Rabbi Alana Suskin

Rabbi Alana Suskin

Since 2015 there has been a wave of antisemitic incidents. The ADL’s most recent audit of antisemitic incidents in the US recorded 2,107 antisemitic incidents in 2019, a 12% increase from the 1,879 incidents recorded in 2018 and the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979. The incidents in 2018, themselves had a dramatic increase in physical assaults, including the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. Assault, harassment and vandalism against Jews are at historic levels in the U.S.

Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) similarly reports increased Islamophobia in their 2019 report, and there has been a sharp rise in Islamophobic incidents, as well as in governmental policies that target people from majority-Muslim nations

In 2019, the last year for which FBI statistics are available, Jews and Muslims far outstripped other religious groups as victims of hate crimes in America.

Hamza Khan and Alana Suskin realized that there was a need to address both of these issues. Drawing from data about best practices, they realized that a program which worked jointly on both anti-Semitism AND Islamophobia by building relationships with and educating Christians, particularly in places where there are few or no Jews or Muslims would be one of the most effective things they could do. They soon realized that it would also be necessary to include synagogues and mosques, to address the misconceptions that each community has about the other. In short order, it became clear that part of the work of the Pomegranate Initiative would also need to include a focus on structural racism and racial justice, which impact a large number of both Muslims of color and Jews of color.

To that end, The Pomegranate Initiative was born. By priming people with positive images, creating a culture which stands up against prejudice, and giving people a graceful way to “save face” in leaving behind their prejudices, The Pomegranate Initiative is a powerful tool for building interfaith cooperation and appreciation in the US. The model that The Pomegranate Initiative uses is one that helps people to overcome cognitive biases and counteract harmful narratives.

When possible, we will resume traveling to communities (like yours!) around the US. But you can invite us to your community right now! We are now scheduling digital conferences. We schedule two to three one hour sessions over our digital platforms, during which we offer a concentrated version of our in-person sessions. Please contact us today so we can work with you to tailor our program to your needs.

https://www.pomegranateinitiative.org/

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