“You’re a coward, tell us who you are” – Chicago Tribune
Northbrook Police are investigating bundles of anti-Semitic literature found in the residential area of Northbrook last week and June 13.
At the Northbrook Board meeting Tuesday (June 14) at Northbrook Village Hall, Northbrook Village President Kathryn L. Ciesla read a statement from the Village Council on Northbrook’s anti-Semitic incidents, but first made personal comments. Here are excerpts.
“A moron, a coward, put a whole bunch of anonymous notes, anonymous anti-Semitic flyers in actually two of our neighborhoods,” Ciesla said. “This coward doesn’t sign his flyers.
“I want to say very clearly, you are a coward,” Ciesla said.
The flurry of activity is part of a recent trend of anti-Semitic packets found locally.
On April 24, approximately 200 people attended the United Against Anti-Semitism rally at the Glen in Glenview to address anti-Jewish activities in Glenview and on the North Shore. The rally was started by Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton (14th District) of Glenview after receiving what he described as anti-Semitic hate literature at his home on March 3.
Elected officials and citizens of the suburbs filled a multipurpose room at Attea College that day. Northbrook elected officials were among those attending the rally.
“Tell us who you are,” Ciesla said Tuesday. “Hate has no home here, anti-Semitism has no home here, discrimination has no home here. This is a community that won’t tolerate that, so go back under the rock where you came from.
“We don’t want you here.”
Sacks of literature were weighed down by rocks along the edges of the residential driveways. Northbrook Police may have access to security videos to help locate the source of the literature, but pending use has not been confirmed.
Ciesla was contacted by members of the local Jewish community to thank the village for its stand.
Ciesla confirmed that Tuesday’s talks with the Jewish United Fund (JUF) will lead to educational programs and other community actions to help deal with the surge in Northbrook.
After the meeting, Ciesla said, “What’s upsetting is that people think like that, isn’t it?
“It’s heartbreaking that people are so bigoted.”
Ciesla’s comments came the same evening a proclamation was read designating June 19, 2022 in Northbrook in honor of the federal Juneteenth holiday.
Upon hearing about the upsurge in anti-Semitic activity in Ciesla, Northbrook Village Administrator Joy U. Ebhomielen was “really shocked.
“I was shocked to hear about it,” Ebhomielen said. “We have such a large Jewish community here that it surprises me that anyone is even starting to target people.”
At the Village Hall, as the sun set on June 14 on what was also Flag Day, the Progress Pride Flag for Pride Month had moments of spectacular unfurling on a blustery evening and humid above 90 degrees.
In the vicinity of Northbrook’s town centre, the Progress Pride flag banners are light beacons installed as street signage in the village.
During the board meeting, Ciesla delivered the June 19 proclamation to Alice Lonoff of Northbrook, a member of the village community commission.
Visibly proud, Lonoff immediately showed the handout to members of the public Melissa Dane of Northbrook, Jennifer Saperstein of Northbrook and Saperstein’s daughter, Zoe Saperstein, 15, a sophomore at Glenbrook North High School.
At the end of the brief board meeting, Jennifer Saperstein and Dane spoke about anti-Semitism at Northbrook.
Hearing from Ciesla, “it was heartbreaking,” said Jennifer Saperstein, president of the Community Commission, who had just learned that evening of the June 13 incidents.
Dane, a member of the Community Commission, said: “The person is a coward and only annoys people. Obviously this is a high percentage Jewish community.
“I was impressed and really appreciated that the board not only released a statement but took a moment at the board meeting to really talk about it and make sure they are doing all they can to support the whole community,” says Dan.
A social post on a neighborhood app shows a picture taken on Braeside Lane in east Northbrook of a clear green zip-lock plastic bag. The package contained rice and literature showing a swastika. The pictured bag was found shortly after sunrise by a neighbor who was walking around.
One of the papers in the packet says, “Every aspect of the media is Jewish.
Northbrook’s social poster wrote: ‘I haven’t opened it to read any more of her sickening message as I’m going to hand them over to the police.
“Every aisle on the street had a bag.”
Alice Lonoff is part of RAIN (Racial Awareness in the North Shore), a grassroots organization founded in 2015.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Lonoff said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”
Mary Hansen of Northbrook, a RAIN member, appeared before council to speak about community acceptance and belonging.
“We are in a period of transition,” Hansen said after the meeting. “Transitions are always difficult.
“But,” Hansen said, “we’re getting there.”
Ebhomielen is encouraged by Northbrook’s June 19 proclamation.
Still, “I think we have a lot of work to do,” Ebhomielen said, “but we are making progress.”
Karie Angell Luc is a freelance writer for Pioneer Press.