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Orange County Jewish Federation leads summit to counter prejudice, bigotry

The event took place at the University of California, Irvine, which also served as co-sponsor.

Irvine Civic Center, California. Credit: Azusa Tarn via Wikimedia Commons.
Irvine Civic Center, California. Credit: Azusa Tarn via Wikimedia Commons.

Elected officials, nonprofit leaders, hate-crime prosecutors and law-enforcement officials gathered at the University of California, Irvine, on Feb. 8 to examine and discuss pushing back against prejudice through the lens of sociology and criminology.

“At a time when antisemitism and bigotry have been normalized, this summit sent a clear message: There’s no home for hate in Orange County,” Erik Ludwig, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Orange County, said at the meeting. “A strong democracy depends on our ability as civic leaders to put an end to hate. We’re proud to partner with UC Irvine to help translate this bold vision into a new reality for communities from Seal Beach to San Clemente.”

Jeff Margolis, chair of the Jewish Federation of Orange County’s Rose Project, noted that “Orange County has been used as a laboratory for pushing contemporary forms of antisemitism and hate over the past several decades, and countering these insidious efforts requires recognition, awareness and containment by local officials.”

In his speech at the summit, California Attorney General Rob Bonta stated: “I want to make it clear that I am your partner, and my door is always open to you.” 

He added that he stands “in solidarity with the Jewish community here in California, who have and will continue to be impacted by the conflict in Israel and the vitriol spreading throughout our nation.”

Jon Gould, dean of UC Irvine’s School of Social Ecology, supported that sentiment, saying “tolerance and respect are at the center of the University of California, Irvine’s academic mandate and are core values we share with the Jewish Federation of Orange County.”

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