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Hearts and minds need to be transformed to stop hate

This past weekend we witnessed yet another act of violence in a house of worship — this time at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Tex. I know you join me in gratefulness that all four hostages are now safe. May their unseen wounds heal over time. ("Hostages safe after Texas synagogue standoff; captor dead," Jan. 16)

In the coming weeks at Temple Emanu-El, we will be reviewing our security plans. We will be looking for how we can better ensure the safety of our congregants and guests.

Yet as we recognize this act of hate as anti-Semitism, we must also understand this incident within the context of an alarming increase in all hate crimes. Hate crimes are at their highest rate since 2008. In addition, FBI data indicate increasing trends in hate crimes against not only Jews but also Muslims and the LGBTQ community. Further, race-related hate crimes have always been the largest category. Anti-Semitism is a unique form of hate, yet as Jews, we stand in solidarity against all forms of hate.

The true solution to hate crimes will not come through increased security, better intelligence, or improvements in law enforcement techniques. The solution will only come through a transformation of hearts and minds.

Rabbi Marc E. Ekstrand

Temple Emanu-El

Waterford

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