Jewish leaders say anti-semitism is growing problem

Local News

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – The CEO of the Greater Dayton Jewish Federation says the deadly California synagogue shooting highlights the reality of growing anti-semitism and a rise in violence.

On Saturday, a 19-year-old man opened fire at a synagogue outside of San Diego, killing one and injuring three others.

Cathy Gardner, the Greater Dayton Jewish Federation CEO, said when she heard about the recent shooting, she was absolutely stunned that another mass shooting targeted a house of worship.

“It saddened me terribly because the next day we were going to be remembering all of those who perished in the Holocaust due to hate, due to anti-semitism,” said Gardner.

Gardner said this follows a nationwide increase in anti-semitism, and it is devastating the local Jewish community.

Saturday’s shooting comes six months after a synagogue in Pittsburgh was also targeted.

“In Pittsburgh, one of our friends, one of our community members, lost a dear friend who had stood up in her wedding,” said Gardner. “This past weekend, the Rabbi is uncle to one of our community members.”

Gardner said seeing this alarming trend, here locally they are focusing on two aspects – first safety and security. 

She said they have been speaking with local and national law enforcement about best safety protocol, while also talking with legislators to make sure funding for building and safety upgrades are possible.

“We have a security committee whose job is to make sure that everyone is getting the same level of information as well as educating,” said Gardner. “We have had seminars on active shooters unfortunately.”

Their second goal – combatting anti-semitism through coalitions and interfaith partnerships.

Gardner said they accomplish that by hosting seminars and events throughout the year, targeted to unity and understanding.

Gardner said in fact they are partnering with the NAACP for a picnic at McIntosh Park on May 25.

For more information on their events, click here.

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