By Michael Sudhalter
In recent years, the rise of antisemitism in the United States and abroad has increased dramatically.
At 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, StandWithUs, a nonpartisan education organization that supports Israel and fights antisemitism, will have its first program in North Texas. The free event will be held at Chabad of Dallas, 6710 Levelland Road in Dallas. The event is being sponsored by 19 Jewish organizations throughout the Metroplex and will include dessert afterwards.
The keynote speaker will be Roz Rothstein, the chief executive officer and co-founder of StandWithUs. Rothstein is the daughter of two Holocaust survivors. Her speech is titled “Fighting Antisemitism in High School, College & Beyond.”
“We have always wanted to bring more programs and education to the Dallas and larger Texas Jewish and pro-Israel communities,” Rothstein said. “We are grateful to our partners for making this event possible and hope to build strong new bridges so we can grow our base of activists and positive voices for Israel and the Jewish people. I will address the rise in antisemitism with very real case examples, what StandWithUs is doing to support students and what everyone can do to help.”
Rothstein also cited the importance of Jewish and non-Jewish people working collaboratively to address antisemitism.
“We will also address ideas for preemptive education,” said Rothstein, who will take questions from the audience at the event.
Dallas Jewish community leader Kenneth “Kenny” Goldberg is co-chairing the event, along with Allyn Kramer and Greg Schwartz. Mike Cohen, Sander Gothard, Larry Olschwanger and Josh Hochshuler are also hosts for the event.
“We hope to have a couple hundred people at the event,” Goldberg said. “The hope is that this is the first of a series of events [led by various organizations] at Chabad.”
Goldberg, who was appointed chair of the Texas Holocaust, Genocide and Antisemitism Advisory Commission (THGAAC) in February, said Rothstein will address the Commission at its quarterly meeting in Dallas next week.
“It’s very special to me for the Commission to have the opportunity to hear from Roz,” Goldberg said.
The Commission has eight members, since Rabbi Ilan Emanuel of Congregation Beth Israel in Corpus Christi has accepted a new rabbinical position in New Jersey.
Goldberg met Rothstein at an Israel Bonds conference a few years ago and admired the work that she and StandWithUs are doing. One of StandWithUs’ goals is to have more organizations adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
“I haven’t found a better group that stands up for what we all believe in,” Goldberg said.
Josh Arbital, StandWithUs campus regional manager for the Central United States (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee), will also speak at the event to share “Campus Updates and Antisemitism in the Central Region.”
Arbital, who grew up in Tulsa and attended the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond for his bachelor’s degree and first master’s degree, lives in Dallas.
He is working on building bridges, especially on campuses, to ensure that Jewish students feel safe. His regular schedule includes visits to Chabad or Hillel on campuses within the Central Region.
“I have a love for advocating for the Jewish people and rooting out any ignorance,” Arbital said. “StandWithUs’ message that ‘education about Israel is the road to peace’ really spoke to me. We have to make allies, but more importantly, make friends. We have the opportunity to really make new friends in this region.”
StandWithUs also has interns under the Kenneth Leventhal High School Internship. With regard to college, Arbital has increased the number of Emerson fellows from four last year to 11 this year.