BLOOMINGTON — Responding to hate with love - it is the way students and a rabbi with the IU Bloomington campus community are reacting after several antisemitic incidents occurred on or around campus this weekend.
“From my freshman year to my junior year there have been just so many incidents of Semitism,” Shawn Konichowsky said.
The IU Bloomington Junior serves as the Chabad Development Chair.
At least three incidents — all involving images of swastikas — occurred over the weekend on or near campus. Two of the three incidents were reported and IUPD and Bloomington Police are investigating. All three incidents happened during Hanukkah.
“You can’t let someone make you feel small for who you are when they won’t even face you,” Konichowsky said.
Rabbi Levi Cunin added: “The story of Hanukkah 2,000 years later just happened. It’s the modern-day Hanukkah story.”
The Co-Director at the Chabad Jewish Student Center said a student alerted him to one of the swastikas painted on the side of a building a few blocks from campus on Saturday. Cunin decided to light a menorah next to this hateful image and worked with a group of students to paint over it.
“This is kind of what we’re here to do. We’re here to show people that when there is hate and someone wants to make you feel small with who you are, you respond with love, kindness,” Konichowsky said.
Rabbi Cunin said he is thankful for the community’s support.
“I would love to ask on behalf of the entire Jewish community if you see any hate in any form, please respond with more love and more light,” Cunin said.
Moving forward, both students and leaders in the Jewish community on campus want awareness and education to continue.
“I’m optimistic that we will get to a place where the campus community is standing with the Jewish community,” Konichowsky said. “The religious community has a great opportunity to come together with the campus leadership and make something really, really big that fights against that darkness and that hate.”
IU Hillel sent the following statement in regard to the anti-Semitic incidents over the weekend.
The IU Provost took to Twitter to share the following statement:
In the face of hate, it takes great strength to react with love.— IU Provost (@IUBProvost) December 6, 2021
I’m proud of our students in @chabadiu for doing this when they noticed antisemitic vandalism on a building off campus this past weekend. We condemn this kind of vandalism as clearly unacceptable.
Anyone with information relating to on-campus crime is asked to call IUPD at 812-855-4111 and ask to speak to an officer. Off-campus, officers ask you to call Bloomington Police at 812-339-4477.