In response to the sharp rise in antisemitism in the U.S., the Milwaukee Jewish Federation joined forces with the national Shine a Light initiative to raise awareness about modern antisemitism, according to a news release.
The Federation sought to “shine a light” on antisemitism last month with “Hanukkah on the Hoan.” Each night of the holiday, the Federation shared video messages of support from local civic and faith leaders and to coincide with lighting arrangements for the Daniel W. Hoan Memorial Bridge to represent the eight candles of the Hanukkah menorah.
Antisemitic incidents in the U.S. increased 34% over the previous year, reaching the highest number on record since the ADL began tracking this in 1979. One in four American Jews report that they experienced hatred in the last year. In 2020, 57.5% of all religiously-motivated hate crimes were against Jews, who make up just 2% of the U.S. population.
In Wisconsin, reported antisemitic incidents are up 459% from 2015-2021. Antisemitic incidents at Wisconsin high schools and middle schools increased 80% from 2020 to 2021, while incidents on social media went up 30%, according to the Federation release.
“Antisemitism is sometimes called the canary in the coal mine because increases in antisemitism often are a sign that other forms of hate are on the rise,” said Milwaukee Jewish Federation President and CEO Miryam Rosenzweig. “By lighting Milwaukee’s most iconic bridge, we are shining a light on antisemitism and inviting our city to stand up against all forms of hatred.”
Local leaders offering daily Facebook video messages of support included: Ahmed Quereshi of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee; County Executive David Crowley; Cory Joe Biddle of Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce; and Ramona Tenorio of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
Federation’s corporate partner for Shine a Light on Antisemitism is Commissioner Emeritus Allan H. “Bud” and Sue Selig.
Confidentially report antisemitism at MilwaukeeJewish.org/ReportAntisemitism.