Chalk Over Hate raises antisemitism awareness

June 23, 2022

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United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Simon Family JCC joined Jewish organizations across North America for Chalk Over Hate, an initiative of Artists 4 Israel to fight antisemitism through public art on Friday, June 3.

“As the CEO of Artists 4 Israel, I am ecstatic to see another one of our programs find so much success. The final total of registered organizations was 28, plus all the multi-faith and multicultural partners they then partnered with, bringing more than 900 individual chalkers—surpassing our goal,” says Craig Dershowitz, Artists 4 Israel CEO.

“A4I’s Chalk Over Hate Day of Action put messages against antisemitism everywhere from the front of grocery stores to town squares and everywhere in between. Individuals had no choice but to pay attention to the impact of antisemitism on our community and our willingness to creatively oppose it,” says Dershowitz. “We’ve made a major step in rallying the community against antisemitic vandalism and hate.

“Many people commented that it was powerful in its simplicity and empowering in creating advocates of everyone who participated. Above all, people are commenting on it being fun, which allowed them to deal with an otherwise difficult topic.”

More than a dozen UJFT staff members and JCC visitors used chalk to create inspirational messages of love, hope, and peace in front of the Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community. One participant was local student Sam Levin. When asked why he was participating in Chalk Over Hate, he said, “I’m here because it promotes nonviolence and equality in our society, which is very much needed in this time of unrest and injustice.”

Dershowitz hopes that efforts like Chalk Over Hate can change the conversation around opposing antisemitism. “I feel hopeful that such opportunities for opposing antisemitism are possible and that the Jewish community rallied behind such a novel idea. This program and, frankly, so much of our other work is incredibly important because it is new, unusual and takes the Jewish world out of its comfort zone.

“Being the first ones out of the gate with unique projects, A4I always has to worry about how we will be received by the traditional community and I am honored that this program was embraced and that its results are proving the creativity and effectiveness of our cutting-edge ideas.”

-Hunter Thomas and Debbie Burke

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