update deskAntisemitism

Richmond Jewish food festival canceled due to threats, security costs 

“We didn’t feel like we had it in us to pull off a massive event,” said Rabbi Dovid Asher, director of the city’s Keneseth Beth Israel synagogue.

Matzah-Ball Soup
Matzah-ball soup. Credit: Elzbieta Sekowska/Shutterstock.

The emotional toll from the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks in Israel, coupled with a subsequent burst in hate crimes and the need for increased guards on Saturday services, have led to the indefinite postponement of one of the most prominent annual Jewish events in Richmond, Va.

Rabbi Dovid Asher, director of Keneseth Beth Israel, called the Richmond Jewish Food Festival organized by the congregation the “biggest Jewish event” annually in the city. In the past, the gathering had acted as a successful fundraiser and a way to connect with the broader community.

Asher noted that the synagogue’s security costs have risen tremendously—up to $500 each Sabbath. He further described how the Jewish community still felt “reeling emotionally” and that they didn’t feel like they  “had it in us to pull off a massive event.”

On Monday at Richmond’s Congregation Or Ami, police responded to a bomb threat. A check of the building showed no dangers. Over the weekend, dozens of synagogues across the country—some reports stated as many as 200—received similar “swatting” threats.

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