Letter to the Editor:
I want to thank Deborah Oleshansky and the Community Relations Committee for their outstanding work to combat antisemitism in our community. The following projects are very impressive: the Butterfly project; teaching and preparing high school students how to deal with the antisemitism they will encounter on college campuses; the community-wide Seder that attracts so many people of different faiths and orientations; advocating for students who encounter antisemitism in private and public schools. These are just a few projects that Deborah and her Committee handle, and I am so grateful we have such a competent and effective person dealing with this ancient hatred.
As a child survivor of the Shoah, I stress in my presentations that antisemitism has nothing to do with what Jews do but everything to do with the hatred of others. Blaming Jews for antisemitism is like blaming rape victims for being raped. It is difficult enough to deal with my mother being gassed at Auschwitz. I find it very upsetting when anyone suggests it was the fault of the Jews for not being sufficiently pious/observant.
Such thinking is very dangerous, because it does not promote actions to combat antisemitism, such as education, butterfly projects, trips to Israel, welcoming the stranger, connecting with other faith communities –actions promoted by Deborah, the Community Relations Committee, the Tennessee Holocaust Commission, and many others.
Frances Cutler Hahn