What I see looking back at 2022

Graffiti on the fence of the Bethesda Trolley Trail shows people hanging from a noose with the words, “No Mercy for Jews.” Photo by Allison Fishkind

To end the year, we asked community members to offer their thoughts as they look back at 2022. What stands out? What looked important in the moment but seems less so in hindsight?

We invite our readers to look ahead and tell us what you see — or hope to see. In 200 words maximum, what are your expectations of 2023 — for the Jewish community, for the world? Send to [email protected].

Antisemitism and the response

Guila Franklin Siegel | Special to WJW

It’s tempting to view 2022 strictly through a dark lens, given continued local increases in antisemitism, culminating with the shocking vandalism at Whitman High School only days ago.

But 2022 was not only about antisemitism itself, but about how our community, and our leaders, rose to the challenge of responding to it. It was the year when the Montgomery County Council resisted divisive, counterproductive pressures to unanimously adopt a resolution on combatting antisemitism. It was the year when the Fairfax County School Board finally adopted a calendar with closures on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur, something many thought would never happen.

For the first time, Jewish students and employees felt truly seen, respected and better understood by their non-Jewish peers. And it was the year when MCPS Superintendent Monifa B. McKnight, County Executive Marc Elrich and so many other leaders joined hundreds of Jews at Whitman to light the first Chanukah candle. Despite the serious incident and the freezing cold, it was a defiantly joyful moment, full of Jewish pride and resolve to combat antisemitism and all hatred. Judaism is about so much more than playing defense; let’s work even harder in 2023 to not let fear and distrust alone dictate our response to hate, and to lean in even harder to Judaism’s beauty, resilience and inspiration. ■

Guila Franklin Siegel is associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.

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