ADL Hosts Event As It Mulls Minnesota Expansion

With anti-Semitic incidents on the rise nationwide, the Anti-Defamation League has spent the last couple years exploring how to become a presence in markets currently unserved by the century-old agency. That includes Minnesota.

The ADL will be hosting an informational session on Oct. 10 at the Sabes JCC, featuring Lonnie Nasatir, the ADL’s Midwest Regional Director, Susan Segal, the Minneapolis City Attorney, and Brad Lehrman, a Sabes JCC board member and ADL volunteer.

“It truly will be a conversation about what’s being done civically (regarding anti-Semitism) and the ADL and what could you do to be more involved,” said Matt Feldman, the associate director of development for the ADL’s Midwest office. “It’s less presentation, more community conversation.”

Padilla and Feldman said the ADL has trained officers on the Alexandria and St. Paul police forces and will be training officers in St. Cloud as part of the group’s Managing Implicit Bias in Law Enforcement program.

Feldman said that outside of the federal government, the ADL is the largest trainer of law enforcement in the country, training more than 15,000 officers per year.

Bonnie Padilla, the Twin Cities coordinator for the ADL, said the organization’s work falls into three silos: anti-Semitism, implicit bias training, and education. There is some crossover in that work and that of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

“Lonnie is an outstanding professional and a good friend,” said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. “We complement each other’s effort. We need to take care not to cannibalize resources and duplicate efforts.”

“We’re trying to not have the appearance that we’re grabbing for market share,” said Feldman. “Anti-Semitism will always be a part of the ADL portfolio. But what people don’t know about is our broad-based anti-bias work. But we know JCRC is doing such an amazing job that we’re not trying muscle in.”

Feldman and Mike Hartman, a local ADL committee member, said that the ADL has kept the JCRC in the loop as they’ve proceeded.

“I know the ADL won’t work if we’re putting a wedge in what the JCRC is doing,” Hartman said.

Said Feldman: “[The JCRC] is the go-to voice in the community. If it’s more anti-bias at large, it’s more in the ADL sweet spot. In that regard, we’ve found our work symbiotic. We’re trying to be more of service in town in a supplemental way.”