anti-Semitism | Not in Our Town


In April, Not In Our Town conducted seven workshops in Hungary, meeting with the local media, community members, police recruits, students and documentary filmmakers. The tour was sponsored by Central European University and the U.S. and Norwegian embassies.
Vassar students stand up to hate group   Students at Vassar College have raised more than $84,000 for The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth, in response to a visit from a hate group. According to college newspaper The Miscellany News, students started to organize their counterprotest immediately after hearing that the Westboro Baptist Church were planning to picket the college on Feb. 28. The fundraiser was intended to raise $4,500, $100 for every minute the hate group intended to picket the college. Instead, they raised twice that amount in under twelve hours.
Every Hanukkah, we are reminded of the incredible courage of those who stand up for their neighbors. On one bitterly cold night, a brick was thrown through a 6-year-old Jewish boy's bedroom window, where he had placed the family's Hanukkah menorah. The anti-Semitic incident was one of several hateful acts in Billings, MT that year, including skinheads at an African-American church, racist hate messages on a Native-American woman's home, and the desecration of the Jewish cemetery. The community responded by saying, "Not In Our Town." In an act of solidarity, nearly 10,000 Billings residents hung paper menorahs in their windows. This Hanukkah story is part of our origin story here at the Not In Our Town project. Today, please remember the Billings story with us.     Happy Holidays. 
Interfaith community comes together after anti-Semitic attacks in Bergen County, N.J. Video from Odyssey Networks Days after Molotov cocktails were thrown through the window of Congregation Beth El in Rutherford, N.J., community members, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, and politicians gathered at Felician College to show support for their Jewish neighbors. Congretation Beth El was one of four Jewish temples targeted in the past several months. Two teenangers from Bergen County, N.J. were arrested in connection with the attacks.   Rabbi Nossom Schuman of Congregation Beth El described the attack as a “dragon’s breath of  fire” that came through the window of his home while his family was asleep on the top floor of the synagogue. The Molotov cocktails ignited the sheets in his bed and threatened the lives of his wife and their five children before he was able to extinguish the flames. 
Earlier this month, a rabbi in Sunbury, PA placed a green dot on the map, symbolizing her anti-hate effort. Her synagogue, Congregation Beth El, and a local college had recently been targeted with anti-Semitic vandalism.  Rabbi Nina Mandel organized a rally that brought more than 250 people together--among them judges, city officials, and interfaith leaders--to stand together against hatred. She hopes to begin a Not In Our Town chapter in Sunbury.  These are words from Rabbi Mandel after a car in Congregation Beth El's parking lot was defiled with a swastika and the word "Jew." I Am a Jew
Watch the opening scenes to Class Actions by clicking on the image above.     "Bullying, racism, discrimination, hate. You know it's out there. It makes you cringe. But what are you gonna do about it?"     --MTV post on Not In Our Town: Class Actions KQED will broadcast Not In Our Town: Class Actions on Monday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. The broadcast is an opportunity to open the conversation about how to stop hate and bullying. Join us in getting a Bay Area discussion going in your schools and communities.   
"Bloomington, Indiana: United and Ready to Respond to Hate" is part of the Not In Our Town program, Class Actions, that premieres nationwide on PBS stations in February 2012.    When a string of anti-Semitic acts rocked the college town of Bloomington, Ind. just before Hanukkah in 2010, the town knew how to respond.   Bloomington’s quick and supportive response from the city’s university, police, city, and community leaders comes from experience. The community group Bloomington United was first brought together by the mayor when former Indiana University student and white supremacist Ben Smith started spreading white supremacist and anti-Semitic flyers around town. Several months later, Korean doctoral student Won-Joon Yoon was fatally shot on his way to Bloomington’s Korean Methodist Church, the last killing during Smith’s two-state shooting spree.    
Each year at Hanukkah, Not In Our Town remembers its beginnings. More than 15 years ago, a year of racist violence came to a head one bitterly cold night when a brick was thrown through a six-year-old Jewish boy's bedroom window, where he had placed the family's Hanukkah menorah. The town rose as one to say, Not in Our Town, and a national movement was born. That story was  told in our first PBS film, Not In Our Town. Dozens followed, as our team traveled the country documenting the stories of community after community rising up against hate and prejudice with courage and persistence.
Eugene, OR: Students at the University of Oregon  have been up in arms since the Pacifica Institute started holding meetings on their campus. Pacifica Institute, deemed a white nationalist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, insists it is merely providing a forum for speakers with diverse views. Recent speakers the group brought to the U of Oregon have called Martin Luther King, Jr. a "communist dupe," denied the Holocaust, and called the Russian Revolution a Jewish conspiracy. At a meeting last December, the Nazi salute was given. Students have been protesting the group, both outside buildings where they appear and during meetings, demanding that they be banned from campus. University officials say they feel torn between the need to protect  free speech, and the anti-tolerance message Pacifica's speakers convey. One student who left the school over the group's presence told reporters: "I do not want to be on a campus where the president talks about diversity and inclusiveness but still allows a hate group on campus."