The Jewish Community Federation of Richmond and its community partners thank all who attended in-person or virtually the Stand Against Antisemitism special event on Sunday, June 27.
The 90-minute community solidarity forum held at Congregation Beth Ahabah featured a gathering of some of the most powerful and well-respected voices and figures in the community, both politically and spiritually.
JCFR CEO Daniel Staffenberg and President Ellen Renee Adams, noted, “It was truly amazing and remarkable. Thank you to all our special guests who attended the event, many of whom spoke. We also are grateful to Congregation Beth Ahabah for hosting and providing their help and support for this outstanding program.”
The event featured remarks from U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine; U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger; U.S. Representative Bob Good; Va. Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant; Va. Sen. Ghazala Hashmi; Va. Del. Lashrecse Aird; Va. Del. John McGuire; Rabbi Hal Schevitz, Richmond Council of Congregational Rabbis; Bishop Darryl Husband, Sr., Mt. Olivet Church; Reverend Daniel Glaze, River Road Church; Charles Turner, Islamic Center of Virginia; and Jonathan Zur, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities. Other guests included: State Sen. Joe Morrissey, Va. Del. Betsy Carr, Va. Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg, Henrico County Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor and My Lan Tran, Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce.
In welcoming community members, Beth Ahabah President of the Board of Managers, Julie Mullian, said, “We are honored to share this sacred space with our community to stand together against antisemitism. As many of you may know, Beth Ahabah translates from the Hebrew to ‘House of Love.’ So, what an appropriate place to gather in solidarity against all manifestations of hate here in our community and throughout the world.”
JCRC Chair Amy Melnick-Scharf also welcomed community members and offered remarks outlining the current climate in the U.S., including Virginia, that necessitates the importance of all faiths to join together to speak out against hate.
She noted, “We are blessed this evening to have incredible bi-partisan representation from our elected officials, from interfaith partners and our community leaders. We know we are not going to agree on every issue facing our country and our community. However, we are here tonight in solidarity.”
An Editorial writer from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Chris Gentilviso, attended the forum and authored an Editorial in the next day’s newspaper praising the event. It was headlined, “By opening doors to discussion, we realize the power of our example.”
It read, in part, “How do we find the strength to defeat the surge in hate? Events like Sunday’s “Stand Against Antisemitism” program, hosted by the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, are critical. By opening doors to discussion, we realize the power of our example.”
Gentilviso noted, “For roughly two hours, elected officials and faith leaders of different religious and political backgrounds delivered moving speeches at Temple Beth Ahabah. For community members, it also was an opportunity to reconnect with each other, exchanging vaccinated hugs and handshakes for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These kinds of undertakings matter. We commend the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond for organizing the event and every elected official, faith leader, member of law enforcement and neighbor who attended and stood united against antisemitism. By opening doors to discussion, we realize the power of our example.”
For community members who were unable to attend or watch the live event, a link to the live stream is HERE,