"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.
On Oct. 2, Stanford University’s Jewish community celebrated the first night of Sukkot, the harvest festival that commemorates the Biblical story of the Israelites living in booths in the desert after their exodus from Egypt. As is traditional during the eight-day holiday, Jewish students and faculty at the Palo Alto campus ate dinner inside a sukkah, a three-sided hut built to observe the holiday.