“Mom! Put on that song, “I flip my latkes in the air sometimes!” my daughter called across the room.
I turned on “Candlelight” by The Maccabeats and we began to dance together around the house. Moments like these reaffirms to me that my daughter, my legacy, is proud to be Jewish. In a world where being Jewish isn’t easy, and sometimes may even be dangerous, it is more important than ever that we stand up and say, “Yes! I am Jewish!”. Recently Michael Douglas made headline news when he was on vacation with his family in Southern Europe, when his son, Dylan (age: 14) was at a pool and another man began insulting him. Dylan left the pool upset and came back to their hotel room. Douglas saw that his son was wearing his Star of David necklace at the time and went to track down the disgruntled man. After having what he described as an “unpleasant conversation”, Michael Douglas opened up to media about the rise of Anti-Semitism.
It feels like every day I read about an article or blog post where another hate crime or incident is committed against the Jewish community. Did you know there is a Top 10 Worst Anti-Semetic Colleges List? I didn’t think such a thing exists! But alas, there is a list backed up with research, articles, and facts about college campus incidents where Jewish students and Jewish College organizations have been subjected to Anti-Semitism. Enough is enough! As Jewish parents let’s band together to make the world a safer place for our children. War will always happen because people will always have differences. But never again will we sit by and let persecution happen. Never again will we let genocide happen to our people.
We would be ignorant and doing the Jewish diaspora a disservice if we turned a blind eye to the rising number of hate crimes committed against us. “But it doesn’t impact me or my family?”, you might be sitting there saying to yourself. Yes, it does. Let me explain to you how all of these crimes against Jews, just like you and I, affect every single one of us. Back in the late 1930’s and 1940’s people all over the world thought the very same thing. They read the headlines about Jewish people being persecuted by the Nazi Party in Germany and felt “bad” for them. But Germany was across the ocean. What does it really matter? Germany allied with Japan and Italy to form the axis of power and World War II. was born.
Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) was a pastor who often spoke out against the Nazi regime. He wrote the famous poem, “Then They Came For Me”. Keep this poem in mind the next time you think, “… how does that hate crime impact me? It’s so far away”.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.