Anti-semitic incidents on the rise in Massachusetts

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)-The Anti Defamation League said they’ve recorded a 44 percent increase in antisemitic incidents this year from 2016. Members of the Jewish community told 22News their primary concern is safety.

So far 132 anti-semitic incidents have been reported in New England this year; more than 117 of those incidents occurred in Massachusetts, according to the Anti-defamation league.

“I think it’s something that all houses of worship unfortunately need to be aware of,” Cantor Martin Levson of Sinai Temple told 22News.

Places of worship, like Sinai Temple, have member safety on their minds, taking extra pre-cautions with recent instances of hate crimes happening across the world.

“The main portion of our building is called a sanctuary and the idea behind that name is it’s a place of safety and yet we also need to concern ourselves with how do we keep our congregants safe,” Levson said.

Rabbi James Greene hopes that places, like Springfield Jewish Community Center will be part of the solution to prevent hate crimes by opening their doors to people of all different backgrounds.

“We can be a place where people come together where we build community and where we bring together people of different backgrounds to hopefully fight against those kinds of unfortunate behavior,” Greene told 22News.

Governor Charlie Baker re-established the Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes this week. The group includes members of religious groups, law enforcement and local officials, including Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni.

The task force will develop strategies for the state to prevent hate crimes and support victims.

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