A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

Get daily updates delivered right to your inbox

‘Infamous’ billboards return to St. Louis to fight growing antisemitism


If you happen to be driving west out of downtown St. Louis on I-64 anytime soon, be prepared to see a billboard that may make you look twice. Maybe even three times. As you approach Jefferson Avenue, prior to exits that lead to Saint Louis University (SLU) and Harris Stowe University, the billboard proclaims, “Even if you think kugel is an exercise for your vagina…JewBelong.”

Now, if that statement makes you feel something, that’s the point. Another billboard located along I-70 and Lucas and Hunt announces the following message to westbound drivers: “Judaism: Come for your girlfriend. Stay for the lack of Hell.” These are just two of four billboards that went public today around the St. Louis area.

The group behind the messaging is JewBelong, which says “Our infamous billboards have already reached over 250 million people nationally.” JewBelong is a national nonprofit that features poignant and thought-provoking slogans as part of a campaign aiming to lower barriers of entry for anyone interested in learning more about Judaism and raise awareness about rising antisemitism.

The billboards have become ‘infamous’ due its edgy, tell-it-like-it-is messaging on brightly colored, easily recognizable billboards.

“We break through media clutter with meaningful statements that, as you said, makes people look twice. Our mission is to start important conversations, inspire Jewish engagement and pride, and to ultimately create change that leads to a thriving, safe Jewish community, and we’re not afraid to “go there” to do it,” said JewBelong co-founder, Archie Gottesman.

“JewBelong is working on solving two problems. The first is welcoming disengaged Jews with easy-to-follow DIY Jewish rituals and the second is creating awareness and conversations about the rise in antisemitism. We chose St. Louis because it is a city with both a high Jewish population and because of the recent rise in antisemitic incidents in Missouri,” said Gottesman.

The billboard, at 1-170 and Woodson Road aims to target traffic headed to Washington University, which is three miles to the southeast. The message on the billboard? “Can a billboard end antisemitism? No. But You’re not a billboard.” Another billboard at I-70 and Hughes Boulevard reaches traffic heading east.

“Another high-traffic location aimed to target St. Charles County. It is also surrounded by one of the hottest housing markets in the Metro region,” said Gottesman. The billboard reads: “We’re just 78 years since the gas chambers. So no, a billboard calling out Jew hate isn’t an overreaction.”

These billboards are in response to the national rise in antisemitism.

In March, the Jewish Light reported that Missouri, in 2022, experienced a record of 30 antisemitic incidents– a 100% increase from 2021. Nationally, the Anti-Defamation League reported  3,697 antisemitic incidents nationally, a 36% increase from 2,717 incidents in 2022. This is the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979.

“Although it might not seem obvious, strong Jewish pride and respect automatically makes one braver about calling out antisemitism, because they know more about what they are standing up for,” said Gottesman.

The billboards will remain up through the High Holidays.



More to Discover
About the Contributor
Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer
Jordan worked at KSDK from 1995 to 2020. Jordan is a three-time Emmy award winner who produced every kind of show from news to specials during his tenure, creating Show Me St. Louis, The Cardinal Nation Show. He started ksdk.com in 2001 and won three Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic and website excellence in 2010, 2014 and 2020. Jordan has been married for 25 years and is the father of two college students. He is an avid biker, snowboarder, and beer lover. He created the blog drink314.com, focusing on the St. Louis beer community in 2015. Jordan has an incredible and vast knowledge of useless information and is the grandson of a Cleveland bootlegger.