LOS ANGELES — There is something sacred about being inside the synagogue.
Avi Levy has grown up at Sephardic Temple where he says his grandfather, Issac Behar, was a cantor. Levy says it was his grandfather’s musical talent that helped him escape the torture and for many, death that millions of Jewish people endured during the holocaust.
“He used the violin to play in front of Nazi generals and the violin helped him escape, or shall I say move away from the concentration camps,” Levy said.
The hate and antisemitism that fueled the holocaust is still a factor today.
One out of four Jews in the United States say they have been the subject of anti-Semitism over the past year, according to American Jewish Committee reports.
This month, more anti-Jewish flyers with propaganda style hate speech related to the COVID pandemic and Jewish people were found again in Beverly Hills and for the first time, in Pasadena and Manhattan Beach.
In September, two men part of a caravan in support of Palestinian rights amid violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, are accused of an antisemitic hate crime after allegedly attacking two men sitting outside a restaurant because of their religion.
These incidents hit close to home for many in the Jewish community, including Sam Yebri a local attorney and candidate for Los Angeles City Council.
He says his family fled Iran as refuges due to religious persecution.
Sam says he experienced antisemitism first hand in 2019 when vandals broke into the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills where he worships.
“When we see any form of hate or bigotry we have a duty to call it out, we have to call out hate from all corners of our community,” Yebri said.
Taking action is something Levy says if his grandfather were alive, would encourage.
“I think he would talk about communication and make sure that everyone’s information is correct and communicate more about our religion and others religion,” Levy said.
As we approach a new year, Levy says he hopes hate will be left behind and all of us can move forward together.