"Not in our United States"; Jewish community reacts to anti-Semitism

3 months 3 weeks 6 days ago March 01, 2017 Mar 1, 2017 Wednesday, March 01 2017 Wednesday, March 01, 2017 2:47:00 PM CST in News
By: Emily McCarter; KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA- Columbia's Jewish community feels "concerned" and "saddened" after recent vandalism to a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis left more than 100 headstones damaged. This coincides with multiple bomb threats and a local incident in which two students were accused of harassing a Jewish community member with anti-Semitic messages.

According to the Jewish Community Center Association, there have been at least 100 incidents of bomb threats made against Jewish community centers and schools this year.

"All it takes is one individual with wicked intentions," Congregation Beth Shalom Rabbi Yossi Feintuch said. 

Congregation Beth Shalom is a reform Jewish synagogue in Columbia. Feintuch said some of its members were scared after someone attacked Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, a St. Louis suburb. The vandal or vandals toppled dozens of headstones over the weekend of Feb. 17.

"There were a few members here who were concerned that such a violent attack on a Jewish cemetery might spill over and target also the Jewish section in the Columbia cemetery," Feintuch said.

A Beth Shalom board member contacted a local cemetery to see if anything was "out of the ordinary". The cemetery staff assured the board member nothing was damaged.

Despite worry, Feintuch said, he believes an incident like this won't occur in Columbia because of the outpouring of support at the St. Louis cemetery's cleanup.

"The very presence of Vice President Pence and Governor Greitens accompanied by hundreds of people," Feintuch said, "Amongst them not only Jews, but Christians and I'm told other religions, say Muslims as well, who gathered together to say 'Not in our state. Not in our United States'."

Mizzou Hillel is a Jewish organization on MU's campus. Jeanne Snodgrass, the executive director, said threats of violence is an ongoing issue.

"It just brings home how important it is to continue doing the work that gets done as far as education to the community," Snodgrass said.

She said the problem reaches far beyond the Jewish community.

"It's not just about Jews and Jewish groups but also about other minority groups and anyone that might be perceived as 'other'," she said. "A lot of it stems from ignorance and sometimes hate towards a broader range of groups."

Snodgrass said Mizzou Hillel takes the appropriate safety precautions when it comes to protecting its students and has not been the target of any violence or threats.

David Posner, director of strategic performance at Jewish Community Center Association of North America, said in a statement, “Actions speak louder than words. Members of our community must see swift and concerted action from federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in our communities."

Because of the national hate crimes, Feintuch said, Congregation Beth Shalom sometimes increases security. He said the congregation has to always be alert when gathering in large numbers.

Congregation President Dan Edidin sent KOMU 8 News the following statement.

"We certainly are disturbed and saddened by the vandalism of Jewish graves in St Louis. As Jews, we live with a history of persecution and are extremely sensitive to attacks on people of any faith. Fortunately, here in Columbia our small Jewish community has not been the target of any threats or violence."

Feintuch said Congregation Beth Shalom has not experienced any anti-Semitic incidents, but he encouraged people to continue to support one another.

"All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing about it," Feintuch said.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - As construction continues in the downtown area, workers are finding it difficult to be around. "It's making... More >>
9 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 7:57:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA -The City of Columbia Public Works Department held an informal open house Tuesday, giving people a chance to ask... More >>
10 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 7:38:00 PM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Boone County Sheriff’s Department is investigating four burglaries this month in the Elm Tree area. Homes... More >>
10 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 7:13:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Th e Missouri Supreme Court says it's constitutional to commit sex offenders to secure confinement after... More >>
12 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 5:23:00 PM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY - Sheriff's detectives arrested a 20-year-old Jefferson City woman Tuesday in connection with a shooting that wounded two... More >>
12 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 5:04:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri appellate judges are reinstating descriptions of initiative petitions against right to work laws that were... More >>
12 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 4:50:02 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The "21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force" will meet for the first time Wednesday afternoon at... More >>
13 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 4:35:00 PM CDT in News
MONETT (AP) — A substitute teacher in southwe st Missouri has been ch arged with having sexual contact with a... More >>
13 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 4:30:41 PM CDT in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY – A proposed port in Jefferson City is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Callaway... More >>
13 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 4:22:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - NAACP supporters rallied at the state Capitol to ask Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens not to sign the... More >>
13 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 3:58:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Foundation for Health has awarded $700,000 toward the planning, construction and programming of the planned agriculture... More >>
14 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 3:30:00 PM CDT in News
VERSAILLES (AP) — The Missouri state trooper who had a man die while in his custody pleaded guilty Tuesday to... More >>
15 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 2:41:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri senators won't reconvene until at least after the July 4 holiday to consider legislation on... More >>
15 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 2:08:26 PM CDT in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY — A manhunt for a suspicious person call ended in an arrest just east of Kingdom City. ... More >>
16 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 1:22:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Columbia Police officers arrested Joshua Michael McWilliams, 23, of Columbia in reference to Monday night's shots fired call.... More >>
16 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 12:49:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Have you heard the news? A total solar eclipse is heading to mid-Missouri! Join KOMU 8 as we... More >>
17 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 12:19:00 PM CDT in Eclipse Science
CAMDENTON — Since the start of 2017, the Camden County Sheriff's office reports more than $45,000 worth of roadway signs... More >>
19 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 9:51:00 AM CDT in News
HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities are searching for a southern Missouri inmate who is accused of overpowering a guard and stealing... More >>
20 hours ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 9:25:05 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 67°
6am 67°
7am 69°
8am 71°
9am 74°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
5:30a
Paid Program
6:00a
King of the Hill
6:30a
King of the Hill

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Little Big Shots: Forever Young
8:00p
The Carmichael Show
8:30p
The Carmichael Show
9:00p
This Is Us
7:00p
Arrow
8:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld