The Risk of Shining a Light on Jewish Spaces

By Samara Cogan

A good friend of mine who works for a television network asked me a very thoughtful question the other day. We were talking about a segment she wanted to produce that would document the story of a Jewish art gallery in Philadelphia. But she had a valid concern: Would highlighting a place where Jewish people work and gather do more harm than good?

After all of the recent anti-Semitic graffiti and property destruction in the area, and the rise of white nationalism and Neo-Nazism around the country, she was afraid that she would be putting a vulnerable community even more at risk. I recommended that she ask the gallery owner if they had any concerns about publicity. If they had worries about safety, they would let her know what they were willing to share, if anything.

I ended up going with her to the gallery to ask, and they were thrilled at the idea of being featured in a televised segment! She was right to worry, but all she had to do was ask and respect their wishes. She plans on filming at the gallery later this year.

In times such as these, it takes a lot of courage to embrace and publicly proclaim a part of your identity that is currently under attack. Nothing is gained without some amount of risk, and for one Jewish art gallery, the risk is worth it.