After the continued increase in anti-Asian hate in America and the deadly attacks on March 16, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia, which predominately targeted Asian American Pacific Islander women, JCRC distributed a letter of support for AAPI communities and secured signatures from Jewish organizations and leaders throughout Indiana. The letter below expresses the Jewish community’s commitment to addressing hate that harms people of AAPI heritage, and to creating spaces that include Jews who are AAPI.
May is both Asian American Pacific Islander Month and Jewish American Heritage Month. Throughout May, JCRC will uplift the voices of Jews whose heritage includes being Asian American Pacific Islander.
Dear Asian American & Pacific Islander Hoosiers,
On behalf of Jewish Hoosiers, we, the undersigned Jewish communal organizations, congregations, and leaders express our deepest condolences to Asian American & Pacific Islanders after the despicable and deadly attack in Atlanta on March 16. Such violence is antithetical to the American value of pluralism, even as anti-Asian hate has been a consistent and ugly part of American history.
As Jews, we know violence happens when xenophobic rhetoric is allowed to thrive unchecked. We know the pain of being scapegoated for society’s ills. We condemn the peddling of anti-Asian conspiracy theories and decry the increase in violence directed at those of Asian descent.
The Jewish community is committed to denouncing anti-Asian hate as it continues to rise throughout the United States and here in Indiana. We stand united with all members of AAPI communities, including many Jews of Asian descent who call our synagogues home.
Just one week before the attack in Atlanta, the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council proudly signed the Indiana Chapter of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum letter, which called on Governor Holcomb to combat xenophobia in the following ways:
- Take official action to recognize and condemn acts of racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian American persons, families, faith communities, businesses, and institutions.
- Implement procedures and programs to help Asian American persons, families, faith communities, businesses, and institutions if they are targeted by acts of discrimination and hate. Asian American Hoosiers need a systematic and accessible mechanism for reporting hate incidents and receiving concrete support. We urge you to pursue restorative justice-based solutions, rather than escalating law enforcement, to prevent further incidents.
- Establish a statewide advisory committee on Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs to serve as a direct communications pipeline between Indiana’s Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the Indiana Governor’s office. These types of commissions have proven to be one of the most effective ways to prevent hate incidents.
Forming a resilient and secure community by establishing relationships and expanding empathy is one of the most effective ways to combat stereotypes, bigotry, and identity-based violence. Jewish communities throughout Indiana are dedicated to building meaningful ways to engage with AAPI Hoosiers. And we are committed to giving voice to Jews whose identities are multifaceted, including Asian American Pacific Islanders.
We see and hear you, and we stand in solidarity with you.
Indiana Board of Rabbis
Arthur M. Glick JCC
Eric H. Koehler, CEO
CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Terre Haute
Leah Simpson, Director
Congregation Achduth Vesholom, Fort Wayne
Rabbi Meir Bargeron
Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis
Rabbi Dennis C. Sasso
Rabbi Jennifer R. Greenspan
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Cantor Melissa Cohen
Congregation Beth Shalom, Bloomington
Rabbi Brian Besser
Congregation Beth Shalom, Carmel
Rabbi Stanley Halpern, Rabbi Emeritus
Judy Weitzman, President
Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, Carmel
Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow
Hadassah, Greater Indianapolis
Hasten Hebrew Academy, Indianapolis
Hillel at Butler University, Indianapolis
Hillel Foundation at Indiana University
Rabbi Sue Silberberg
Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council
Lindsey B. Mintz, Executive Director
Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne
Jaki Schreier, Executive Director
Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis
Debra Barton Grant, CEO
Jewish Federation of Northwestern Indiana
Aida Nozick, Executive Director
Purdue University Hillel
Melissa Frey, Incoming Executive Director
Philip Schlossberg, MSW
Sinai Temple of Michigan City
Rabbi Suzanne Griffel
Temple Adath B’nai Israel, Evansville
Rabbi Gary Mazo
Gloria Schwartz Mazo, Education Director
Temple Beth El, Munster
Rabbi Leonard Zukrow
Temple Beth-El, South Bend
Rabbi Karen Companez
United Hebrew Congregation, Terre Haute
Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity
Libby Anderson, CEO
American Jewish Committee (AJC), Chicago Regional Office
Edot Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity and Racial Justice Collaborative
Steven Carr, Director of The Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Purdue University Fort Wayne
Bob Feferman, Community Relations Director, Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley, South Bend
Rabbi Aaron Spiegel, Indianapolis
Rabbi Lew Weiss, Indianapolis