A shooting isn’t only tragic if you can connect with it

| Senior Editor

Anti-Semitism is still alive in America. Usually it takes the form of casual comments about Jews having all the money, controlling the government, not being good enough to date a family member and the like. Yesterday it took the form of a violent attack that killed 11 people.

I woke up yesterday morning to news of a shooting in a synagogue. It wasn’t, however, until later in the day when I got to read the article with all the details that the full impact hit me. My mother works in a synagogue. The shooting occurred right before 10 a.m., near the beginning of Shacharit services, to which my father goes most weeks. The Tree of Life synagogue where the shooting occurred is a Conservative Jewish synagogue, and I know people that go there.

In short, this shooting felt very personal to me. It really hit home that for all that Jews have done to assimilate, we will always be “othered” to some extent. Not only that, but we, as Jews, must always stand against right-wing terrorism and white supremacy. We are not alone in this fight, as those that hate us hate other minorities as well, and these attacks do not just happen to us.

It is important to realize that a shooting isn’t only tragic if you can connect with it. Terror attacks against black people, Latinx people, Muslims and other minorities have also been perpetrated in this country this year, and there has been no large-scale response from the Jewish community. The fate of the Jewish community is tied to the fate of all minority communities in America, and it is our responsibility to show up in support of other minority groups and use what privilege we have to stand up for them.

If we expect others to stand up against anti-Semitism, we need to stand up against racism, sexism, islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia and all of the other forms of prejudice that are institutionalized in America.

This shooting follows days after President Donald Trump announced that he was a nationalist. While the official stance he took was one of an American nationalist, I can’t help but feel that he was implying a support of white nationalism, and certainly there are white nationalists who felt this. Days ago, a bomb was sent to prominent Jewish philanthropist George Soros. While Trump has condemned both the rash of bombs and the shooting, he is not willing to confront the driving forces behind these attacks.

We cannot expect Trump to stand up in condemnation to white nationalists, a group that numbers among his strongest supporters. We have to stand up to white nationalism, fascism and racism ourselves.

The 9th of November marks the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the pogrom that many point to as the beginning of the Holocaust. That date has been designated as the International Day Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism. Stand up to hatred and prejudice of all kinds, not only the prejudice that affects you.

For those who are hurting right now, that is perfectly valid. We as a community will get through this. During the Holocaust, a group of Jews were rounded up and ordered to sing to their own execution. They did not go quietly, and they did not sing on the Nazi’s terms—what they sang was “mir veln zey iberlebn,” which translates to “we will outlive them.” Over the thousands of years that there have been Jews, we have faced many enemies great and small, and we have outlived them all. If you ever feel helpless or powerless just remember that we will endure and outlive all of our enemies.

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