Watch Religious Leaders Across San Diego Fight Antisemitism

Hello and Happy Hanukkah,

I was reminded by one of my Rabbis this week that at Hanukkah we all have the chance, and in fact the obligation, to add light to the darkness. The world has certainly seen more than enough darkness over the past two years, but together we have also created so much light. I am truly honored to take up the role as your President and CEO of Federation of San Diego County, and to be part of a committed and passionate team that works together every day to increase the light for Jews in San Diego, in Israel and around the globe. It is a privilege to work alongside our talented staff and lay leaders, and in close collaboration with so many of our partner agencies. I am constantly impressed by the creativity, the resilience, all the activity and the heart of our Jewish community, and all of us at Federation are excited about our new programs and partnerships that continue to increase our impact and ability to create an ever more caring, connected and vibrant Jewish community.

Prior to coming to Federation, my career centered around the practice of dialogue; bringing multiple viewpoints together around some of society’s most complex challenges and searching for common ground and new ways forward. Today, our entire San Diego community faces many challenges that demand broad engagement from people from different backgrounds and worldviews, including a deeply concerning rise in antisemitism. 57% of religious hate crimes in the US this year were directed at Jews. The majority of Jews in the US have changed their behavior out of a fear of antisemitism. ¼ of all American Jews and 1/3 of Jewish college students have been exposed to antisemitism this past year. Federation is committed to recognizing and addressing antisemitism, and this year we are part of a national campaign to “Shine A Light” on antisemitism. Here in San Diego we are engaging non-Jewish clergy in dialogue around antisemitism and working to strengthen “allyship” across the region.

Please watch and share this video as clergy of many faiths stand with us against antisemitism and do their part to add to the lights of Hanukkah. You’ll also see pictures below of students taking part in Shine A Light. Seeing these individuals come together for this important cause was incredibly moving and meaningful for me, and I know you'll feel the same.

Wishing you all much light and joy. Chag Urim Sameach and Shabbat Shalom!

Students of Hillel San Diego participate in the Shine a Light initiative, supported by Federation.

Heidi Gantwerk
President & Chief Executive Officer

P.S. Check out our Shine A Light ad on page 13 of the San Diego Jewish Journal.


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