PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Leaders in the local Jewish community say despite an alarming rate of hate crimes and anti-Semitic attacks nationally, they have received ongoing support from Rhode Island religious and community leaders, elected officials, and law enforcement.
In the most recent incident, a man attacked a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home north of New York City late Saturday – stabbing and wounding five people before fleeing in a vehicle, police said.
The Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island said it will not let these attacks stop them from celebrating their faith.
“We want to reassure the local Jewish community of our on-going efforts focused on security and the strong relationships we have forged with local law enforcement who continue to be exceptional and supportive partners,” said Rabbi Sarah Mack, president of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island. “Hanukkah is the very celebration of human triumph over religious persecution and the spirit of this holiday inspires us to continue to stand against hatred and oppression.”
Mack said the Board will work with local leaders in the new year to tackle anti-Semitism.
“Rhode Island was founded on religious tolerance. Now is the time for action to defend this core value, for Jews and for all Rhode Islanders, regardless of background or identity,” Make said. “Early in the new year, we will host a convening of local and state leaders to develop clear action steps we can take to root out anti-Semitism and hate in our state. Together, we can ensure Rhode Island remains a place of religious tolerance.”
While saying members of the state’s Jewish community should remain aware, the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island urged them to continue to celebrate their religion and heritage.
Anti-Semitism “isn’t a new issue for the Jewish community, as we face a rising threat, our community continues to remain vigilant,” said Stephanie Hague, director of community relations for the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island. “Despite an increase in targeted violence nationally, our local community should feel safe and continue to show up and be proudly Jewish: by attending synagogue, attending Jewish events, supporting cultural events and celebrating holidays.”
Hauge said increased precautions are being taken.
“We have an excellent and on-going relationship with local and state law enforcement and are in regular communication with them,” added Hague. “Training and infrastructure upgrades have already been put into place across our state-wide synagogues and Jewish institutions.”
Monday was the last night of Hanukkah.