Dear Anti-Semitism

BY
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Writing

Dear Anti-Semitism,

I have heard and read about you so many times in my life, especially this week. I have seen you. I have felt you. I have experienced you. You paved the course of my life even before I was able to understand what you are.

My grandparents and parents fled from you, which led to my becoming an American. If not for you, perhaps I would be living in Russia. No, wait, I would be living in Iran, where my ancestors fled from you as well. Or no–I would be living in Israel, where our people first established themselves as a nation… only to be expelled time and time again (because of you). To this day, people are still trying to get rid of us altogether.

While a supporter of yours murdered people praying in Pittsburgh simply because they were Jewish, rockets were being launched from the Gaza Strip at communities in southern Israel. This is nothing new, of course. You have so many followers, anti-Semitism. All over the world. My fingers can’t type fast enough to finish sharing one of your stories, before you strike again. Sometimes I feel like I can’t keep up with you, though I am trying.

A prominent synagogue located just two minutes from where I am living here in Israel had the exact same situation occur just a couple of years ago. I just want to let you know that you and your supporters have not scared me off from coming here. You have not scared off the families who were affected and who are still happily living here. I still walk by that synagogue from time to time and the cracks from the bullets are still there in those windows, which I always turn to look at while also noticing that there are so many people still learning and praying in that very synagogue. I have met those families that you have broken, and even celebrated a bar mitzvah between the walls you tried to break down.

I cried when you murdered Ezra Schwartz, a vibrant young 18-year-old who was supposed to join me at Rutgers two years ago. While watching his parents eulogize him, I was crying so hard that I feared my dorm mates would hear me. So I cried as quietly as I could. I couldn’t tell what hurt more–watching the funeral or crying so hard. I finally forced myself to stop watching and convinced myself it was fair for me not to have to watch since I had class and needed to calm myself down before walking out onto the college campus that Ezra would never get to see or experience because of you.

I cried when you murdered Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. I was so upset, I felt I had to do something, so I started a pro-Israel group that now has over 600 supporters from all over the world. Yup, other people who hate you just as much as I do. I felt powerless, so I did the only thing I could do. Over four years later and I am still sharing such somber news again and again.

But it is exactly everything that you hate–the Torah, our Jewish values and beliefs–that have kept us going through the pain. I met one of the women who became a widow after your attack at that synagogue. She is as lovely as ever, inviting all the students here at my school to come to her office for some tea at any time. Her husband, the man you murdered, was a good man. You should be ashamed, yet you are so proud.

The list of terror that occurs here, goes on and on. Stabbings, bombings, shootings, car-ramming attacks… in your name. You always have a reason to hate on us.

Anti-Semitism, I’m tired of you. I’m frustrated, angry and sour. I work for an organization that monitors anti-Israel activity and you (because really at the end of the day you are behind it all), and every single day I see how widespread you are. Every single day you are out here spreading hate and violence.

It’s all one and the same. Being here in Israel, being an active participant in the pro-Israel community, being a proud Zionist… being a Jew… it’s all one and the same.

Our people have been through so much because of you, yet we have surpassed and outlived all those who have tried to bring an end to our existence. Those who tried to exterminate us have been long gone.

Now we have policemen guarding synagogues in New York–where I was born! Anti-Semitism, you aren’t going anywhere. You are going everywhere!

But you know what’s crazy, anti-Semitism? The place from which you had us kicked out in the beginning is exactly where you are causing us to return now. Thousands of European Jews have already made their way back to Israel over the past several years because of you. Many American Jews have done the same or are planning on it. Your followers in Iran and the rest of the Middle East use this as part of their plan to exterminate us once and for all. All the Jews in one place so that we can kill them all off, they say. You’re very good at what you do.

So this is Iran, Russia, America and Israel. Every country where my family has lived or that has been dear to us. You and yours don’t want us in Israel, in America or in Europe. Wherever we go, we are a problem for you.

Clearly, we haven’t given up. We are still here and are proud. No amount of intimidation or terror is going to change that.

Anti-Semitism, you aren’t going anywhere.

But neither are we.

Yours truly,

A proud Jew

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.