Home Community Gov. Youngkin meets with RJA for new year

Gov. Youngkin meets with RJA for new year

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By Martha Cohen

On Oct. 4th, Governor Glenn Youngkin visited with the Richmond Jewish Alliance at a local synagogue.

He came to a Jewish house of worship to wish our community “a meaningful Yom Kippur and a prosperous year ahead” and to engage in an important discussion with Jewish Richmonders as 5783 began.

The Governor’s team included Secretary of the Commonwealth Kay Cole James.

Members thanked the Governor for creating the Commission to Combat Antisemitism and for the restoration of full funding to the EISTC (Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit), that provides scholarship funding to eligible families to attend private institutions like RTA.

The range of substantive topics included fighting rising Jew hatred that exists across the spectrum, education, and passing an anti-BDS law, the gravity of which was made evident with the recent ostracization of Israel by Ben & Jerry’s. The need for Virginia to codify the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism was discussed because “you can’t fight something you can’t define.”

Specific instances of Jew hatred both outside synagogues and on the college campus, even from student DEI committee members responsible for diversity, equity and inclusion were recounted.  Ignorance is another factor, as the Fairfax Title VI Office for Civil Rights complaint cataloging an alarming number of alleged antisemitic incidents in K-12 Fairfax schools revealed.

The complaint states, “…the chief equity advisor reportedly admitted to these (Jewish) parents that while the Equity & Cultural Responsiveness team is equipped to address racism against people of color, the team lacks the knowledge and qualifications to understand, educate about, and respond effectively to antisemitism.”

Time was spent focused on tangible actions to effectively combat antisemitism.  RJA was formed to educate and advocate for America’s founding principles including a free market economy, equal application of the law and equal opportunity for all.  RJA believes a public that embraces these concepts will never stifle debate and is unlikely to engender antisemitism or other manifestations of hate.

RJA looks forward to collaborating with the Administration and all who are working to eradicate this centuries old hatred.