You’ve no doubt heard about Linda Sarsour’s wonderful LaunchGood fund (to which I’ve contributed) which has raised $150,000 on behalf of desecrated Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia. It is a wonderful gesture of solidarity from our Muslim brothers and sisters and much appreciated.
I have an idea for expanding both the mission and the impact of this fund. I suggest a Jewish-Muslim fund whose mission is to provide financial support for victims of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in both communities. As laudable as it is to repair cemeteries, and as appreciated as this support from American Muslims is, over the next four years both of our communities will be in the crosshairs of the Trump alt right. Mosques have already been torched. Synagogues have been targeted for terror attacks. Such hate crimes will continue and probably intensify. It’s only a matter of time before a terrorist succeeds in attacking one of our communities or the other. In the terrible eventuality of such a tragedy, there will be victims, survivors, damaged souls who will need ongoing, substantial support.
The mainstream Jewish communal organizations do not have enough vision to embrace such a project. They would demand control and restrict the mission to advancing their own institutional mission. I don’t think they are the address for such a project. It requires an independent, progressive spirit. Groups like CAIR and Jewish Voice for Peace could be spearheads and might have the organizational expertise to direct such a project over the longer term.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this Muslim-Jewish healing fund could encompass both communities? Raise funds from Jews and Muslims? Support both faiths when they’re under attack? I’d also see the fund being governed by a board including progressive leaders from both religions. In this way, it will encourage donors with greater financial capacity from both to make significant contributions. It will also show all America that despite any differences that may exist, we understand that our greatest strength is in solidarity.
I fear that over the next four years there will be a great need for these funds.
I have discussed this plan with staff of CAIR. I also sent messages to Linda Sarsour, so far without success.
If you or anyone you know is interested in donating to such a fund, please be in touch. In the meantime, do donate to the existing LaunchGood fund.