Last night, I checked the local news before going to bed. Two of the three top stories on detailed antisemitic incidents right here in South Florida. One focused on hate and violence among students playing in a soccer game between Scheck Hillel Community School, a Jewish school in Miami, and Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School, a Roman Catholic School, also in Miami. According to reports, the aggressive behavior displayed by students included antisemitic rhetoric directed at Hillel players, rhetoric that including “Heil Hitler” and “Hitler was right.” The other story detailed an antisemitic attack on a Jewish man in Dania Beach. According to, the man was riding his bike on Stirling Road when he was punched in the face and knocked to the ground by another man. Allegedly, the attacker heard the Jewish man speaking Hebrew and this him to attack the man and call him a “f-ing Jew.” To say these reported incidents are unacceptable is an understatement.
So is the fact that that local and state leaders here in Florida are trying to stop anti-hate programs, including programs that address antisemitism. Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Education questioned whether the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” violates Florida’s laws regarding “off-limit topics” like critical race theory and LGBTQ issues. The ADL has made it clear that their program is customized to meet the needs of each community and has nothing to do with things like Critical Race Theory. Broward School Board member, Brenda Fam, who stood with the Proud Boys at an anti-LGBTQ rally late last year, voted against Broward’s partnership with the ADL and the “No Place for Hate” program, saying “I firmly recommend we stay clear and we keep our hands clean.”
Antisemitism, racism, homophobia – all forms of hate – are, as the two articles I mentioned above capture – threatening our own community. Hate is more than messy – it is violent. Anti-hate programs must be a part of our schools as too many young people today are being raised without an understanding of people who are different from them. This lack of understanding is a breeding ground for hate. Ms. Fam wants to “keep our hands clean.” I assert our hands are already dirty from all the hate that is out there. I refuse to sit quietly as hands turn into weapons and words become threats in our schools, at our athletic events, and on our streets. This is the time to approach the hate head on and teach our kids and their families how to rise above the hate.

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