Post-Rally Against Anti-Semitism: What’s Next?
Take Action is on temporary hiatus, but we felt current events needed addressing.
Helping people understand the complexities of Israel and Palestine is not our focus. As an American, I don’t pretend to understand the complexities, but I do feel strongly that Israel deserves to exist as does any other nation. When the protests started and the missiles flew, I watched and prayed for a quick ending with little loss of life. But then the violence and online harassment started here in North America. Holding every Jew responsible for the actions of Israel is clearly anti-Semitism.
I’ve joined the online rallies, is there more I can do?
This post was originally on social media. Thank you Anna Stolley-Persky for the push!
I have been watching posts across social media with tears in my eyes. Jews across North America are emotional and frustrated at how this tragic political event has turned into violence, and online harassment against Jews across the world. The hate is trending on Twitter. It’s all maddening.
How can we as Jewish North Americans respond to this?
First off, take a moment to remember October 27, 2018 and the days immediately afterwards. When my Mother-in-Law was murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, not only was my family supported by you – our mishpucha (Hebrew for family) across the world – but by Americans of every background, color and religion. This love and support stood out from the other mass shootings and it was clear, strong and strengthening. Yesterday’s virtual Act Against Anti-Semitism rally reminded us that our allies are still out there, quietly supporting us.
Let these memories give you a little strength and patience. As we think of ways to take action, remember that the situation in Israel/Palestine is confusing for many Americans. It could be argued that unless you have lived there for more than a year (which I have not) you don’t really understand all the nuances. Our friends/ acquaintances/allies who have been by our side are hesitating to jump into this confusion or are seeing it through American lenses, and may hesitate, even with the unacceptable violence against American Jews.
In 2019, I created 2 for Seder to both memorialize my Mother-in-Law, Joyce Fienberg. and to fight back against anti-Semitism. The idea is to build new bridges to our neighbors of other faiths by inviting 2 people to their FIRST Seder. It’s time to take a walk on that bridge you helped build.
If you participated in 2 for Seder or any interfaith group, here’s something you can do.
This weekend, please reach out to a 2 for Seder or interfaith friend/acquaintance of another faith. Tell them that you have been keeping a close eye on the news and are feeling a little isolated today. Would they like to meet you for a walk or a coffee?
When you meet, tell them how you are feeling – put yourself out there. Have patience with them, since this issue (to them) is not clear cut. It’s not about winning them to a side, but about support for living in peace, especially here in America. Make that connection one-on-one. Then do it again. Consider telling the children in your life about this bridge and strengthen it even more.
This is the essence of Tikkun Olam, repair your corner of the world one person at a time. Take the next step this weekend.