Hanukkah happening amid rising anti-Semitic incidents

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — As Marcia Bronstein proudly displays the silver Dreidel and Star of David on her necklace, she realizes that not everyone is as comfortable as she is wearing them.

“Many people choose not to wear their Jewish star because they are afraid of being attacked,” said Bronstein, regional director of the American Jewish Committee Philadelphia Southern New Jersey Region.

Incidents that cause Jewish people in the area to feel uncomfortable expressing their faith are the types of incidents that the Anti-Defamation League tracks. You’ve seen hate incidents steadily increase over the past six years.

“In 2021, we recorded the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents involving harassment, vandalism and assault — 2,717 incidents (nationwide),” said Andrew Goretsky, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Philadelphia office.

Then there is the propaganda. Action News’ journalism team found that as of early September this year, the ADL had tracked 719 incidents nationwide involving the dissemination of anti-Semitic propaganda. One such incident occurred on Sunday at the beginning of Hanukkah at the Christmas market in Bethlehem.

Witnesses saw men spreading anti-Semitic propaganda, which has also increased over the past year.

“Pennsylvania had the highest amount of pro-white supremacist propaganda anywhere in the country,” Goretsky said.

That is why organizations focus even more on fighting hate.

“Jewish organizations came together during Hanukkah to create a program called ‘Shine a Light,'” Bronstein said of the campaign, which includes public service announcements that air on local and national television. These PSAs encourage people of all faiths to speak out against hatred in all its forms.

“Saying something when it’s safe becomes vital,” Goretsky said, urging people to shine a light similar to the light celebrated at Hanukkah.

“That’s why we have so many celebrations that are public,” Bronstein said. “To show people that we are proud. We’re not hiding… to celebrate the light.”

For more information on combating hate, visit the Anti-Defamation League website https://www.adl.org/.

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https://6abc.com/hanukkah-2022-anti-semitism-american-jewish-committee-philadelphia-harassment/12591088/ Hanukkah happening amid rising anti-Semitic incidents

Alley Einstein

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