The Atlanta Initiative Against Anti-Semitism plans to hold a communitywide forum in October to address the problem of anti-Semitism in public and private schools.

The forum, at a date and location to be announced, will bring together members of the Jewish community with representatives from the state Education Department, school districts and individual schools. The guest list will include teachers, guidance counselors and even bus drivers, who often are on the front lines of bullying and hate.

The founding partners of AIAAS, Lauren Menis, Danielle Cohen, Lisa Freedman and Hildee Isaacs, plan to use the same format that worked at the leadership forum the organization held March 30: a few speakers setting the scene for facilitated table discussions.

“Why reinvent the wheel when we already had a successful format?” Cohen said.

It was successful enough for American Jewish Committee Atlanta to bestow its Advocacy Award on AIAAS. The presentation was planned for the Selig Distinguished Service Award Dinner on Wednesday night, May 24.

“It is a true honor to be recognized for the impact of AIAAS’ endeavor to advance the dialogue and action against anti-Semitism in our community,” Cohen said. “In an ideal world AIAAS would not be necessary, but sadly it is a reality that demands our attention. Our hope is that this growing, grassroots effort continues to effect and to be the change we all wish to see in the world.”

At a volunteer training session Sunday, May 21, AIAAS announced three other initiatives:

  • Making the leadership forum an annual event to keep building the coalition.
  • Launching a community campaign in which some symbol of opposition to anti-Semitism is displayed publicly.
  • Organizing support for hate-crimes legislation in Georgia, one of five states without such a law.

AIAAS always welcomes more volunteers. Email, or visit