WXXI AM News

Jewish Federation

With Passover starting Wednesday night, the Jewish community in Rochester has worked to bring the joy and significance of that holiday to people who are living alone.

“Why do we hate?” It’s a question we explore with two men whose paths have crossed after coming from very different perspectives. Pardeep Kaleka lost his father in 2012, when a white supremacist opened fire on a Sikh temple. Arno Michaelis helped form the gang that produced the mass shooter – that gang was the largest racist skinhead organization in the world. Now, Michaelis speaks out against racism and has written a book called “My Life After Hate.” He and Kaleka met for the first time in 2013, and since then, they’ve formed an educational organization and written a book, “The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate.”

They’ll be in Rochester later this month as guests of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester’s Levine Center to End Hate, but first, they share their stories and their message on Connections. Our guests:

  • Pardeep Kaleka, co-author of “The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate”
  • Arno Michaelis, co-author of “The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate”
  • Karen Elam, director of the Levine Center to End Hate at the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester

The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester is taking steps to add a layer of security for various facilities throughout the region.

Earlier this week, when Brighton Police Chief Mark Henderson announced his retirement, he said he was moving over to the federation as its first Community Director of Security.

The CEO for the Jewish Federation, Meredith Dragon, says there are a number of other Jewish communities around the country that have already created similar positions.

She says that with the rise of anti-Semitism locally and nationally, the federation in Rochester wants to make sure it is prepared.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester has released a survey to help gather feedback from the Jewish community about a range of issues, including the rise in anti-Semitism across the country. The questionnaire, called "Every Voice Counts," is open to people who identify as Jewish, have Jewish heritage, or who have relationships within the Jewish community. It polls participants about services, cultural interests, as well as concerns about security.

Our guests discuss the survey, what they hope to learn, and how the results will help them plan for a more inclusive community. Our guests:

  • Meredith Dragon, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester
  • Judy Azoff, chair of the "Every Voice Counts" Jewish Rochester Survey
  • Dr. Jacob Moalem, M.D., vice chair of the "Every Voice Counts" Jewish Rochester Survey, and associate professor of surgery and endocrinology at the University of Rochester Medical Center