Rabbi Sam Spector said the Kol Ami Congregation in Salt Lake City hoped to draw attention to the technology company’s “alliance” after an emotional meeting with the board and staff.
Entrata technology company based in Lehi is seeking redress with the Jewish community after its co-founder and former board member Dave Bateman wrote anti-Semitic comments in a recent email.
Rabbi Sam Spector of the Kol Ami Congregation announced on Friday that the software company had provided one of two “transformation” donations to the synagogue in Salt Lake City, the other from a longtime donor, Zions Bank.
“It’s something we didn’t ask or share to share,” he wrote of Entrat’s gesture. “We have decided to announce the gift to highlight the important alliance this company has offered us.”
Bateman resigned from Entrata on January 4 after sending an anti-Semitic e-mail to Utah political leaders calling the COVID-19 vaccine a conspiracy to “euthanize the American people.”
Bateman’s e-mail, sent in early January 3 from his entrata.com account, cited an uncovered conspiracy theory depicting vaccines as an attempt by global “elites” including Bill Gates and George Soros to depopulate the planet and blame the “Jews.”
It also included references to a conspiracy to secretly replace the Catholic pope with a member of the Jewish faith, which Bateman said happened in 2013 with the promotion of Pope Francis.
There is no evidence to support Bateman’s claim. Conspiracy theories have been floating in several different iterations since September 2020.
He posted an apology on Instagram on Friday, and he also seemed to have doubled his claims by writing that although he has a “great love” for the Jewish people, his “beef” is with Chabbalistic (sic) central banking, a Jewish secret society. “
The needs of the Kol Ami Congregation
Spector said he met with the Entrata board on January 8. Several present wept, the rabbi said in an interview as they apologized deeply for Bateman’s comments.
“It was one of the most touching meetings I’ve ever had,” he said.
Spector also praised Entrata’s swift action in breaking all ties with Bateman. In addition to being removed from the board, a Tweet sent to Entrat CEO Adam Edmunds on January 8 said the company had informed Bateman that he must immediately divest his holdings – and that Bateman had agreed to “cooperate with the process.”
Spector said the Kol Ami Congregation’s board of directors keeps the money secret; also clarified that Zions Bank has long been a generous donor and that their recent donation is not related to the situation of Entrat.
However, he said the new funding would allow the synagogue to focus on projects that their current budgets usually do not allow. The board will meet on Wednesday to decide exactly how the money will be used.
Possible areas of need include replacing a boiler that is more than 40 years old, paving a crumbling parking lot, and upgrading 50-year-old bathrooms. He also said their holiday prayer books are falling apart and seven of their 10 Torahs need correction.
Another possible use of part of the money, he added, is to finance anti-Semitic projects. After meeting with Entrata’s board of directors on January 8, Spector said he had an online workshop with company employees to discuss how people can recognize and combat anti-Semitism.
He said almost 1,000 employees tuned in and the presentation was recorded so others could watch it later. Many of the questions he received during his presentation were about how people could be better allies, he noted.
“It was a truly amazing experience,” Spector said. “People were very attentive. They put their support and love for the Jewish community into the cottage, and that was incredibly touching. ”
Spector added that Dave Bateman is not the only person with prejudice and ignorance, so he hopes more companies will contact him or the United Jewish Federation of Utah for training on anti-Semitism.