CEO, Jewish Federation of Omaha
President, Jewish Federation of Omaha
We learned last week about the vandalism that took place at an Omaha Jewish institution. Yes; a cemetery is an institution. When one of our institutions is the target of vandalism, we personally view this as an attack on the Jewish community. We have a collective responsibility to respond to this as a community. We have the responsibility to come to the aid and share in the repair and also in responsible messaging.
Our training directs us to pause and not react without all of the facts. Even as we write this, we are in DC at the JFNA FedLab conference, along with Zoë Riekes, discussing community security and other critical issues impacting the Jewish world.
Many people have come up to us and asked about the cemetery issue and have offered support and solutions. We mention this because one of the conversations is about when to communicate to the community. The discussion was across the board but the bottom line was, is it an emergency? Do you have the facts? What is already out there and is it factually accurate? If not, corrections are warranted.
The leadership and clergy of Temple Israel have been in touch with law enforcement and the incident is still under investigation. They have a handle on this and they have the lead until they ask for assistance. As with many crimes of this nature, investigations rarely are solved which makes it impossible to determine what motivated the person or persons to commit this crime. We believe that to characterize this as an anti-Semitic hate crime is irresponsible until we know that, in fact, it is. We will update the community as we learn more. We commit our support as a community to Temple Israel as they deal with this incident.