Island's Jewish Center course explores underpinnings of hate and how to respond to antisemitism

Posted Friday, Jan 21st, 2022

A hostage situation at a synagogue in Colleyville TX on January 15 ended after nearly 11 hours when law enforcement safely rescued all four hostages. President Biden and the FBI are now calling Saturday's events an “act of terror” in which the Jewish community was directly targeted.

Jewish communities around the nation are still reeling and trying to make sense of the weekend's events.

While the incident was obviously frightening and horrible, it unfortunately was not the firsts of its kind.

“Antisemitism is history’s oldest hatred, and it's also the most prevalent. Jews experience more hate crimes than any other group, and many Jews today are anxious about rising antisemitism today and worry about how to respond to it," said Rabbi Avremel Caroline of the Chabad Key Biscayne Jewish Center.

The Anti-Defamation League has reported a sharp rise in antisemitic incidents over the last decade, now at a historically high level in the US, with 2,024 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism reported to ADL in 2020.

Nearly one out of every four Jews in the U.S. has been the subject of antisemitism over the past year, according to data published in October by the American Jewish Committee.

In Key Biscayne, the community is doing its part to combat antisemitism. In February, the Chabad Key Biscayne Jewish Center will offer a four-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI), titled “Outsmarting Antisemitism.”

Using history, Torah sources and contemporary experts, the course addresses some of the questions being analyzed as individuals and as a community. Why does antisemitism persist? How can we make hate go away? How can we counter Israel-focused antisemitism?

“At this time, when antisemitic incidents have been consistently rising worldwide and simultaneously on all fronts, it is no longer enough just to be opposed to antisemitism,” Caroline explained. “We all have to be knowledgeable about it. If we are to be equipped to combat its spread, we must know its history and – more importantly -- what we can do about it."

Caroline added that the primary solution to any prejudice is education,. “Education starts with educating ourselves. It would be great to teach a course to antisemites, but that's a hard sell,” he joked. “But by properly educating ourselves, we are in a position to positively influence others."

The JLl offers Jewish adult education services in more than 1,600 international locations. More than 400,000 students have attended JLI classes since they were founded in 1998.

In Key Biscayne, JLI classes are taught by Caroline at the Chabad Key Biscayne Jewish Center.

The course begins February 1 at 7:30 pm. It is designed to appeal to people at all levels of knowledge, including those without any background in Jewish learning.

“Outsmarting Antisemitism” students are eligible for continued education credits for doctors and mental health professionals (CME) and attorneys (CLE).

The course will be offered in-person as well as over Zoom. Sign-in information will be provided upon enrollment.

For more information about the course and to register, click here or call (305) 365-6744.

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