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'State of Hate in Greater Rochester' report shows majority of Jewish residents feel discrimination has increased

Rochester's skyline from Court Street
James Brown
Rochester's skyline from Court Street

A majority of local Jewish residents recently surveyed feel that discrimination against Jews in the Greater Rochester area has increased over the last couple of years.

The State of Hate in Greater Rochester report was commissioned by the Levine Center to End Hate which is part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester.

The recent survey shows that 63% of Jewish respondents locally think that discrimination against Jews has increased in recent years, compared to 31% of all of those who responded to that survey.

The survey also showed that 45% of Jewish respondents have felt personally discriminated against in the last couple of years, and 57% have personally known a Jewish person who has experienced an act of discrimination.

Karen Elam is executive director of the Levine Center, and said that a main focus of doing this survey is to come up with ways of combating discrimination locally.

“So when we see for example, that the Jewish community is feeling discrimination at a higher level than what the general community is understanding to be that discrimination, we know we need to do some more education,” said Elam. “We saw the same results from the African American community, that the experience of discrimination and racism that they were reporting was higher than what people believe to be the case.”

Elam said that it’s not only Jews who are threatened by “the toxic environment that is being created around us.” She said that other minorities are also at risk. Elam said that the Levine Center saw similar results with an earlier survey focused on the African American community, where she said the discrimination and racism experienced by Black people was higher than what the general population believed to be the case.

Elam also said that “antisemitism is being mainstreamed in very dangerous ways,” and she said the recent data was collected before recent displays of anti-Semitic rhetoric by prominent celebrities and politicians.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.