The latest war surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has led to more threats against the Jewish community, as data shows threats had already been on the rise in the past couple of years.
In Southwest Florida, a Chabad spent thousands of dollars recently on security for increased protection amid the conflict between the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and Israel.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitism in Florida saw a 40% spike from 2019 to 2020, and it’s taking a toll.
In the last 12 days, investigators are looking into hate crimes in Los Angeles, New York City and Florida.
“I thought that we Jews were accepted in America as being fully Americans,” said Rabbi Marc Sack of Temple Judea in south Fort Myers. “We all have work to do.”
In 2019, according to the FBI, 60% of all hate crime in the U.S. targeted Jews.
Hate is something Holocaust survivor Rosette Gerbosi knows well.
“I had everything a little girl could desire,” Gerbosi said. “All kinds of lessons, ballet, piano, you name it. Wonderful vacations until Hitler came.”
“I may have lost my parents at a very young age, but I remember the love that surrounded me,” Gerbosi said. “And that has stayed with me for the rest of my life, but I do say that we have to be very vigilant about these uprisings.”
Members of the Jewish community believe one solution might be for different faith communities to meet on a regular basis. They could work together on projects to build a sense of community.
“Just be tolerant,” Gerbosi said. “Fight bigotry as much as you can.”