Saving our institutions and our reputations in the meltdown

Did you know that greedy Jewish bankers are behind the current financial meltdown?

You would if you read some of the vicious right-wing hate sites lurking on the Internet.

While these kinds of anti-Semitic canards have long been utterly refuted and dismissed, they seem unwilling to die. Apparently, as long as people need a scapegoat for the troubles in this world, some will always point a misguided finger at the Jews.

A story in this week’s j. cites a few egregious examples on neo-Nazi hate sites. While it is easy to dismiss them as the remarks of a handful of kooks, one wonders how much these sentiments might bubble up as the economy deteriorates. They seem to be increasing.

“Saturday Night Live” joined the fray, staging a dreadful sketch Oct. 4 that arguably drew on stereotypes of Jews as wealthy, heartless and unduly influential.

Not funny.

None of this surprises us. As this global financial crisis worsens, some people will devolve to their baser instincts and blame Jews for causing or benefiting from the economic collapse.

This line of attack stretches back to the 19th century, to the era of the European Jewish banking families such as the Rothschilds, and to the scurrilous czarist forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Thankfully, the Anti-Defamation League and other like-minded organizations are out there today, ever vigilant and fighting the good fight. The Jewish community will not take any new outrages lying down.

And while that fight goes on, there’s another equally important fight for which we must prepare: the fight to keep our local and national Jewish institutions financially healthy during this time of economic uncertainty.

The premiere institutions that keep the Jewish community thriving — from Bay Area federations and synagogues to Jewish day schools and JCCs — all depend on donations and endowments to survive.

If the economic crunch causes donors to withhold giving to these institutions, we could see potentially catastrophic consequences.

We cannot allow this to happen.

Now is the time, when circumstances test us, that we must show our mettle as a community. We must stand strong and keep our agencies and institutions going strong.

By digging deep and keeping up donations, we will show what we are made of. The haters will have nowhere to go but down and out.

On a happier note, we want to wish all of our readers and advertisers a joyous Sukkot.