Today is August 18, 2019 -
Yesterday was an interesting day at the Federation. In the morning we hosted 70 non-Jewish students from two high schools in the Adirondacks for an educational lesson about the Holocaust. In the afternoon we spent an hour speaking on the phone with the Secure Community Network about white supremacy.
These are good times for the Jews–especially American Jews. As a people, we are experiencing unprecedented wealth with relatively low incidences of anti-Semitism.
Unfortunately, we were reminded two weeks ago that the world is not yet perfect. While we were preparing our Passover seders to discuss our freedom from slavery, one anti-Semite was causing chaos in Kansas City, while others were preparing for chaos in Ukraine. And so, we must remain vigilant.
Our Federation takes a two-pronged approach to preventing and fighting hate: Prong #1) We are the Jewish community’s central agency for promoting security awareness; Prong #2) We educate and dialogue about peace and tolerance.
Every year, before Rosh Hashanah, we invite all of the local Jewish agencies and synagogues in our community to join us for a security briefing with representatives from all levels of law enforcement. We bring together our local police, the Albany division of the FBI, the NYS Counter-Terrorism Task Force, and Homeland Security to brief us on new best practices in preparedness.
We participate with the Secure Community Network, a national organization, and share information with all branches of law enforcement. We disseminate area concerns among all of our partners, in an effort to keep our community as safe as possible.
While community preparedness is important for the short-term, community education is critical for the long-term. We stand with all local religious and ethnic groups against hate. We are long-time participants in the Jewish-Catholic Dialogue. We are a one-third partner in the Interfaith Center on the SUNY campus. We house the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and its World of Difference program, which provides anti-hate education to schools and the community.
We bring together high school Social Studies teachers to educate them about Israel. Together with the Holocaust Survivors and Friends Education Center, we teach these teachers about the Holocaust and hold an annual Kristallnacht program.
Sunday night and Monday mark the commemoration of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. Please see the community calendar on our website for a listing of all of the special programs in our communities. For almost 70 years we have said, “Never again.” At the Federation, we do not rely on these words alone.