DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A group of religious leaders, religion experts and a civil rights expert from multiple faiths are coming together to talk about confronting antisemitism. The conversation was hosted at St. Joseph AME Church in Durham Tuesday night.
Some of their messages are learn more about people from other faiths, understand where their coming from, and don’t stay silent if you see any type of hate taking place.
“We have a responsibility in that moment to condemn it, to stand up to it, and make clear that we don’t share that,” said Dr. Theodore M. Shaw, the Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the UNC Center for Civil Rights.
Reverend Dr. Jay Augustine is the Senior Pastor at St. Joseph AME Church. He said he’s seen a rise in various types of hate in recent years.
“For me, it is part of my tradition that Black churches got to be a place where people come together where we talk about Jesus’s liberating love and brining all God’s children together,” Augustine said. “So, I was honored because antisemitism is not a Jewish problem, I was honored to say that tonight.”
Daniel Greyber, the Rabbi at Beth El Synagogue in Durham, also helped facilitate the conversation. He said the evening was an example of what is possible.
He points to building relationships as one of the main ways to combat antisemitism.
“I think that probably the most important thing is forming relationships with your local Jewish community, with Jews who are your neighbors, visiting synagogues, learning more about the experiences of modern Jews and what does it mean,” Greyber said.
CBS 17 asked the two faith leaders about a private event at the Raleigh Convention Center Saturday.
The group Israelite School of Universal Practice Knowledge, which is classified as extremist and antisemitic by the Anti-Defamation League posted on its social media accounts that they’re holding an event at the Raleigh Convention Center.
“Anytime that those events occur it is a time of some increased nervousness among the Jewish community,” Greyber said. “We feel sad, we feel nervous, but we’re not going to let those groups define who we are and the pride that we feel in the Jewish tradition and being the Jewish people.”
A spokesperson for the City of Raleigh said the city received an inquiry from an entity entitled TGF Soulutions Inc. regarding hosting a Passover observance dinner for families.
“We were not aware of any relationship between this entity and the referenced group and the event was handled in the same manner as all other bookings,” said Julia Milstead, a spokesperson for the City of Raleigh.
Milstead said after reviewing the contract and resolving event details the contract for use of the ballroom was executed.
“Our expectation is that the group will adhere to all contract terms,” said Milstead.
Augustine said, that like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he will focus on love to drive out hate.
“Our perspective this evening was to focus on love as something that unites us rather than dividing us,” Augustine said.