Pulling together in the face of danger

Last month, the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee and Congregation Micah sponsored a program with writer Bari Weiss to discuss antisemitism across America. Professor Shaul Kelner, of Vanderbilt University, was a masterful moderator of the event, navigating the panel of Rabbis from four locations across the country. His personal background and expertise were evident in his thoughtful and insightful comments and questions, and Ms. Weiss was incredibly engaging and energetic as she shared her perspective on the vexing problem of antisemitism. After the program, Ms. Weiss provided us an extensive reading list for further and future consideration.  

This was one piece of ongoing efforts by the Community Relations Committee and others in our community to address the dangers of antisemitism rising in our country and throughout much of the world. The tragic and horrific story of Sarah Halimi, a Jewish woman viciously attacked and murdered in Paris in 2017, and the injustice of France’s highest court ruling that the killer could not be held criminally responsible because of marijuana consumption, led the thousands marching in Paris to demand justice. The dangers, both here in the US and around the world, persist.

Even our children, students in some local schools, are not immune from being harassed and intimidated. CRC has been actively assisting these families, providing resources and support in addressing this problem with school officials. To further these efforts, we will be launching a reporting form for families to use in the coming school year.  

Leslie Kirby, CRC Chair, has provided remarkable vision and leadership for the committee. She is a dedicated, informed, and tireless lay leader and her commitment has been the backbone of our work. During her tenure we welcomed several new members to the committee, and her creativity and vision allowed us to move seamlessly into the virtual world. We offer our fullest appreciation to her as we welcome our incoming chair, Steven Remer, an active and engaged CRC member with long term experience with the issues involved in the work.  We are grateful that although Leslie is stepping down from committee leadership but will remain an active committee member as she moves forward in her Jewish Federation Board responsibilities.

If you missed the program with Bari Weiss and would like a copy of her reading list, or any other information about the Community Relations Committee, please contact Deborah Oleshansky, deborah@jewishnashville.org


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