A recent vigil on Jesup Green, organized to call for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas terrorists, drew a crowd of several hundred people, including First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker and other town officials. / File photo

WESTPORT — With a surge in antisemitic incidents reported over the last year nationally and statewide, which spiked in the wake of terrorist attacks on Israel, First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker issued a statement Monday condemning what she calls “shocking and horrifying” hate incidents.

“Antisemitic incidents have increased by 388 percent according to a report released by the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] last week,” Tooker said.

“This data is shocking and horrifying. Leaders like me all around the country, in large cities and in small towns, are monitoring these trends and communicating with organizations like the ADL and our local clergy to publicly stand against these incidents in our communities,” the first selectwoman added.

Rabbi Michael Friedman of Temple Israel, in a recent emailed message, echoed those concerns.

“We are all feeling vulnerable,” he wrote. “Many of you have told me about experiencing actions and words over the past two weeks that were hurtful or harmful.”

Tooker, in her message, said, “I want the residents and business owners of Westport to know that there is no place for hate — no place for antisemitic behavior — in Westport. Our community strongly rejects hate in all forms.

She encouraged anyone who is targeted or witnesses antisemitism to report the incident to police.

“We are here for you. We want you to feel safe, and heard. We want you to know that you are a valued member of our community, that you belong here,” Tooker said.

“It is up to all of us to stand together and speak up – clearly and unequivocally — against hate, and specifically antisemitism, and any language or actions that feed or normalize it. 

“Again, when one of us is harmed, we are all harmed.”