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“A Symbol for Good and Not Hate,” Rabbi Zecher’s Shabbat Awakenings

April 28, 2023 | —5783

The yellow star of David with the identifying word, Jude, caused despair, mistreatment, and great vulnerability to Jews during the Holocaust. The yellow star came to represent inhumanity in its most heinous form enacted by Nazis and their sympathizers.

Symbols can have a destructive force like the perversion of the yellow Jewish star. And yet, symbols can also lead us to righteous and positive actions. This is the case with a blue square.

The Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS) recently launched a major new campaign — using a blue square #🟦 to represent how to Stand Up to Jewish Hate — across the United States. Its purpose is to raise awareness about antisemitism and build empathy and solidarity with American Jews. Boston’s Kraft family has committed attention and resources towards this effort as it works diligently to rally support and raise awareness about antisemitism and empower our non-Jewish friends and allies to help us stand up to intolerance. Our proactive conversations with friends, colleagues, and neighbors about the impact of Jewish hate crimes upon us helps to build a better understanding. Tell them about the Blue Square campaign. Share the data that Jews make up 2.4% of the United States population but Jews are targets of 55% of religious hate crimes. Tell them to check out the website www.standuptoJewishhate.org that gives more information on this campaign.

We need to speak honestly, openly, and transparently with our friends, neighbors, and colleagues to not only share with them the harm of the experience of antisemitism, but also praise, encourage them, and ask them to act and speak out to eliminate the insidious nature that emboldens antisemitism and the hate that underlies it. Hatred of any kind is learned.

Also, it is crucial for those of us in the Jewish community to make sure that we report any incident of antisemitism to the ADL. Their collection of data helps to spot trends, to help law enforcement, and to demonstrate needed attention to eradicate hate.

These are some ways to recommend to others what they might do.

  • Post and share #🟦 — an emoji already available on most mobile devices — on your social media channels, email signatures, and text messages, alongside a message of support against hate and intolerance.

  • Speak up and share your personal story with antisemitism and encourage your friends to do the same.

  • Follow the #StandUpToJewishHate campaign at @StandUpToJewishHate on Twitter Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to keep up-to-date with 🟦 and learn more about antisemitism.

  • Visit StandUpToJewishHate.org to subscribe to the Foundation’s “From the Command Center” e-newsletter and the campaign’s powerful story videos.

As we enter Shabbat, may we be guided by peace, love, and tolerance, and may we embrace others in the pursuit of a world filled with a generosity of spirit to help one another.

Shabbat Shalom!

  • Join us at 6:00 p.m. for Qabbalat Shabbat, onsite or online on Zoom, Facebook Live, or stream on our website. Let’s celebrate together!
  • Tot Rock Shabbat gathers online at 5:00 p.m.
  • Torah Study gathers at 9:00 a.m. onsite or online (via  Zoom or via Temple Israel’s livestream), followed by an oneg to connect with friends and community.
  • Gather online to say goodbye to Shabbat with a lay-led Havdalah on Zoom.
  • Join us onsite on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. for a special evening of music with Frauenstimmen: Women’s Voices from the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. RSVP to participate.

Rabbi Elaine Zecher