Home » Temple Isaiah Hosts JCRC Here I Am Initiative to Unite Against Antisemitism

Temple Isaiah Hosts JCRC Here I Am Initiative to Unite Against Antisemitism

Press Release

by CC News
Unite Against Antisemitism

LAFAYETTE, CA –– Temple Isaiah hosts Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) “Here I Am: Communities United Against Antisemitism” Initiative to unite against antisemitism.

The conference included numerous Contra Costa County and California elected officials, including U.S. Representative Mark DeSaulnier, State Senator Steve Glazer, Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Assembly member Tim Grayson, Walnut Creek Council member Kevin Wilk, El Cerrito Mayor Pro Tem Tessa Rudnick, Hercules Mayor Alex Walker-Griffin, and Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton.

Community leaders, including Temple Isaiah’s Senior Rabbi Jill Perlman, Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church Rev. Jaime Polson, and JCRC Bay Area CEO Tyler Gregory spoke in response to the growing antisemitic hate crimes in California, and highlighted that all members of the convening were providing a demonstration of solidarity and support of the Jewish community.

This convening has come at a time when there is a growing trend nationwide of antisemitism attacks by swatting, hate speech, and hate crimes to members within this marginalized community. For more information about JCRC’s “Here I Am: Communities United Against Antisemitism” please visit their website at JCRC.org/blog/here-i-am

Quotes from Rabbi Perlman:

“Today’s gathering is all about us proclaiming “Here I am” as we acknowledge the deep pain of antisemitism in our midst. We are bound together; each one of us, as human beings, to create the world that we all deserve. A world where folks of all heritages, all ethnicities, all religions, can show up exactly as who we are without fear of bias and discrimination. We stand here today with one foot in the world as it is and one in the world as it should be. Bridging the gap with our witness, accountability, and love.”

“Like the ancestors in our tradition, we say “Hineini” Here I am. In Hebrew, “Hineini” is not a locational “here I am”, no. It is so much more. The “Here I Am” of “Hineini” is meant to evoke in us a heart open readiness to step with moral courage into whatever is needed. It means “I am ready.”

“We need you, we need each other, because we are living in a time where our Jewish students don’t always feel safe in our schools, when town council meetings are flooded with antisemitic speech, when local neighborhoods in our county are blanketed with flyers blaming Covid, the war on Ukraine, on Jews. We are living in a time when Temple Isaiah needs to spend its dollars on guards, fences, and gates when we would much rather be spending it on education and community and works of good. Yes, we still spend our dollars there. But not enough, never enough, because we have one foot in the world as it is, and that world is one where we can be targeted just because we are Jews. We can do better. We need to do better.

“We need our elected officials to continue to shine a light on antisemitism here in Contra Costa County and beyond and to be pro-active and not just reactive. We need our interfaith community to talk about the impact of antisemitism in your houses of worship. We need upstanders all around us to stand up and say Hineini. And we pledge to stand by you, our beloved friends and community and all those who have been marginalized. For we all belong here in our community. We all deserve respect. Our children, our families deserve to be safe. The new year in the Jewish calendar is almost here. May we step into this future embodying the power of Hineini, ready to build a new year and a new world in the spirit of solidarity, respect, and love. Here we are.”

About Temple Isaiah: Temple Isaiah of Contra Costa County is an inclusive community of 900 families, established seventy years ago and proud member of the Union for Reform Judaism. Temple Isaiah’s mission is to embody, enhance and perpetuate our Jewish tradition by providing a welcoming spiritual home where the membership gathers to worship God, study Torah, engage in acts of Tikun Olam, deepen our relationship with Israel, participate in Jewish rituals and life cycle events, and experience the joy of being a part of a caring community.

For more information visit https://temple-isaiah.org

Editors Notes

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