New “JewBelong” billboards around St. Louis fight anti-Semitism

ST. LOUIS – You may notice some new billboards in the St. Louis area with shocking messages. It is part of a national anti-Semitism awareness campaign.

JudeBelonga non-profit organization dedicated to making Judaism accessible and fighting anti-Semitism has put up billboards with four new messages in the St. Louis area.

Archie Gottesman, co-founder of JewBelong, tells FOX 2 that anti-Semitism has increased in the United States over the past two years. The billboards are part of an effort not only to counteract this, but to lower the barriers to entry for anyone wanting to learn more about Judaism.

“One way to get people aware of the problem is through billboards,” Gottesman said. “People see them, we put them up on main streets, they’re pink and white and they say pretty shocking messages.”

A billboard at I-170 and Woodson Road reads: “Can a billboard end anti-Semitism? No. But you’re not a billboard.”

Another billboard at I-70 & Lucas and Hunt Road reads: “Judaism: come for your girlfriend. Stay because there is no hell.”

There are also message billboards on I-70 near Hughes Boulevard and I-64 near Jefferson Avenue.

If we say something like, “It’s been 78 years since the gas chambers.” “Well no, a billboard calling out anti-Semitism is not an overreaction.” People say, ‘Wait, what did that say?'”

According to JewBelong, there was a record 30 antisemitic incidents in Missouri in 2022. Gottesman said many people are unaware that anti-Semitism is on the rise.

“The anti-Semitism that JewBelong is experiencing is pretty horrific,” Gottesman said. “There are people who say, ‘Hitler should have finished the job, and the Jew should have gone in the oven.’ We need to make them aware of this, and do it in a bold way, in a way that we’re not afraid of not everyone liking the way we’re doing it.”

The ADL Examination of Antisemitic Incidents found that the number of incidents of anti-Semitic harassment and vandalism in the St. Louis area (Missouri, southern Illinois, and eastern Kansas) increased by 88% from 2021 to 2022.

“Our overall feeling is that any attempt to promote understanding and counteract intolerance is a positive step,” said Jordan Kadosh, regional director of ADL Heartland.

The billboards were put up last week and will remain up until September 24th. New “JewBelong” billboards around St. Louis fight anti-Semitism

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