As anti-Semitic incidents reach a record high, community leaders in Cincinnati will convene for a series of digital panels that will address the underlying reasons that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in antisemitism and xenophobia in Ohio and nationwide.

The Holocaust and Humanity Center and The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati will host, “Hate and Anti-Semitism in Ohio During COVID-19 and What We Can Do About It,” a two-part digital panel series that addresses rising anti-Semitism and hate occurring during the pandemic. The panels feature local experts in anti-Semitism, civil rights, education, theology, community relations and hate violence. 

On Thursday, May 21, at 12 p.m.,  online, an enlightened discussion will be held helping us understand some of these manifestations of hate and what we can do about it. The panel will feature: Eric Ward, an expert on extremism and intersection of hate; Father Michael Graham of Xavier University, historian and civic leader; and local JCRC Director Jackie Congedo.

Thursday, May 28, at 12 p.m., online: a panel discussion will be held with diverse community leaders about the ways the pandemic has stoked not only anti-Semitism, but other forms of xenophobia and impacted local communities. Learn ways to combat hate when you see it online and in your community.

“In our city and throughout the state, we’ve seen ugly, brazen displays of anti-Semitism emerge during this pandemic,” said Jackie Congedo, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council. “We know the importance of bringing a diverse group of leaders to the table to address issues like hate, anti-Semitism, and racism that impact our city and state in lasting and devastating ways.”

The Anti-Defamation League reported 2,107 anti-Semitic incidents occurred last year, including 61 physical assault cases, 1,127 instances of harassment and 919 acts of vandalism. It is the highest number of reported incidents since the ADL started tracking anti-Semitism in 1979.

Since the start of the pandemic, protestors have targeted Ohio’s Jewish health director, Dr. Amy Acton, while lawmakers have used anti-Semitic rhetoric in response to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Acton’s stay-at-home orders. In Columbus, a protestor proudly waved a sign that depicted a rat with a Star of David and yarmulke and read “the real plague.”

The program aims to empower the community with the resources, tools and perspectives they need to feel informed about how this moment fits within the larger history of anti-Semitism and extremism, Congedo said.

The webinar series is open and free to the public, but registration is required. 


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