Thank You for Pushing Back on Anti-Semitism in 2020
2020 showed us that even when we have a common thing to fight, a few people still take time to hate. It’s depressing to read the news sometimes.But there’s been a lot of push back on this trend of hate, with the Black Lives Matter movement, the awareness of the diversity within Judaism, bringing more Ethiopian Jews into Israel, the wide adoption of the IHRA.  We are also doing our part with the launch of Take Action, bringing you ways that you can push back on anti-Semitism by building bridges to your neighbors of all faiths, backgrounds and cultures.Looking at this list, I am struck by the variety of actions we can take, the different layers of support and love we give to each other to reject hate. We help the next generation, we support diversity in our communities, we celebrate and remember our tragedies together.  While these actions seem small, they change someone’s life.We’re looking forward to Taking Action with you in 2021 and to continue making our corner of the world a little better.
           – Marnie Fienberg, Editor

Take Action’s Top 5 Ways We Fought Back Against Anti-Semitism in 2020

Based on the issues that you opened the most, asked questions about or sent your stories, here are the Top 5 Ways to Push Back against anti-Semitism in 2020.

#5 Tie between “The B’nai Mitzvah that Pushed Back Anti-Semitism” and “Is Your Alma Mater Supportive?”
The next generation is important to all of us. It’s clear that supporting and empowering them as they come up against anti-Semitism in their lives is important to you. In 2021, we will be focusing on more ways to address this issue.

The B’nai Mitzvah that Pushed Back Anti-Semitism is an article by our first B’nai Mitzvah, outlining why she took on 2 for Seder as her Bat Mitzvah project, both to honor her Grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, and to take action against modern anti-Semitism.  Her story shows how we must empower the kids in our lives to fight back against anti-Semitism as positive ambassadors, not hide them from it.

In 2021, look for the launch of our formal B’nai Mitzvah program so others can follow Gabby.

Is Your Alma Mater Supportive? was a reminder to quickly check your university’s news and policies regarding anti-Semitism before you donate. We interviewed Daniel Leshaw from our partner Hillel for details.  While Universities went mostly virtual this year, there were still too many examples of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism making students’ lives even more challenging on campus.

In 2021 we’ll update this story in the summer as campus-life continues to evolve. 

#4 Take a Leap of Food
North Americans like to try different foods. Take Action looks at this as a way to explore, find commonalities and to support our neighbors of different faiths, backgrounds and cultures.  Trying new foods is always a gateway into understanding a culture. During COVID, supporting these small businesses is a way of preserving our own North American diverse culture.  

“Not only is OM in Potomac, MD (my favorite Indian Restaurant) still in business, but the owner has partnered with local groups on Facebook and offered specials to those who support him during this difficult time. This personal connection means more of his customers are asking him questions about his Indian culture when picking up their food. He increases the neighborhood connections he has and includes his favorite dishes in everyone’s orders for free. We never would have tried some of the yummy dishes had he not included them in our order!”  – Update from 2 for Seder Co-Founder Lauren Kline

#3 Singing in the Sukkah
Celebrating the rare good times in 2020 was something you wanted to do together. This issue reviewed our joyous Singing in the Sukkah event in October where we virtually invited both Jews and our neighbors of all faiths to join us in the Sukkah for a unique night of singing and learning.  Together we celebrate joy and thankfulness. 
#2 Today is About Love and Remembering
We will never forget.  The Take Action newsletter and 2 for Seder project were created in the wake of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Shooting. This year at the 2-year commemoration of the Shooting, we encouraged everyone, especially those outside Pittsburgh, to commemorate those who were taken from us by participating in a Jewish activity including a mitzvah (a good deed), studying Torah (the “Old Testament”) and/or lighting a candle.In 2021 look for more ways to remember our lost ones.#1 Listening to Jews of Color
This early Take Action issue came out when BLM was ramping up and our fellow Jews of Color were getting a long-overdue spotlight on the racism within the North American Jewish world.  We wanted to see the current racism issue through their eyes – and so did you.Since this spotlight, we’ve participated in many virtual joyous events with Jews of color for Shabbat, the High Holidays and Sukkot. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of work to do – Twitter is still awash with the frustrations of many Jews of Color hitting continuous walls of racism, including “defining” who is a Jew of Color.In 2021 we must reach out our hands to all of our fellow Jews.  Encourage your synagogue or other Jewish organization to reflect on and create events that welcome or highlight all Jews of Color, including Sephardi and Ethiopians Jews. We will have a number of stories in 2021 to keep a spotlight on inclusion within the Jewish community.
Thank YOU for fighting Anti-Semitism in 2020
It’s a good thing to support professionals who have dedicated their careers to studying, tracking and calling out anti-Semitism.  But it’s not enough – they need our help.  We must each take an active hand to push back in our own circles, at work, at school, in our neighborhoods.  During COVID, my neighbors have gotten many weekly challahs, drank with us in the socially distanced Sukkah and shared many other experiences. They’ve helped me learn more about their family and religious customs, including learning how to make kimchi pancakes!These little acts of respect, sharing and caring not only build a stronger and more resilient neighborhood, but help ensure this is a safe place for all our children.  Join Take Action on this journey, continue what you are doing and find new ways to build bridges. No effort is too small.We’re stronger together