Antisemitism is not what I particularly wanted to be talking about right now, but the week's events have forced it back into the fore, and our reflection and action is now needed. While you won't be hearing stances about antisemitism from the bima during the holidays, let us not ignore this issue either. Not while a Community Statement from the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle claiming to be a "consensus statement" was released this week. An effort to block such claims of consensus and speak out with a different perspective has been circulated as an Open Letter to the Federation in response, and the authors are inviting individual signatories. Grappling with these developments may be unwanted, and yet, a feeling of obligation stirs in me. And, I ask you to grapple with these developments as well - consider joining me in signing the open letter.
We see that antisemitism is being debated all over the world right now. This week alone, the United Nations General Assembly released a report linking critique of Israel to antisemitism without even mentioning the rise of white nationalism in the US. The president of the United States was accused of using antisemitic tropes during his speech to the GA. And, while Bari Weiss released her book How to Fight Anti-Semitism earlier this month, this week Jewish Currents published a review of it from Judith Butler. Meanwhile, this summer, in locales from Vancouver to DC to London, public debates rage about how to define and legislate antisemitism.
It has been a lot to process while baking honey cake.
With local and global news on the topic pulling our gaze, Kadima has chosen to not endorse the Federation’s "Community Statement," and was not alone in making that choice. Fighting antisemitism is core to Kadima's founding principles and current actions, but for many reasons, the board officers could not support the Federation's Statement. Amidst my own hair pulling about this situation, I have chosen to wholeheartedly sign the open letter and reach out personally to my valued colleagues at the Federation. I encourage you to do the same.
Whatever your thoughts and feelings connected to these two local public articulations of antisemitism this week, more connection, relationship building, and analysis sharpening could go a long way in 5780. We will be working to provide and support spaces to connect and to sharpen our collective analysis at Kadima after the holidays and beyond.
Finally, as we enter the High Holidays, we may be reminded that antisemitism is both pervasive and very personal. As school, work, and most else around us fails to acknowledge these important days for our community, we are reminded that being Jewish (or non-Christian in any way) inside Christian hegemony takes a toll on so many of us. And, our physical safety and access is paramount and being addressed at Kadima for events and services in this season. Know that we face this all together, and may our collective resilience shine. Our ancestors, and the children of our children, are daring us.
On with the holidays.
L'shanah tovah u'metukah & tizku l'shanim rabot, ne'imot v'tovot,
PS -- We want to encourage inclusive community dialogue in a way that the Federation's process did not. Would you consider sharing your voice on antisemitism in the weeks ahead? Write an op ed, send me your thoughts, talk to your neighbors. While the Open Letter mentioned above is one such example of community engagement, we value all those articulations that already exist and those that continue to emerge aiming to fight antisemitism in the name of collective liberation. Let us keep the conversations going!
 I am particularly humbled by the words of Greta Thunberg at the U.N. Climate Action Summit this week. Speaking of the climate crisis, she closed her moving speech with "The eyes of all future generations are upon you...Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not." Clearly not speaking about antisemitism, her words have reverberated with me throughout the week and feel applicable to instances such as this where we find ourselves at existential crossroads. Read/watch in full.
 UN releases ‘unprecedented’ report linking anti-Semitism to BDS movement
 Trump accused of using antisemitic trope during UN speech
 Bari Weiss’s Unasked Questions
 What is Christian Hegemony?
 Many articulations of antisemitism from a collective liberation framework already exist. Here are just a few of note that have affected my current analysis: Jews for Racial and Economic Justice’s Understanding Antisemitism, The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere, by April Rosenblum, Why the Origins of Antisemitism Matters audio from “The Others” on WNYC radio, Why Criticism of Israel isn’t Antisemitism video from Al Jazeera+, Latin@s, Israel and Palestine: Understanding Anti-Semitism by Aurora Levins Morale, Treyf Podcast’s many episodes on antisemitism, and so so many more.