Twice as many anti-Semitic incidents occurred in the first nine months of 2017 in the Anti-Defamation League’s Southeast Region as were reported in the same period of 2016.

“We are deeply troubled by the rise in anti-Semitic incidents targeting our communities,” ADL Southeast Regional Director Allison Padilla-Goodman said in announcing the findings Thursday, Nov. 2. She said the numbers include “a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents in K-12 schools in the greater Atlanta area.”

In response to that surge in incidents, the Atlanta Initiative Against Anti-Semitism was scheduled to hold its closed-door Tackling Anti-Semitism for Our Kids (TASK) Conference with 250 representative of school districts, schools, Jewish organizations and other concerned groups Wednesday, Nov. 8, at Temple Emanu-El.

Nationally, the latest ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents reported 1,299 incidents from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, a 67 percent increase from the same period of 2016 and more than the 1,266 incidents reported for all of last year.

In the Southeast Region, covering Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee, harassment was up 83 percent and vandalism up 180 percent.

High-profile Atlanta-area school-based incidents have included swastikas and Hitler salutes, and “we don’t think the statistics paint a full picture of what is happening,” Padilla-Goodman said. “We are regularly hearing about new incidents from victims who are learning to recognize and respond to bias.”