The alarming rise in antisemitism was the topic of a training session Monday at Temple Shalom in Wheeling.

“United Against Hate” was presented by the US Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the American Jewish Committee.

Antisemitism has gone up 400 percent just in the weeks since October 7th.

The antisemitism training session in Wheeling was planned long before the attack on Israel by Hamas.

Jewish people make up only two percent of the world’s population. But they are often the target of hate crimes.

Rabbi Joshua Lief of Temple Shalom says hate crimes even happen here in Wheeling.

“There certainly have been a number of incidents. Fortunately, the news media doesn’t make a big deal of them to avoid giving lots of free air time to those that are hateful. But the law enforcement community has been very responsive each and every time. Chief Shawn Schwertfeger at the Wheeling Police Department and I talk often about whatever threats they’re hearing, anything that we are concerned about.”

Rabbi Joshua Lief
Temple Shalom, Wheeling

The rabbi said he believes it’s been convenient, throughout history, to demonize minorities.

Speakers said antisemitism stems from ancient falsehoods and old stereotypes. They detailed antisemitic rhetoric that’s based on ancient myths and stereotypes. That Jews are the children of Satan, and the Holocaust was a lie.

Rabbi Lief says they’ve heard it all–while outrageous, it’s not laughable.

They said many victims don’t report it because they don’t want to call attention to it. But the experts say you should report every incident, and they explained how to do that.

“Isis has called for attacks on Jewish communities in the United States. Al Quaeda has issued a specific call for attacks on the United States.”

Wiliam Ihlenfeld
(US Attorney, Northern District of West Virginia

Speakers said some Jews are afraid to go to public events or to wear their yarmulke.

They said many temples have heightened their security. And they urged everyone to be watchful.

Threats are often online. Case in point, Hardy Lloyd threatening jurors and witnesses in the Tree of Life mass murder case.

“His message was so bad that Google reported him to the FBI for comments he was making on YouTube calling for violence against Jews and others.”

Jarod Douglas
Assistant U.S. Attorney

“For the wider community to realize that things they think aren’t a big deal are in fact very hurtful to us, perhaps will open some eyes and change some hearts and minds, but I’m not so sure that’s the case.”

Rabbi Joshua Lief
Temple Shalom, Wheeling

If you hear, see or read any hate-fueled message or threat, report it.

The number: 1-800-CALL-FBI.

You can also report online at fbi.gov