On August 4, 2020, Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett, Director of RFI’s North America Action Team, interviews Rabbi David Saperstein, Director Emeritus, Action Center for Reform Judaism and Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice-President, Rabbinical Council of America about resurgent anti-Semitism in the United States.
This interview explores what lies behind the significant increase in anti-Semitic attacks and sentiments in the United States over the past three years. What are the different manifestations of anti-Semitism and how does anti-Semitism find expression on both extremes of the ideological spectrum? Rabbi Saperstein and Rabbi Dratch represent very different denominational perspectives, Reform and Orthodox, but they emphasize their common cause of combatting anti-Semitism and the role that other communities can play.
Rabbi David Saperstein is the immediate past President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and Director Emeritus of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which he led for several decades. From 2015-2017 Rabbi Saperstein served as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Also an attorney, he taught seminars on Church –State law and Jewish Law for 35 years at Georgetown University Law Center. He currently serves as a Senior Fellow at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service’s Center for Jewish Civilization.
Rabbi Mark Dratch is the Executive Vice-President of the Rabbinical Council of America and the founder of JSafe-The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse-Free Environment. A graduate of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Mark Dratch served as a congregational rabbi for 22 years including at congregations in New York, Connecticut, Florida, and Toronto, Canada. He also served as the Webbe Rebbe – answering “Ask the rabbi” questions addressed to the Orthodox Union on its web site. Rabbi Dratch has published articles, in English and Hebrew-language journals, on the interface between Jewish law and contemporary society. He also lectures on matters of domestic violence, child abuse, and professional abuse in the Jewish community.
Anti-Defamation League – Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents 2019: https://www.adl.org/audit2019