Synagogues and Jewish venues urged to avoid racial profiling in security searches

Security guards at synagogues and other Jewish venues should search the bags of all visitors in order to avoid racial profiling, says a report on racial inclusivity in the Jewish community.

Jews of colour described being held back for bag searches while paler skinned friends or relatives were waved through the doors.

The report also recommends that people from underrepresented ethnic groups be encouraged to put themselves forward to train as rabbis or for other communal roles.

Jewish schools should teach black history, slavery and the legacy of colonialism, and the use of Yiddish terms such as “shvartzer” should be understood as racial slurs, と言いました.

The Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community makes more than 100 recommendations after hearing from witnesses from different backgrounds, traditions and political views. It was set up by the Board of Deputies of British Jews after the murder of George Floyd 昨年.

In the report, Stephen Bush, the political editor of the New Statesman who led the commission, 言う: “Jews have widely different views on what it means to ‘be’ Jewish, or to ‘act’ Jewish; but there is no comprehensive means to ‘look’ Jewish. Racial diversity should never be a reason for exclusion.”

His recommendations were intended to “enhance communal life for black Jews, Jews of colour and Sephardi, Mizrahi and Yemenite Jews”.

The report calls for Jewish bodies to have accessible, transparent, fair and robust processes for dealing with complaints relating to racism, and for institutions to mark key dates for ethnic groups, such as the Ethiopian Jewish festival of Sigd.

Security – an “essential component of preserving the Jewish way of life in the UK” – was a recurrent theme in testimony. One witness said: “I’ve been told at the door that I’m not Jewish by a non-Jewish security guard. So the biggest struggle for me whenever I go to a new shul [synagogue] … is always to do with the security guard, because I don’t want to be embarrassed.”

Some said they no longer went to synagogue because of being stopped at the entrance.

The report made “difficult reading”, said Marie van der Zyl, the board’s president. She hoped it would be a “starting point for a wider conversation … about how to tackle and defeat the scourge of racism”.