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Teens and Parents Wrestle with Anti-Semitism

By January 10, 2019March 10th, 2023JumpSpark

by Nina Rubin, first published by Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta ››


“After Pittsburgh, I sometimes I feel unsafe as a Jew.”

 “My neighbor believes that all Jews are liberals.”

“My friends can’t understand why I don’t believe in Jesus.”

Those are a few of the comments we heard at JumpSpark’s Atlanta Anti-Semitism Summit: Navigate, Communicate, Advocate, a joint program with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Temple Sinai in partnership with more than a dozen Jewish organizations.

Sparked by the massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, and the serious uptick in anti-Semitic incidents in our area and around the world, the Summit unpacked what we mean when we talk about anti-Semitism. Separate breakout groups for teens and parents focused on how to communicate within our families about anti-Semitism, and how to report and respond to bias, hatred and injustice, whether at school, online, or in the community. 

“Until recently, I rarely heard from parents about anti-Semitic incidents,” said Temple Sinai’s Rabbi Brad Levenberg. “This year it has skyrocketed. People report everything from subtle bias to overt acts. Parents want to know if they are overreacting, but I usually find their instincts are spot on.”

Nearly 200 parents and teens participated in the Summit, and follow-up discussions are planned. Kelly Cohen, Director of JumpSpark — Atlanta’s initiative for Jewish teen engagement, said, “As we see from the large crowd that came to the Summit, when we create programs and opportunities that speak authentically to the needs of our community, people come!” •

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