NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. — Members of the Jewish Community Synagogue hosted a Passover Seder dinner for members of the community Wednesday.
"It commemorates the day the Jews were freed from Egypt," Rabbi Leib Ezagui said. "In honor of the holiday, we drink four cups of wine and we eat matzah. We eat flat bread. It represents getting rid of evil."
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Passover is a day for Jewish people to reflect on their history and the hurdles they've overcome as the Anti-Defamation League reports antisemitic incidents in Florida have nearly tripled over the past four years.
Ezagui said antisemitism is nothing new and this Passover is a reminder for them to grow stronger and stay positive.
"The only way to get rid of negativity is to be positive," Ezagui said. "We don't fight head-to-head and we don't try to destroy or break down those that have something negative to say."
The ADL reports Florida had the fourth most antisemitic incidents in the U.S. in 2022, with 269 last year.
Ezagui said the antisemitic acts have reminded people to come together.
"The more you hate us, the stronger we become, and the stronger we become, the bigger we become," Ezagui said.
He said their membership has doubled in the last couple of years and they have had to implement security surrounding the synagogue.
"I'm an activist," synagogue member Ike Jacobson said. "I get personal threats all the time, either on AOL, Facebook, etc. I'm used to it. It doesn't scare me because activism is really important."
Jacobson said he teaches people self-defense, and the synagogue has hosted awareness training as messages of hate continue to spread in parts of Florida.
"We have to stand forward," Jacobson said. "We have to be proud of our religion. We have to be proud being Jewish, because if we start hiding from it, they won."
Jacobson would like for more education in schools to better understand the Jewish culture.