This month, the Russell Berrie Fellows engaged in two connected events to build awareness of all forms of antisemitism.
On March 15, Fellows participated in an informative session titled “Antisemitism: Past and Present.” Led by Holly Huffnagle, U.S. Director for Combating Antisemitism
of the American Jewish Committee, this webinar presented topics such as the history of Judaism, the diversity of the modern Jewish community, the legacy of Christian Anti-Judaism, and antisemitism in the present.
“[The webinar] provided factual basis and historical background and introduced terms and concepts, necessary for the understanding of the nature of antisemitism,” reflects Russell Berrie Fellow Maria Petrova (Russia).
“Holly’s presentation on the history of antisemitism was helpful for seeing the bigger picture,” shares Russell Berrie Fellow Elizabeth Langan (USA), “I now see more clearly that understanding trends over time might be the best way to be proactive and prevent similar escalations in the future.”
This presentation was followed up on March 17 with a “Practical Workshop on Antisemitism and Countering Hate Speech.” Stéphanie Lecesne, Training Coordinator of A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe (CEJI), facilitated this in-person four-hour workshop, which aimed to provide participants with the skills and sensibilities to counter antisemitism and create inclusive environments.
“The workshop on antisemitism was very informative and challenging,” remarks Russell Berrie Fellow Fr. Jackson Johnson (India). “Indeed, antisemitism exists in different forms in society, whether we know it or not.”
“Thanks to this workshop, I know more about the Jewish tradition and its suffering in human history,” says Russell Berrie Fellow Sr. Minh Sa (Vietnam). “I also got to know some more particular terms relating to life and religion,” she continues, “Knowing more about the Jews and their history may help me a lot in the future when I have to mention or attend dialogue with them.”
“This workshop gave a new impetus to fight against antisemitism,” concludes Fr. Jackson, “and work together to improve as a community where all discrimination needs to be eradicated.”