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Rabbi stresses the need for education after antisemitic hate crime by two Bonita Springs teens

Posted at 1:28 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 13:44:00-05

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — It's only been a few days since the Lee County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of two teens in connection to an antisemitic hate crime against a rabbi in Bonita Springs.

On Sunday, Rabbi Mendy Greenberg invited the public to the Chabad of Bonita Springs to talk about hate crimes against Jewish people in Southwest Florida.

“I’m 66 so I’ve seen some of this before, but it’s ‘oh, here we go again," says Wave Nunnally, a man who visited on Sunday to talk with Rabbi Greenberg and show support.

After the hate crime left one synagogue shaken, it led them to open their doors and start having conversations.

“Whenever a negative thing happens, there’s an educational moment for all of us," commented Rabbi Greenberg.

It's an educational moment that he says can be used to talk more broadly about antisemitism.

“Maybe there’s something inside of us that could be perfected, and hopefully that will have influence and impact on people around us,” says the Rabbi.

That impact manifested itself differently for everyone - like Taryn Sasser, who decided to just eat kosher meat for the time being as a means of healing.

“In the merit of Shalamo, which is healing for the two boys that did this, I’m going to have just kosher meat in my house and that God should see that as an act to help those boys," says Sasser, on her reasoning.

Those themes of healing and forgiveness, Rabbi Greenberg says, are echoed in Scripture.

“Those who know the story in the Bible of Ester, how everything got transformed from negative to positive it happened this month. So this month is an opportune time for negative things to be transformed into positive," says Rabbi Greenberg, with a smile.

He says it also serves as the foundation that holds the community together.

“It’s a beautiful thing to know, this is how we respond. We come together. We come together in joy, we come together with food, we come together with friendship, and we come together with good deeds.”