‘America is not hate’: Chabad of Grass Valley offers unity service to celebrate Shabbat, honor the fatally shot woman in Poway | TheUnion.com

‘America is not hate’: Chabad of Grass Valley offers unity service to celebrate Shabbat, honor the fatally shot woman in Poway


What: Unity Shabbat service

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Chabad of Grass Valley

To attend the service, please RSVP by calling 530-404-0020 or email chyena@JewishGV.com.

October brought the largest massacre against Jewish people on U.S. soil.

Last Saturday saw another attack against Jewish people. A San Diego shooter opened fire at the Chabad synagogue in Poway, California, killing one individual.

In response to the recent shooting, Rabbi Nochum Yusewitz of Chabad of Grass Valley will lead a Unity Shabbat service Friday free and open to non-members. The service will be honoring the memory of Lori Kaye, 60, who was fatally shot at the Chabad of Poway.

“It’s a reminder that there’s hate out there, and so close to home – a Chabad here in California,” said Yusewitz.

In response to the shooting, Yusewitz said he has received many calls and emails from people wanting to pray for Kaye and with the Jewish community.

“That is the real America,” said Yusewitz. “America is not hate. America is the many phone calls and messages I’m getting of support.”

Despite the local support, the Anti-Defamation League reported anti-Semitism to be at “near historic levels” with 1,879 incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault against the Jews in 2018.

On Monday, Gov .Gavin Newsom supported increasing funding for security at synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions that face potential hate-induced attacks.

Yusewitz said he will be stepping up security at Chabad of Grass Valley Friday. The rabbi urges people to continue openly practicing Judaism, and not to shy away from their religion due to fear.

“The fact that god created each of us means that each of us, no matter who we are, we are important,” he said.

Lori Kaye’s daughter, Hannah, said her deceased mother has already forgiven her shooter. The shooter’s family apologized for their son’s actions, calling it “our great shame.”

On the rise

Violent attacks against the Jewish community in the United States doubled last year, while overall attacks that also include vandalism and harassment remained near record-high levels, the Anti-Defamation League reported Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press, the Jewish civil rights group released its annual census of anti-Semitic incidents three days after a gunman opened fire in Poway.

The New York-based group counted 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents — either harassment, vandalism or physical assault — in 2018. That is a 5% decrease from the 1,986 incidents reported in 2017, but the third-highest total since ADL began tracking the data in the 1970s. The 2017 number marked a 57% increase over 2016 and was the highest tally ADL had counted in more than two decades.

ADL counted 39 cases of physical assaults involving 59 victims in 2018, up from 19 assaults and 21 victims in 2017. The 2018 tally includes the 11 people who were killed and two congregants wounded when a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October. It was the deadliest attack on Jews in the nation’s history.

Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO and national director, said he spent much of the weekend in California meeting and praying with the families of the shooting victims and other synagogue congregants. Greenblatt said it’s “hard to find much solace” in the new data.

“Unfortunately, the horrific tragedy in San Diego County reminds us that anti-Semitism is virulently strong,” he said.

In 2018, ADL counted 1,066 cases of harassment, defined as a situation in which a Jewish person or group of people “feel harassed by the perceived anti-Semitic words, spoken or written, or actions of another person or group.” Last year’s tally of harassment incidents was 5% higher than in 2017. The one category that experienced a decline was vandalism: The 774 incidents in 2018 represented a 19% drop from 2017.

ADL’s report says “known extremist groups or individuals inspired by extremist ideology” were responsible for 249 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, accounting for 13% of the total.

“This is the highest level of anti-Semitic incidents with known connections to extremists or extremist groups since 2004, when at least 128 incidents were the result of leaflet distributions by white supremacist groups,” the report adds.

The ADL report doesn’t address online anti-Semitism.

— Associated Press writers Michael Kunzelman and Amy Taxin contributed to this report.

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.

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