Submitted by Howard Reubenstein
Let’s change the headlines from anti-semitism hits Bedford to “Acceptance and Understanding Flourish in Bedford”
The recent incidents in Bedford were acts of ignorance not acts of violence or hate. That does not mean they should be ignored, but Superintendent Sills, the schools and the police have done a very good job of handling the problems so far. They did not brush it under the rug — as one might fear could happen somewhere else. They organized meaningful and ongoing discussions. In other words, Bedford is handling this well. To summarize in precise (but perhaps quirky) terminology: while the acts may have been anti-semitic they were not evidence of anti-semitism (e.g, 4th and 5th graders playing kill the Jews is ignorance on the part of parents and children).
Unfortunately, a huge audience has jumped on this, local Rabbis, the ADL, Channel 5 news and much broader news outlets. If you Google “Bedford MA”, anti-semitism is in on the first page. Google “Bedford MA Jews” and anti-semitism is all over. An outsider would think we have skin-heads running through the streets committing heinous acts.
Thankfully Bedford has responded to these incidents with openness and has taken the opportunity to engage in broader discussions of diversity. The community is responding well, so let’s change the headlines.