Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit hosted community forum amid growing antisemitic attacks

‘We need to stop this, come out and speak out against it’

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit hosted a community forum Wednesday amid growing antisemitic attacks, including a recent incident at a synagogue in Bloomfield Township.

Several law enforcement leaders and the Oakland County prosecutor spoke at the forum, briefing the community on the incident at Temple Beth El earlier in the month.

Hundreds of people from the Jewish community attended the forum, expressing concern about recent events.

“Growing up here in West Bloomfield, I remember little incidents (like) people using words that were offensive and stuff like that, but nothing like what happened at Temple Beth El,” said Wendy Shanker.

The antisemitic rant happened on Dec. 2, when a man allegedly threatened preschoolers and their parents in front of Temple Beth El. The suspect, Hassan Chokr, is charged with two counts of ethnic intimidation and is being held on a $1 million bond.

“We need to stop this, come out and speak out against it,” said Steven Ingber, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

Read: Family of Dearborn man charged in ethnic intimidation case ask for mental health support

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard and other law enforcement members briefed the community on the incident and response measures moving forward.

“If somebody wants to come for the Jewish community, they got to come through me first, and after that, they have to come through my 1,400 people at the sheriff’s office, and after that, they have to come through every police department in Oakland County,” said Bouchard.

Local 4 also heard from the Anti-Defamation League about the importance of reporting antisemitic incidents and the resources available to the community.

About the Authors:

Jacqueline Francis is an award-winning journalist who joined the WDIV team in September 2022. Prior to Local 4, she reported for the NBC affiliate in West Michigan. When she’s not on the job, Jacqueline enjoys taking advantage of all the wonders Michigan has to offer, from ski trips up north to beach days with her dog, Ace.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.