Tech firm pledges 6-figure sum to Utah synagogue after founder’s antisemitic screed

After David Bateman blamed COVID on Jews, Entrata executives meet with rabbi of Salt Lake City’s Congregation Kol Ami, donate to fix up house of worship, repair damaged Torahs

Salt Lake City’s Congregation Kol Ami. (Screenshot from Google Maps via JTA)
Salt Lake City’s Congregation Kol Ami. (Screenshot from Google Maps via JTA)

JTA — When a Utah tech company wanted to make amends after its founder penned an antisemitic screed blaming Jews for the COVID-19 pandemic, they called a local rabbi to see what they could do to help.

The rabbi walked out of a Friday meeting with Entrata executives with a six-figure pledge from the company, to be used to fix up his synagogue and repair the community’s damaged Torah scrolls, the Forward reported on Monday.

“They said, ‘We’re going to take care of all that for you,’ and they made the largest donation we’ve ever seen,” Rabbi Sam Spector of Salt Lake City’s Congregation Kol Ami told the Forward.

The property management software company was embroiled in scandal last week when one of its founders, David Bateman, emailed his antisemitic message to leaders in Utah’s tech and political sectors, including Governor Spencer Cox and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith. Bateman is active in Utah GOP circles and has donated to Utah Republicans.

“I believe there is a sadistic effort underway to euthanize the American people,” Bateman wrote in the email, which was first reported Tuesday by Fox 13, a Salt Lake City TV station. The email, subject-lined “Genocide,” suggested that COVID-19 and its vaccines are the work of Jews, and that both are “attacking the reproductive systems of women” and eroding natural immunity. “I believe the Jews are behind this,” he wrote.

Entrata asked Bateman to resign from his post as board chairman the same day the email was publicized, and he agreed to.

Some of the recipients of the email and others in Utah’s business and political sectors were aghast.

“It’s incredibly disturbing that somebody in our community would voice these kinds of opinions, especially during this time,” Elizabeth Converse, the executive director of Utah Tech Leads, a group promoting tech investment in the state, told Fox 13. “We’ve all seen a rise in antisemitic behavior across the country and specifically in Utah because of the virus.”

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