CAST (Combating Antisemitism Task Force)

In recognition of the growing threat of antisemitism in neighboring communities and around the world, Rabbi Josh Breindel convened a task force on antisemitism. One of its first accomplishments was having Beth El’s board formally adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and reaching out to the larger community to do the same. This is an excerpt from that definition:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

The definition includes examples to clarify whether something is antisemitic. Criticism of Israel “similar to that leveled against any other country” cannot be regarded as antisemitism, whereas “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” is antisemitic. 

CAST’s Mission

Congregation Beth El’s CAST — recognizing that Jews, among other groups, have been especially subject to persecution and discrimination throughout history and still today — works to disrupt antisemitism and extremist hate through education, outreach, and action. 


  • Respond promptly to antisemitic and other hate incidents in the Metrowest area, in collaboration with faith communities and other anti-hate groups.
  • Call out, speak out, and stand up against antisemitic activities.
  • Build alliances to spread awareness and understanding of the Jewish experience and antisemitism, and how it’s a marker for repression of all minorities. 
  • Promote security practices to preempt or handle attacks or harassment.
  • Share information about local, national, and international trends; create and maintain a repository of resources.
  • Identify and share tools and resources for addressing antisemitism, including educational initiatives, materials, and political campaigns.

What we’ve been doing

Our education and collaboration activities have included the following:

  • Brought in American Jewish Committee speaker to further explain the IHRA definition to our membership (video here)
  • Co-sponsored active-shooter intervention and greeter/usher trainings with Safety & Security Task Force 
  • Arranged viewing and follow-up discussion of presentation by Dara Horn, author of People Love Dead Jews
  • Shared information with ADL and board on insidious “Boston Mapping Project” and explored ways to expose the anonymous authors
  • Piloted Act Against Antisemitism for ADL/URJ and continued as a Kulanu member, also supporting Beth Elohim Acton’s Kulanu committee.
  • Collaborated with community organizations on Interdependence Day: We’ve Got Your Back event in Sudbury (2022)
  • Presented information and workshops at Sudbury Family Pride Day on the theme of “We’ve Got Your Back” (2023)
  • Promoted and attended vigil (Stow) and rally (Wayland) in response to antisemitic incidents.
  • Co-sponsored March Against Hate in Acton (2023)
  • Partnered with Beth El’s Antiracism Working Group, Safety & Security Taskforce, and Adult Education


The following organizations have online tools that are particularly relevant for helping our community — especially at this time of open conflict in the Middle East.

ADL (Antidefamation League)

Facing History and Ourselves

    • Lessons for how to talk to children (grades 6-12) about antisemitism, terror and war  
    • Lessons and strategies for helping students recognize and address online antisemitism


    • Tips for talking about Israel with children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and mental health needs

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

    • International independent Jewish news source 

Secure Community Network

    • The official Jewish safety & security organization — publishes a daily update about incidents and news