Recent Acts of Anti-Semitism
We grew up learning about the horrors of the Holocaust, in school as well as in our Jewish communities. Many of us had been privileged enough to meet Holocaust survivors: amazingly resilient women and men who told us stories we could barely believe about the everyday people who stood back and let these atrocities happen. The incidents of the Holocaust always felt somewhat surreal; we knew that they happened, but we felt somewhat removed from it all, like details from a scary story instead of a history book. Nonetheless, we were raised to recognize the signs. We were learning from history so that it won’t repeat itself.
This is what makes it so much scarier to wake up to the news of bomb threats sent to Jewish community centers and schools, of swastika graffiti, of desecrated cemeteries. Just as we were taught to do, we recognize what is happening. Anti-Semites are becoming emboldened by each other with each new act of hate. Their efforts build upon each other, drawing strength from the support of other likeminded fear-mongers.
But we as Jews must remember that we are not alone. Muslims, Christians, and many others alike have stepped up to stand with us as we face Nazis, fascists, and other anti-Semites. They join us as we pick up the pieces of our fallen grave markers; they provide us sanctuary where we can feel safe from our persecutors; they lend us a kind ear and a solid shoulder to lean on when we feel overwhelmed by the unfriendly world around us. In return, it is our duty to do the same for the other marginalized communities around us. Many are experiencing the same emotions as we are, and in too many cases are seeing similar violence towards their communities as well.
Many of us are scared, for ourselves and for countless others, but we must also remain motivated. It is now more important than ever to act, and to do so as a community. United, we are always stronger. We must take time to examine our individual places of privilege, be they the results of race, gender, sexuality, religion, citizenship, or anything else, and use those privileges to stand for those who cannot safely stand for themselves. As conscious members of society, the first thing we can do is pay attention. Read and watch the news for acts of hate against minority groups, both overt and subtle, and call them out as what they are. When more of us speak out, our voices are collectively stronger and our reach farther.
We can help to organize and attend rallies and demonstrations in our communities; these actions will show our persecutors that we will not sit back and allow their hatred to run rampant. We can contact our local and regional representatives to demand and support legislation condemning hate groups and protecting marginalized communities. We must reach out to friends and family and discuss what each of us can do to make sure we all feel safe and protected. Together we can stop history from repeating itself.