Beth Israel Responds To Local Antisemitism

“Faith leaders, parishioners, atheists, and total strangers, have expressed their indignation that this kind of hate was left on their doorsteps, and distributed in our community. Instead of feeling isolated, we feel wrapped in the warmth and kindness of strangers.”

Editor’s Note: This statement was released by Geri Copitch, a board member of Temple Beth Israel, in response to a recent distribution of antisemitic flyers in parts of Redding. Temple Beth Israel describes itself as a friendly, diverse, welcoming community coming from many streams of Judaism and many different backgrounds. They strive to reach out and engage their non-Jewish neighbors in exploring areas of commonality; sharing traditions and valuing qualities that make each of us divine and unique.

Recently antisemitic fliers were distributed in a handful of neighborhoods in east Redding.

These fliers were crafted by the Goyim Defense League, a white nationalist hate group that encourages its supporters to engage in monthly smear campaigns across the country. The fliers allege that “6 Jewish corporations own 96% of the media.” Let’s just say that the flier uses some creative ‘math’ to get to this number. It helps if you leave out a lot of corporations and only highlight those that fit the narrative. But, that is beside the point. If we went around claiming that 96% of the media was owned by Christians, I doubt it would garner more than a shoulder shrug—and that’s the point. What does the religious background of a company’s CEO, founder, on an individual director, matter?

It only matters if you are using it as a “dog whistle,” a way to signal other like-minded individuals about your hateful message, whether it’s about immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ folk, or Jews.

The intention isn’t to educate. It is a way to stir up outrage and division.

When a group is targeted by hate, the goal is to separate Your Group from the Rest of Society. The intent is to isolate and cut off the targeted group. The Nazis were very good at this kind of messaging.

However, that is not how the Redding community has responded. The members of Temple Beth Israel have been heartened by the outpouring of support we have gotten from our sisters and brothers of other faith traditions. Faith leaders, parishioners, atheists, and total strangers, have expressed their indignation that this kind of hate was left on their doorsteps, and distributed in our community.
Online, via emails, and personal calls, people have spoken out against this vile act and offered to stand shoulder to shoulder with us. Instead of feeling isolated, we feel wrapped in the warmth and kindness of strangers. Tragedy brings out the best in people, and while this didn’t rise to the level of a tragedy, we have seen the better nature of our Redding community shine through.

May the day soon come when we are united by our similarities and celebrate each other for our differences.

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