Atlanta synagogue finds new way to approach antisemitism in new initiative

Addressing Antisemitism Initiative is training sessions for teens and parents to talk about the best ways to approach antisemitism founded by Rabbi Bradley Levenberg.

Downtown Atlanta (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Downtown Atlanta
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

With antisemitism on the rise in the United States, it comes as no surprise when a Jewish synagogue is trying to find new ways to raise awareness. The Temple Sinai synagogue in Sandy Springs, Georgia, started a new way to approach antisemitism.

Rabbi Bradley Levenberg found a way to put together training sessions for teens and parents to talk about the best ways to approach and respond to antisemitism in a new initiative, Addressing Antisemitism Initiative.

"By now we are all aware that there has been an alarming rise over recent years of acts of antisemitism. Just a few months ago, reports surfaced of swastikas being drawn on bathroom walls in school and of zoom bombing services and educational programs sponsored by synagogues and Jewish institutions, to say nothing of the increase in antisemitic statements face-to-face or through social media and other online forums," Temple Sinai wrote on their site.

"Add to this list more subtle acts that, candidly, some of us think may be antisemitic but are not certain and the use of the word 'alarming' seems hardly sufficient."

"Some of our kids feel more comfortable confronting and some of our kids feel uncomfortable doing that,"

Rabbi Bradley Levenberg

Antisemitism on the rise

 Antisemitic graffiti depicting three hanged people and the words ''no mercy for Jews''. (credit: JCRC OF GREATER WASHINGTON (DC)) Antisemitic graffiti depicting three hanged people and the words ''no mercy for Jews''. (credit: JCRC OF GREATER WASHINGTON (DC))

A tenth-grade student in Atlanta told Atlanta News First that she had recently experienced antisemitism for the first time while at school.

"I was walking down the hallway and there were two kids behind me and one was like 'so you really hate the Jews?'" she said. "And the other one was like 'yeah, it's because of that post, isn't it?'"

"Some of our kids feel more comfortable confronting and some of our kids feel uncomfortable doing that," Rabbi Levenberg told Atlanta News First. "So our teens were able to hear from each other and develop some strategies."

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), antisemitism in Atlanta has doubled throughout 2022 since 2021, with the most attacks being after Kanye West's "death con-3" tweet in September.

"Temple Sinai has long celebrated our relationship with the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, two organizations that are uniquely positioned in the community to document and respond to antisemitism," Temple Sinai continued on their site. "We've held forums, had guest speakers, trained our students in response strategy and more. We are proud of the resources supplied by both the ADL and the AJC and they have indeed been rather helpful.

"Temple Sinai recently established a more strategic approach to antisemitism that includes education, advocacy and ritual recognition."