Maitland Jewish Community Center Remains Vigilant of Anti-Semitic Threats

MAITLAND, Florida. – The FBI, the Florida State’s Attorney’s Office and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office are investigating anti-Semitic posts that surfaced this weekend in Jacksonville.

One appeared outside TIAA Bank Field during the highly anticipated Florida-Georgia game.

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He was referring to rapper Kanye West, following his recent anti-Semitic tweets which provoked backlash.

At the Maitland Jewish Community Center, Shalom Orlando CEO Keith Dvorchik said they were directly affected; whenever there is an anti-Semitic threat, they are affected.

“There is a national organization monitoring everything, we get updates daily,” Dvorchik said. “And then we’re in constant contact with local, state, and federal law enforcement to get real-time updates on any potential threats, any potential risks. He continues to be vigilant, he continues to monitor what is happening, he continues to make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep everyone here safe. Not just here on our campus, but all Jewish organizations in Central Florida.”

The JCC still has armed guards out front in military-style uniforms – one of many security measures in place that adapt to threats, often on a daily basis and generally to the overall rise in anti-Semitism throughout the country.

“Kanye West has more Twitter followers than there are Jews in the world,” Dvorchik said. “So when he speaks with hate like that, he touches more people than there are Jews in the whole world. He has an incredibly wide platform to express his hate. And he did. And go on and on.

New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft has sponsored commercial broadcasts at NFL games across the country, urging more people to speak out and stand up against anti-Semitism.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs also released statements.

“We have to talk, we have to talk,” Dvorchik said. “We’ve had this conversation too many times and we have to say that not all hate is okay. End of statement. It doesn’t matter who the target group is, none of this is okay. And if we speak out loud , things happen.

Dvorchik said enough voices spoke loud enough that Adidas finally rescinded its endorsement of West – but it took weeks.

“I think the growth of anti-Semitism is causing a lot of people to talk about it, not understanding why or what’s going on,” Dvorchik said. “I heard from someone, it was a fascinating comment, it was a Saturday service and the rabbi stopped in the middle of his sermon and said, ‘How many of you sat around your table and talked about where you might want to move to?’ meaning the United States would no longer be safe for Jews. And he said most of the people in the congregation raised their hands.

Governor Ron DeSantis also released a statement to News 6 on Monday afternoon:

“Governor DeSantis rejects attempts to scapegoat the Jewish community – it has no place in Florida. Through landmark legislative proposals, laws, and executive actions, Governor DeSantis has a proven track record of supporting the Jewish community and combating anti-Semitism and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Florida.

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Sam D. Gomez