Recently, I got a text from a friend who lives in a rural part of central Massachusetts, down a long driveway. A swastika had been spray-painted at the foot of her street. She had no idea who did it; the symbol was a chilling reminder of the anonymous hatred that lurks even in quiet, supposedly safe places. Although her neighbors attempted to erase it, the hauntingly faded outlines remain.
These instances are numerous and often far more out in the open. In 2022, ADL tabulated 3,697 antisemitic incidents throughout the United States. This is a 36% increase from the 2,717 incidents tabulated in 2021 and the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979.
In this climate, it’s easy to become inured to this kind of hideousness. To paint over the ugliness and move along. But we can’t. We have to act as though every time is the worst time, that every incident is disgusting, to resist complacency. I talked to The Rashi School middle school dean Joni Fishman and ADL New England deputy regional director Peggy Shukur about how to do this, especially with kids, as incidents become more prevalent.