Leaders meet to discuss antisemitism in R.I.


On Tuesday, Dec. 13, about two dozen local business and government leaders met to discuss the growing problem of antisemitism in Rhode Island and what measures can be taken to fight it.

The conversation took place at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center in Providence. The leaders, invited to the table by Alliance President and CEO Adam Greenman, acknowledged the increase in antisemitic incidents over the last year and put their collective heads together to discuss how Rhode Islanders can join in the fight to counter this rise in hatred.

An opening presentation by Alliance Chief Policy Officer Stephanie Hague highlighted the growing number of reported incidents – 30 in the last year with three recently – and noted that the incidents have turned more targeted and more frequent. Rhode Island incidents seem to be notably driven by groups such as the Goyim Defense League and NSC131.

Leaders voiced support for the Jewish community and suggested a wide range of steps that the broader community might take, including education on exactly how to recognize antisemitism, hate and racism; defining antisemitism for those who do not understand it; including Judaism in future diversity, equity and inclusion trainings and bringing education on antisemitism into the schools.

“Fighting antisemitism and hate requires all Rhode Islanders to come together,” Greenman said after the meeting. “I was so pleased we could convene leaders from the business, government and nonprofit sectors to begin a conversation about how we can stamp out hate in Rhode Island. It was a fruitful first discussion, and one that will lead to concrete actions that reduce antisemitism.”

FRAN OSTENDORF (fostendorf@jewishallianceri.org) is the editor of Jewish Rhode Island.