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University panel hosts, 'Understanding Anti-Semitism' panel in the wake of shooting

Jewish leaders also said understanding antisemitism doesn't just help understand this attack, but it also helps understand other hate crimes.

Nearly a week after the devastating attack at the Temple of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the University of Iowa hosted a panel titled 'Understanding Anti-Semitism' as a way to help communities in the Corridor seeking answers.

"For us in the Jewish community, it feels like a loss of innocence," said Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz of the Agudas Achim Congregation in Coralville.

Rabbi Hugenholtz recently moved to her congregation as a European immigrant and did not think something like this attack could happen in the United States.

"I have felt welcome from day one," said Hugenholtz.

"I've talked about this in my classes in the past. I never thought I'd have to talk about it because people were murdered in a synagogue," said Professor Robert Cargill.

Professor Cargill, who teaches classics and religious studies, hoped to explain why anti-Semitism exists even today by showing how ancient biblical texts are sometimes misunderstood as a justification for violence.

But he also talked about how people can use the information about the past and their own religion to move forward.

"If they (people) can come to terms with who they are as people of faith, they can go forward as tolerant individuals," said Cargill.

"We can disagree on our values, on policies, on different worldviews, but what we can't disagree on is our common humanity," said Hugenholtz.

Jewish leaders also said understanding anti-Semitism doesn't just help understand this attack, but it also helps understand other hate crimes.

"It is not a zero-sum game between different forms of bigotry. It's a recognition that all of our lots are tied together," said Hugenholtz. Whether you're African American, whether you're LGBTQ, [or] whether you're a person with disabilities."


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