(New York Jewish Week via JTA) — A Jewish educator is suing a New York synagogue, claiming that she was fired from her job for espousing anti-Zionist beliefs online.
According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday morning in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Jessie Sander said she was fired from her position at the Westchester Reform Temple — a Reform congregation in Scarsdale — after less than three weeks. She believes her dismissal was a response to a blog post she wrote that expressed anti-Zionist beliefs during the Israeli-Gaza conflict in May 2021.
Sander, 26, had been hired as a full-time educator for the WRTeen Initiative, a program connected to the synagogue’s Jewish Learning Lab. Sander had written the blog post on May 20, 2021 — 10 days after she had been offered the position at Westchester Reform Temple, but before her start date on July 6, 2021. Nothing in the job description, the complaint says, required she should or should not have any particular viewpoint towards Israel and Zionism.
Among other things, she and a co-author asserted in her blog post that “[I]srael’s legalized apartheid regime has been brutalizing Palestinians for decades” and that she is part of an organization that “rejects the Zionist claim to the land of Palestine.”