By Melissa Garlick, Senior Director of Combating Antisemitism and Building Civic Engagement at Combined Jewish Philanthropies
As we prepare to welcome 2024, it’s difficult to reflect on the last 12 months in the context of our work to combat antisemitism and anti-Zionism. We experienced the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, a surge of antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and the realities of a society that didn’t adequately understand and respond to our trauma. But in 2023, we also laid the important foundational work to create longstanding and meaningful impact against antisemitism in Greater Boston. In 2023, and with the partnership of organizations and community stakeholders, CJP:
- Launched our new Fighting Antisemitism and anti-Zionism Initiative, grounded in our 5-Point Plan to combat antisemitism.
- Lifted up the stories of those who experienced antisemitism and stood with allies to call attention to the impacts of antisemitism.
- Launched CJP’s Face Jewish Hate campaign as a public-facing awareness, education, and mobilization campaign to fight back against antisemitism at the local Greater Boston level. Local dignitaries, community allies, and notable members of the Jewish community attended the campaign launch in May, including Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey; Boston Mayor Michelle Wu; Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston; Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell; Massachusetts State Treasurer and Receiver General Deborah Goldberg; and chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and founder of the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism Robert Kraft.
- Created a digital resource hub for our community with resources and toolkits to combat antisemitism on FaceJewishHate.org.
- Funded a new position at JCRC Boston, Director of Educational Partnerships, to address antisemitism and anti-Zionism in K-12 schools.
- Provided critically needed resources to partner Hillels and Hillel Council of New England in the wake of the surge of antisemitism and anti-Zionism on college campuses.
- Moved forward important conversations between Black and Jewish civic leaders in Boston around allyship.
- Invested in innovative partnerships and training with Project Shema to bring tools to the community on how to talk about antisemitism and anti-Zionism with diverse stakeholders.
- Convened organizational partners on antisemitism in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel to coordinate resources and workshop needs.
As we enter 2024, CJP is growing this work. We are expanding the staffing of this initiative while we lean into a new strategy to build deeper relationships with civic leaders across Greater Boston, including corporations and businesses. Although the problem of antisemitism can easily feel overwhelming and daunting to tackle, we’re laying the groundwork for long-term impact. Together, we’re ensuring that the Greater Boston Jewish community is coordinated and strong in our response heading into this new year and into our future.