FBI report reinforces trend that American Jews are ‘top target’ for hate crimes
“Despite our relatively small population, these attacks show no signs of slowing down as our community was targeted the most among religiously motivated crimes,” said Michael Master, national director and CEO of the Secure Community Network.
By Faygie Holt, JNS.org
The latest FBI report on hate crimes shows that the number of incidents continues to rise year to year in the U.S., with 7,759 hate crimes reported in 2020 as compared to 7,517 in 2019, but with fewer crimes categorized as “religiously motivated.”
“Preventing and responding to hate crimes and hate incidents is one of the Justice Department’s highest priorities. The FBI Hate Crime Statistics for 2020 demonstrates the urgent need for a comprehensive response,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland upon the report’s publication Aug. 30. “Last year saw a 6.1 percent increase in hate crime reports, and in particular, hate crimes motivated by race, ethnicity and ancestry, and by gender identity.
“These numbers confirm what we have already seen and heard from communities, advocates and law enforcement agencies around the country,” he continued, adding, “And these numbers do not account for the many hate crimes that go unreported.”
Anti-Jewish bias accounted for 676 incidents — 57 percent of the 1,174 religiously motivated hate crimes in 2020 — aligning with the annual finding that the Jewish community is disproportionately targeted by religiously motivated crimes, given that Jews account for less than 2 percent of the U.S. population. The total number of incidents is down from the 953 anti-Jewish hate crimes reported in 2019, but also occurred a time of national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This report reminds us all that the Jewish community remains a top target for hate crimes,” said Michael Master, national director and CEO of the Secure Community Network, which describes itself as the “official safety and security organization” of the Jewish community in North America. “Despite our relatively small population, these attacks show no signs of slowing down as our community was targeted the most among religiously motivated crimes. We must continue to work to be as prepared and secure as possible so the Jewish community can continue to thrive.”
In other notable findings, more than 120 incidents of anti-Jew hatred in New York State were categorized as destruction, damage or vandalism of property, while 37 incidents were “simple assault.” Of 116 incidents in California, nine were classified as “aggravated assault,” eight as “simple assault” and 80 incidents were destruction, damage or vandalism. In New Jersey, 38 percent of anti-Jew incidents were classified as intimidation, and 8 percent of all bias incidents targeted Jews in the Garden State occurred at either a park or playground, with another 14 percent occurring at an elementary or secondary school.
“Every hate crime is heinous and unacceptable, no matter its target, and we must stand resolutely with any targeted group. Yet the fact that American Jews — who make up no more than 2 percent of the U.S. population — are the targets of nearly 60 percent of religious bias crimes should set off alarm bells,” said David Harris, CEO of American Jewish Committee. “For decades, we have cautioned that anti-Semitism is a rising threat and that it comes from multiple sources, including the far right, the hard left, and Islamist extremists. Fighting Jew-hatred in America must become a national priority and it must be a bipartisan and cross-communal effort.”
Haydee Ferrer (Ruth Bat Abraham and Ali Ferrer (Eli Ben Abraham) on their conversion granted by Rabbi Stephen Texon, Rabbi Manuel Armon, Rabbi Hector Epelbaum , Rabbi Mario Rojzman and Rabbi Ed Farber.
"Agradecidos estamos con el eterno Dios que nos permitió alcanzar nuestra conversión que teníamos gran anhelo en nuestros corazones. Agradecido también de todas las personas que nos ayudaron y estuvieron con nosotros en este momento tan especial de nuestra vida. La experiencia fue única, llegar al momento más anhelado desde muchos años en nuestra vida, será recordado por siempre.
Desde hace 14 años nos hemos esforzado, estudiando y practicando el judaísmo desde una perspectiva personal, aprendiendo desde nuestra casa, celebrando semanalmente el Shabbat y los sábados acudiendo a la sinagoga, cada semana. Durante la presentación con los Rabinos, surgió una pregunta referente a por qué estábamos o habíamos acogido el judaísmo como nuestra práctica religiosa. A la cual respondimos: Es acertado decir que lo que hace al pueblo judío una nación es la Tora, sin Tora no tenemos identidad. El eterno Dios nos promete grandes recompensas, si escuchamos las palabras de la Tora y observamos las Mitzvot. Finalmente alcanzamos la conversión, lo que nos convierte desde ahora en judíos".
Haydee & Ali Ferrer
• Monitor miamidade.gov/emergency, your television, radio, internet for weather updates and instructions from public safety officials
• Stay indoors and have your emergency kit and supplies on hand
• If flooding threatens your home, turn off electricity in the main breaker
• Electricity can travel throughout outside wires, avoid using corded phones during storm
• Use flashlights not candles or kerosene lamps as your light source
• Lightning can travel through plumbing, do not bathe or shower during storm
• Keep children informed, entertained and calm to avoid stress
• If you lose power turn off all major appliances
• Do not go outside during the eye of the storm. The calm may be brief before hurricane – force winds return
On May 20th the Cuban Hebrew Congregation hosted an event to celebrate Cuba Independence Day and how the Jewish people participated in the Cuban War of independence. It was an evening of education and cultural. The evening started with the famous humor of Chef Pepin a long time friend in our community. Rabbi Texon gave the invocation and delighted the audience with his rendition of Granada, which was given a standing ovation. We would like to thank our speakers Prof. Marcos Antonio Ramos, Ms. Ivi Torres Morales and Prof. Raul Moncarz. After the speakers we had a mini operatic concert with Soprano Kiley Hernandez, Florida Opera Prima accompanied by Julio Lopez Martin, Guitarist. The night continued with Happy Hour of Cuba Libres, maracas and dancing to the Latin beat of Tomasito. We would like to thank our sponsors Versailles, Sierra, Eye Desire Eye Care, Florida Opera, Latin Café , Royal Palm Barber Shop, Academia de la Historia, Nancy Brook, Photographer Roberto Koltun and the Women’s League. The Jewish – Cuban community would like to thank the one person who has made this event at all possible Professor Raul Moncarz. This event will continue to grow each year. We have started our social events and we invite you to join us at our next one.
CHCM will keep you up to date and informed before, during and after throughout the hurricane season from June 1st thru November 30th. For 2021, a likely range of 13-20 named storms (winds of 39mph) of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds 74 mph or higher) including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3,4 or 5 with winds of 111mph or higher). We must be prepared.
It’s important that you keep hand written phone numbers on hand such as, your family, Emergency 911, Traffic Information 511, Florida Power and Light 1-800-4-468-8243. For those who will not be able to evacuate on your own yu can contact in advance the Emergency and Evacuation Program at miamidade.gov/hurricane or register on line by calling 311. Next week you will receive information to assist you before a storm, which will include disaster kit check list, home preparation, evacuations and pet safety.
Crossing the Narrow Bridge…
There is a quote from a very famous Jewish sage who lived from1772 until 1810 named Rabbi Nachman which is: Kol ha-olom kulo gesher tsar me’od; v’haikar lo lifacheyed klal. It is translated as, “The entire world is a narrow bridge; the essential thing is not to fear at all.”
This past year has been difficult for many of us – it has definitely been a narrow bridge to cross. We have had to make many adjustments to our lives as we have feared the possibility of contracting a life threatening disease. We have all been walking on this narrow bridge, trying to be careful not to tumble off as we take precise and calculated steps trying to focus on what’s at the end of this bridge and what awaits us on the other side.
Slowly but surely in a safe manner we are reaching the other side. COVID in the state of Florida is getting under control with fewer deaths and increase of the vaccination which is easily available now in many places without appointments. We are able to gather in small groups with family and friends, when not too long ago we were isolated. Restaurants, malls and theaters are opening up with safe guidelines. Sporting and concerts events are opening up as well. We are still not like we were before but we are not frozen in place as we were in 2020.
As we continue to go forward and reach the other side, we do look back and are thankful to GOD for showing us compassion – to think of others before ourselves, to be grateful – not to take even the smallest thing for granted and strength – to have courage, not to be afraid or give up. The Jewish people have crossed many bridges throughout history and have made it through with the faith of GOD.
That faith has showed the world if you are determined and not afraid, we can do anything. We must focus on what we will attain once we get to our destination. Through the journey beginning, middle and towards the future ahead you’re Rabbi, your synagogue and your community is here for you. You can always find comfort, joy, happiness and love with us.
It is time once again to be socially and culturally connected to your community. Cuban Hebrew Congregation / Temple Beth Shmuel continue with its traditional and new events. We invite you to be part of our famous Mother’s Day Program, with a Mexican theme, Cuba Independence Day Celebration, Father’s Day Program with a Hawaiian theme and our big CHCM 60thAnniversary Gala.
Let’s continue to cross the bridge …….. together.
“Physically distanced, spiritually connected.” Many synagogues are using this phrase to describe how they continue to function and connect with their members. It may sound like an easy task, but it isn’t. It takes hard work, time, imagination, creativity and effort. Thank you to our Rabbi, office staff and volunteers who are keeping us connected. Most temples are beginning to open for the public to physically attend services and events. We have been open with all the safe guidelines in place since February. We have been able to share Shabbat, holiday and cultural events together and we will continue to do so. Please join us for Shabbat services and observing the yahrzeits of you love ones or honoring a special occasions. We are getting ready for the famous Mother’s and Father’s Day program. Every year it is a huge success with special surprises, this year will not be any different. I look forward to seeing you and enjoying these events together.
What Blessing should you say when you get the COVID-19 vaccine?
This moment felt far off at the beginning of the pandemic, but it has arrived. Both Moderna and Pfizer have produced COVID-19 vaccines to immunized 100 million people in the first quarter of 2021.
Here are some blessings that you should consider; The shehecheyanu blessing, thanking God who brought us to this day; She’asah li nes bamakom hazeh, who has done a miracle; and Shenatan michochmato I’basar v’adam, who has given of His wisdom to flesh and blood.
What do you say upon receiving the vaccine that one day lead to communal life again? To bench gomel on the Shabbat after receiving the vaccine. Gomel is a prayer said when one has come through a harrowing threat of life. It is received by the congregation and responded to by the full community, each person asking for more good to come to the one who has survived.
The vaccine will allow people in isolation to soon reintegrate with their family and friends, there will be much to celebrate. One must offer words of praise and blessing to Hashem upon the amazing event of receiving the vaccine!
Dear Members and Friends,
As the end of this challenging year 2020 approaches I want to express what an honor and privilege it has been to be the President of Cuban Hebrew Congregation these past 3 years. It was my mission to preserve our history and legacy with the knowledge that there was much work to be done. With the help of our beautiful loyal members we know our vision and plans will persevere and become reality.
When I took over the Presidency in 2018 the Temple was in distress financially, our properties were lacking in proper maintenance and our facilities were underused. It was overwhelming. It was then I decided to focus full steam ahead to turn this situation around and put our beloved Congregation back on its feet. This would then enable us to move forward with our many plans and vision.
We are once again financially sound which allows for the proper care of our properties, use our facilities to its fullest potential and accomplish plans for our future. It was a monumental task to restore our properties but I’m happy to say we now have qualified, licensed and certified companies performing for us in a timely skillful manner and in many cases at a cost saving to the Temple.
We also hired a first rate caterer Shaike. Prior to the Pandemic our fabulous caterer was booking many large events, including professional and business conferences. We’re already planning for future events once acceptable.
The Yizkor book was incredibly successful this past year, spearheaded by Becky Kobrowski. The memory of our departed family members was more than ever in the forefront, with much love “We remember them”...
There have been many accomplishments these past 3 years too many to mention in this President’s farewell message. I must mention that I could not have accomplished them without the support and help of our Board members and office staff. Volunteers such as Becky Kobrowski-Cohen our Executive VP who works tirelessly both in our administration and in planning incredibly successful events and Gena Gutman our Treasurer who helps me review our financials and find additional avenues for improvement. Our Rabbi Stephen Texon and Rebbetzin Nancy Texon, Vice President of Women’s League, have both done a great job with our spiritual side and have supported our initiatives and members especially during these Pandemic times.
Many accolades and thanks to our office staff, Avi Ashkenazi and Marivi Leander, our devoted and outstanding employees, could not run the operations of the Temple without their help.
Our Board members Rosita Boruchin, Raul Moncarz, Gladys Sapayo and Gaby Oleksnianski whose input, support and advice enabled us to move forward with confidence and get the Temple “back on its feet”. Their support and love helped us immeasurably through some difficult and challenging times.
Looking towards the future I would like to introduce our new President for 2021, Gaby Oleksnianski, a long time loyal dedicated member and current Vice President on our Board of Directors. The Oleksnianski family have been devoted members of Cuban Hebrew Congregation for many years. Gaby is a successful business owner who has the understanding and capability to continue in the trajectory we have embarked on, to build upon the success of the Congregation and implement our vision for the future.
I will remain in a supportive position to the President and will be there during the transition to assist as needed. Many congratulations to Gaby Oleksnianski, who is dedicated to the preservation of the legacy of Cuban Hebrew Congregation and to its future. Let’s welcome our new President Gaby Oleknianski with best wishes for great success with his term as President.
Much Love to all, Shabbat Shalom, Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2021 New Year.
Many blessings, stay safe,
Cuban Hebrew Congregation 2018-2020
Gay Pride or LGBT Pride is the promotion of self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as a social group. Pride is opposed to shame and social stigma.
HISTORY OF PRIDE MONTH
In New York on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff and neighborhood residents rioting. Among many leaders of the riot were black, Trans, bisexual, gay men and women. This lasted 6 days, the message was clear, protesters demanded the establishment of places where LGBT and people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear or arrest.
Pride Month is largely credited as being started by bisexual activist Brenda Howard, known as “The Mother of Pride.” Brenda organized Gay Pride Week, this eventually morphed into what we know now as the New York City Pride March. Today the biggest International Gay Pride Parade is in Telaviv, Israel. Miami Beach is the host to the world known Gay Parade with weeklong activities.
The famous rainbow flag came about when gay politician, Harvey Milk asked a talented designer friend, Gilbert Baker, to design an all-encompassing symbol to take to the San Francisco Pride March in 1978. This flag is used today universally as a welcome sign.
Bill Clinton was the first US President to officially recognize Pride Month in 1999 and 2000. Then, from 2009-2016 Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month.
In getting ready to re- open for Shabbat services we have complied with City of Miami Beach ordinance, Miami Dade County Emergency Order 23-20, Faith Base Task Force and CDC. We will be opened Saturday, May 30, 2020 for Shavuot.
• Implement procedure to ensure all participants remain 6 feet apart
• Facial covering MUST be worn by congregants or they may NOT enter building.
• Provide alcohol base hand sanitizer.
• Provide disinfected wipes
• Provide gloves
• Sanitize bathrooms
• There will be NO hugs, kiss, shaking hands or moving around during services.
• Participants must reserve in advance by phone or email in order to attend. This will allow us to limit the number of attendees.
We will start with 10-12 people. If you have not reserved you will not be let in. We will not open to the Public at this time.
• Comply with 50% occupancy restriction as we move forward
• Refrain from gathering before and after services including food service.
• There will be NO sit down Kiddush time. The Women’s League has prepared Kiddush To Go bags.
• There will be NO touching of the Torah except for the Rabbi while conducting service.
• Aliyots will be given and done by standing up directly from your seat.
No one will approach the bima except for the Rabbi.
• All prayer books used during services will be placed in the back table to be sanitized.
• After services Tallits and Kippot are to be dropped in a green box to be sanitized.
• No challah bread will be offered. A symbolic blessing will be said
• For the wine, disposable mini cups will be used. After drinking they are to be disposed in a no touch waste bin.
• There will be an orderly entrance and exit of service.
Doors will open at a certain time and they will close at a certain time. Doors will NOT open once services have started.
If anyone has symptoms of fever, cough, sniffles or weakness they should not leave their home to attend services. They will be asked to leave. The Rabbi will follow up with them at a later time.
As the President of Cuban Hebrew Congregation I must comment on the recent headlines and articles that were circulated among many Jewish publications regarding the state and future of Cuban Hebrew Congregation.
A reporter who seems to be quite negative in her view of our Congregation called our Rabbi out of the blue and showed up on our doorstep on a Saturday while we were conducting our Shabbat services. She showed up late but sat for the remainder of the services, she also took part in our kiddush following services. At the end of services she was quite insistent and "pushy" about an interview right there and then and proceeded to turn on her recording device which she manipulated on and off at will. My protestations of it being Shabbat and she can come during the week fell on deaf ears. She claimed this is the only opportunity she had available as she was leaving town and was expected someplace else. By the way she never interviewed the Rabbi which we thought was her purpose for contacting him in the first place.
Little did we know and now after publishing her infamous headlines that her intentions were less than honorable. I requested that she send us the article prior to publication which she did not do and which we find unprofessional and untrustworthy. This conduct on her part should have been an indication that she was not upfront about her purpose for coming to our Temple and she meant to do us harm.
Let me assure our friends and Jewish community that the headlines of our "struggling" and "future in jeopardy" and of our “premature demise” are greatly exaggerated and unfounded. It is true that at one time under different leadership we were suffering but NOT NOW. The truth is that our Congregation is doing better than ever. Under this current Administration and Board of Directors we are moving forward and finally are starting to see the "light at the end of the tunnel".
After doing many improvements to the Temple and together with our new exclusive world renowned Chef and Kosher Caterer Shaike LLC, Venue2020 we are proud to say that we are again booking weddings, bar mitzvahs, conferences, tours, concerts and other major events with maximum participation and success. Not everything is about membership numbers or if our congregation has still many elderly congregants. They are people also and deserve respect and not the condescending and dismissive attitude exhibited in the article.
The NEW Cuban Hebrew Congregation is moving in a new direction and expanding our horizons. We are focusing on becoming a Learning Center and we have much interest developing in this direction. Our facilities are perfect for it.
I want to reassure our friends and members that the "State of the Union" of our beloved Congregation is in great shape. Our finances are finally solid and our future looks bright. The finances of our Temple were never discussed with this reporter so where she got this information must be from parties who do not believe in our Congregation.
Let me further assure everyone that Cuban Hebrew Congregation is NOT FOR SALE now or in the near future. If that ever becomes something the Board of Directors wants to entertain we will let our community know.
All the rumors and innuendos as a result of the headlines and this article are just plain “Lashon Hara”. It is propagating unpleasant and harmful facts which is forbidden and a serious sin in the Jewish tradition. Please think before you speak and if you have any questions related to the article or our status, feel free to call the Temple office at 305-534-7213 but do not speculate on what is going on. You can speak with myself, Becky or any Board Member.
Join us for Shabbat Services and our Kiddush, we promise you will enjoy it.
Have a Blessed Shabbat. Shabbat Shalom,
With much love, Your President
Cuban Hebrew Congregation has just acquired 10 cemetery lots in the beautiful Mount Sinai Cemetery located at 1125 N.W. 137th St. [Opa-Locka Boulevard], Miami, FL 33168.
These lots will not be available for long.
If you would like to purchase a cemetery lot please contact Becky Cohen @ 305-534-7213
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc.
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc. 1700 Michigan Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139 US
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