Monday, June 7, 2010

Anti-Semitic game: Isolated incident or growing problem?

by Keith Matheny

It's "just a game" with a "stupid name." No one was harmed.

That's what some La Quinta High School students and community members say about "Beat the Jew" — a game that school officials say seven students gathered at the school parking lot on May 20 to play. About 40 students were part of a Facebook group dedicated to the game, which was played off school property. An unspecified number of students will be suspended for their involvement, school officials said Friday.

But The Desert Sun has learned of numerous other alleged incidences of anti-Semitism at Coachella Valley schools, ranging from swastikas on school walls and desks, inappropriate jokes and taunts toward Jewish students, and worse.

"I've heard from two teachers that belong to other school districts (besides La Quinta). This is not an isolated incident," said Rabbi Avi Levine of Temple Sinai in Palm Desert.

Rabbi Shimon Posner of Chabad of Rancho Mirage concurred.

"There's definitely other things going on," said Posner, who has asked victims of anti-Semitism to contact him with their accounts.

Posner declined to provide details of specific incidents because they were relayed to him in confidence, he said.

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