New course explores underpinnings of hate, how to respond to rising antisemitism

Posted Saturday, Oct 16th, 2021

This fall, Esther Schlanger of Chabad in Bakersfield will offer a new four-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) titled "Outsmarting Antisemitism."

Using history, Talmudic sources, Jewish mysticism and contemporary expert analysis, the course addresses some of the niggling questions we grapple with as individuals and as a community. Why does antisemitism persist? How can we make hate go away? How can we counter Israel-focused antisemitism and prevent our own youth from unwittingly lending their voices to antisemitic agendas?

"Many Jews are anxious about rising antisemitism today and worry about how to respond to it," said Rabbi Schlanger of Chabad of Bakersfield. "By exploring the mechanics of antisemitism and probing historical strategies for reducing it, this course offers a framework for confronting it head-on with purpose, positivity and pride."

Informative, interesting and empowering, "Outsmarting Antisemitism" is well suited for community leaders and laypersons alike.

"All those who care about religious freedom, both Jews and others, confront a disturbing increase in antisemitism worldwide," said Cary Nelson, past president of the American Association of University Professors. "It is no longer enough just to be opposed to antisemitism. We all have to be knowledgeable about its history and current manifestations if we are to be equipped to combat its spread. That is why this course matters."

"What distinguishes the present moment is the rise of antisemitism simultaneously on all fronts," said Natan Sharansky, former refusenik and chairman at the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy. "To succeed in the struggle against these dangerous phenomena, we have to confront antisemitism on all fronts simultaneously. Therefore, this course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute is very important."

The four-week course begins Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. Like all JLI programs, it is designed to appeal to people at all levels of knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple or other house of worship.

Cost for the course is $85. Interested students may call 661-834-1512 or visit for registration and for other course-related information.

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