HELENA — Consul General Marco Sermoneta of Israel visited the Montana Jewish Project at Temple Emanu-El on Wednesday afternoon.
The Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest sat down with community members and board members of the MJP Wednesday afternoon during his tour of Montana.
“I think it went fantastic. I mean to me, this felt like a beginning, not like a one-point event with Ambassador Sermoneta,” says Co-Founder and President of the Board of the Montana Jewish Project, Rebecca Stanfel.
During the hour-long meeting, Stanfel orated the history of Temple Emanu-El, spoke on rising antisemitism, and opened up the floor to questions and discussion.
Sermoneta had this to say on the topic of rising antisemitism.
“We are aware of the fact that there’s been an increasing number of incidents, online and offline. And it is part of our responsibility to, you know, to work with communities, to work with local governments, to make sure that these things are dealt with and that there is awareness to that,” says Sermoneta.
Based out of San Francisco, Sermoneta is a link between Israel and the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington, Northern California, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana. During his visit to Helena, Sermoneta also met with Governor Greg Gianforte and Attorney General Austin Knudsen. Additionally, Missoula and Bozeman are on the itinerary for the tour.
Sermoneta is meant to be a conduit between Israel and local community leaders and politicians in these states in order to build coalitions and partnerships. This trip is designed to begin a dialogue and relationship between Israel and those he meets.
Stanfel says she hopes that, among other benefits, this meeting will help grow awareness around the mission of the Montana Jewish Project.
“Well, we are, as you know, a very new, young organization. So, I think he could help with visibility and people understanding what’s going on now. I think just bringing those, the stories he hears here in Helena, he’s also been to Missoula and Bozeman, bringing those back to San Francisco, bringing those back to his bosses in Israel, I think is very important,” says Stanfel.
Sermoneta says he is happy with the way that his time in Montana has gone and is looking forward to further work in the future.
“I’m really enjoying my time in Montana, that I hope to come back soon, that I think that there’s a lot to be done in terms of working together on a variety of issues,” says Sermoneta.