SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Some members of the Jewish community said they’ve seen violence and hatred due to their religion in Sarasota and Manatee counties.
“We need to be outspoken,” said Beverly Newman, a Holocaust educator and author, and daughter of a Holocaust survivor.
Newman has been leading prayer sessions in Bradenton and wants to be a voice for the 11 people killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue over the weekend.
“God has given all of us the ability to make a difference in our world and we want to make a positive difference,” said Newman.
Her first stop: the Manatee County commission chambers.
She’s returning with the same request, four years after asking county commissioners to adopt a resolution condemning anti-semitism, similar to one approved by Sarasota city commissioners in 2011.
“That is very much needed especially at this time when people are turned in to hate,” said Newman.
Newman told ABC7 Jews frequently experience discrimination in Manatee County. She was a victim herself, finding her home vandalized on a Jewish holiday and receiving hate mail mocking her beliefs.
“We have had just a very very strong sense of ostracism of being unwelcome in our own community,” said Newman.
“There’s been this senseless hatred against Jews for centuries,” explained Rabbi Brenner Glickman, Senior Rabbi for Temple Emanu-El in Sarasota.
Rabbi Glickman believes the discrimination has grown worse in Sarasota over the past two years and argues the most vulnerable targets are young worshipers.
“It’s actually our kids who get it from other students or from teachers,” explained Rabbi Glickman.
Glickman said that prejudice gives parents an open door to teach their kids about kindness and inclusion and Newman stresses the Jewish community needs to come together to spread those qualities.
“Our actions as well as our in-actions can be green lights or red lights for anti-semites,” stated Newman.