Anti-Semitism seems like it’s everywhere. There are good days and bad days, including when we saw multiple examples at the riot at the Capitol on January 6th. Not a good day. Perhaps you feel like giving up. Maybe you feel your impact is so small that it can’t make a difference.But you’re not alone in the fight. Each of us makes a difference, one neighborhood, one person at a time. We’re here to connect you to the large community of individuals of multiple faiths who truly care and don’t accept hate in their neighborhoods. We’re also here to support you when you feel like throwing in the towel. We’re picking you up on days when you’re down.Special THANK YOU to co-founder and our Coach, Lauren Kline for this great article!
It seems like every day, I turn on the news only to hear about more and more anti-Semitic acts – graffiti, destruction, devastation, vandalism, stabbings, and hateful speeches. It makes me stop and wonder what I can possibly do to stop the hate. I can’t stop the hate completely…so why do I keep trying? What’s the point in promoting all of these seemingly small actions when there is no guarantee of success?
In my personal life, I’m a volunteer running coach. I love leading a group of people who might never have run in their lives, across the finish line of our goal race…usually 3.1 miles (5K). Many of these people don’t believe they will ever be able to run three miles, it seems daunting, but they take the steps with me. They follow the training plan, and after a few weeks, they are able to run one mile. A few more weeks pass, and they are able to run two miles. By the end of the program, they are running three miles and they don’t even realize it. All of a sudden, what seemed impossible, has just become REAL. At our goal race, my runners cross the finish line beaming with a sense of pride, accomplishment, and awe.
Start with the First Step
How does this pertain to fighting anti-Semitism? It starts with that very first step! From there, each small step leads us closer and closer to the finish line, which in our case, is pushing back against anti-Semitism while building bridges to our neighbors of different faiths. Reach out one time to a neighbor to celebrate Shabbat, or commit to a virtual 2 for Seder. Taking that first step shows you how a new, proactive approach can make a HUGE difference.
How do I stay optimistic when fighting what seems like an unwinnable battle? I start moving, and keep going. It’s OK if I don’t save the world, but I keep trying to save my corner of it. We have a responsibility as Americans and Canadians to do what we can and find commonalities across all faiths, fostering a sense of community with our neighbors. It also feels good to set the example for what my children and family can do and how they can make a difference.
Set a Goal
Eradicating anti-Semitism is an unsurmountable goal. We need to set realistic goals for ourselves – think of it as a series of races. You can set a goal to talk about a movie like Gentleman’s Agreement (from our Movie Mayven’s Club) with someone who is not aware of anti-Semitism. This is your goal, your “race” with a start and a finish. The key is to keep moving forward. Set a goal to do one activity to fight anti-Semitism this year. Once you do it, set the bar a little higher and do three next year (or even this year!). We’ll keep giving you ideas, you keep moving forward.
Is there a finish line in sight, or does this race never end? Start taking steps in the right direction, and encourage others to take those steps with us. As we’re learning from our separation during COVID, it’s incredibly difficult to function when we feel disconnected to each other. We are stronger together. We thrive when we work as a team towards a common goal. If we don’t start taking steps together, we’ll never get to the end.
I’m asking you all to take this journey with me. I’m asking you to start and to take these steps beside me, even if you don’t see the finish line. Empower your friends and family to join us, and together, we can effect change.