New local nonprofit devoted to confronting anti-Semitism
Carmel Valley-based nonprofit Shield of David launched almost one year ago in response to notable instances of anti-Semitism in the United States, including several in San Diego.
The organization’s co-founder and vice president, Brian Blacher, said he was “frustrated and tired of everybody saying ‘never again’ but doing nothing about it.”
“We’ve seen it many times that if Jews don’t protect themselves, there’s always a catastrophe,” added Blacher, who lives in Carmel Valley and works in the health and wellness industry. “No one else will take care of us.”
One of the recent incidents that Shield of David inquired about recently involved somebody who brought a glider with a swastika on the tail to the Torrey Pines Gliderport. The daughter of Eli Ben-Moshe, a Shield of David co-founder, saw it at the port.
Ian Cummings, interim president of Torrey Pines Gulls, which is affiliated with the gliderport, told the La Jolla Light newspaper, “I want to be clear that our club does not condone any displays of hate or racism.” He said he didn’t know who the pilot was or if they are a member of the Gulls.
Blacher said as Shield of David has grown and become more well-known, it has been receiving similar pictures and other communications from people who notice anti-Semitic symbols.
Blacher also said that “there are many organizations that help, but no one’s really delving in,” referring to some of the more egregious acts of discrimination against Jews, including synagogues that have been vandalized. He added that he and Shield of David leaders are especially concerned about anti-Semitism that Jewish students encounter on college campuses.
“It’s just becoming mainstream,” he said, adding that “anti-Semitism’s on the rise and nobody’s fighting hard enough, to be honest.”
Shield of David has developed a program aimed at Jewish students with objectives that include instilling pride in being Jewish, understanding of why anti-Semitism should be confronted, encouraging them to stand their ground during tense situations or discussions, and teaching self-defense tactics.
“Our long-term goal is to basically educate and get our Jewish youth to stand up and be proud, proud Jews (who) confront situations in their lives. We do not want to create violence by any means, but in the next five years, our goal is to have 10,000 kids who have gone through our programs.”
Shield of David, which will reach its first anniversary in December, raises funds on its website and also welcomes volunteers. For more information, visit shieldofdavid18.com.
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