Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Anti-Semitism on the Rise / Extreme Weather

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Feb 28, 2017 8:00 PM

Educators evacuate an infant and small children from an Albany, NY Jewish Community Center following a bomb threat

Vandals desecrated nearly 100 headstones in a Philadelphia cemetery last weekend.  As communities rallied to fix the damage on Monday, bomb threats led to the evacuation of Jewish Community Centers in Harrisburg, York and in New Jersey and Delaware.  A total of twenty bomb threats were made against Jewish Centers in twelve states. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center identified 1,034 hate incidents since the beginning of the year.  "A lot were anti-Semitic" said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the SLPC.  This is in contrast to 2014 when the FBI reported 609 anti-Jewish crimes for the entire year.

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While no bombs were found and no people were physically harmed, the vandalism and threats have Jewish communities across the country on edge. 

Governor Wolf released a statement assuring support for Jewish Pennsylvanians:  "Any anti-Semitic act or act of intimidation aimed at Jewish institutions and people in Pennsylvania is truly reprehensible, and we must find those responsible and hold them accountable.  This is not who we are as Americans or Pennsylvanians."

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Rabbi Carl Choper / Geoffrey Biringer - Director of Education and Outreach, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

Wednesday's Smart Talk addresses the uptick in anti-Semitic incidents with leaders of the Jewish community including Rabbi Carl Choper, Jennifer Ross, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg; Nancy Baron-Baer, Executive Director of the Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia, Geoffrey Biringer, Director of Education and Outreach with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and Democratic State Senator Daylin Leach.

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Nancy Baron-Baer - Executive Director, the Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia / Jennifer Ross - President and CEO, the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg / Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach (D-17th)

Also, the region has experienced more extreme weather than usual, Smart Talk discusses recent storms and tornados with meteorologist Matt Steinbugl of the National Weather Service.


- I am standing in front of all American Jewish community to protect as I always protect my Fellow Muslims.                                                                                                       - Khalid, Chambersburg

- When trump states that he has 'jews'counting his money, is that racist?

When he appeals to racist for votes isn't there an expected racist push back when his daughter marries one and he has wealthy Jews in his cabinet that are caught up In questionable fraud against American consumers?                                                                                  - David

- What is the incitement that anti sematics draw on, please specify.          - Edward

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