NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Political and religious leaders came together for a press conference Wednesday on the New Haven Green to condemn rising antisemitism. They chose this day because the Jewish holiday of Passover begins at sundown.

Last week, someone scattered white supremacist fliers in Hamden and New Haven neighborhoods. New Haven resident Paul Wessel found one.

“I don’t feel hurt by this,” Wessel said. “I feel emboldened by it.”

Leaders from both communities joined Wessel on the New Haven Green to denounce that kind of hate.

“It is hurtful for people to walk out of their door and see this kind of crap in front of their door, in front of their house, and to not know where it came from,” Mayor Lauren Garrett (D-Hamden) said.

Especially so close to the important Jewish holiday of Passover.

“Tonight [Wednesday], we remember the exodus on the first night of Passover as we recall the bitterness of bondage and then the sweet taste of freedom,” Gerald Barker, the president of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, said.

The Anti-Defamation League tracks antisemitic incidents across the country, and the numbers have never been higher — not even close. Nationwide, there were almost a thousand more from 2021 to 2022. That’s a 36% increase.

That increase was even more significant in Connecticut, with 34 in 2021 and 68 in 2022 — a 100% increase in antisemitic incidents in our state. That is alarming to Christians as well. Lent is a time for Christians to admit their sins.

“One of the greatest sins in history is the belief, the inappropriate belief, the biblically incorrect belief that Jews are responsible for the death of Christ,” Rev. Thomas Jackson of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church said.

No one is sure what misguided thinking is behind last week’s fliers.

“It’s all intended to divide us in ways that are not helpful and not who we are,” Wessel said,

Who we are, they say, is a community that welcomes everyone.