The Power of One to Make a Difference

By Melissa Garlick, Senior Director of Combating Antisemitism and Building Civic Engagement at Combined Jewish Philanthropies

I have dedicated my professional life to combatting antisemitism and hate and have realized that the starting place for this work is a hard acknowledgement that antisemitism can’t be solved with just one magic solution. With increasing incidents of antisemitism, violence, and division in our country, the feelings of despair can overwhelm and sometimes distract from the mission. But every day, individuals in our communities are choosing to use their power by lifting their voices, sharing their stories, building solidarity, and raising awareness.   

I am personally inspired by recent stories that highlight the power of one to make a difference in this work—including the bravery of Chanie Krinsky, who shared her story and her voice in NBC’s coverage on the rise of antisemitism in Massachusetts, and the determination of Arlington High School senior Cooper Katzman, who hiked 275 miles to raise money for the ADL and the fight against antisemitism. 

Each one of us has the power and the responsibility to take action in the collective work to combat antisemitism. We can draw inspiration and motivation from people like Chanie and Cooper as we strive toward a future where all Jewish people are able to live proudly and safely. 

Here are some action steps you can take to make a difference in fighting antisemitism: 

  1. Educate yourself and become a better advocate—knowledge is power. Do you know how to talk about and intervene with antisemitic tropes and myths? Do you know how to explain them and their impact on you? Check out the ADL’s Guide to Antisemitic Tropes and learn more.
  1. Raise awareness—use your own voice to elevate the problem of antisemitism and the impact on you and your community. Write in local outlets, engage in public conversations. 
  1. Know how to report antisemitic incidents
  1. Be a good ally—and remember, antisemitism is not only an attack on the Jews. Understand how antisemitism intersects and often is found with other “isms.” Build meaningful relationships across communities and reach out to others in times of need for solidarity.     
  1. Celebrate and find joy. Proudly displaying Jewish identity and finding times of joy are essential to the fight against antisemitism.
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