Hi! I’m a 17 year old girl from Moscow, Russia and I’m an ashkenazi jew. I found out that I’m Jewish less than a year ago, when my grandma told me about her mother’s actual origin, meaning that her, my mother and I are actually Jewish. My great grandma’s real name was changed to the “more appropriate” Ukrainian one, so our family wouldn’t be in danger. My mother never actually knew about that, and quite frankly she’s still in denial, so I wasn’t raised as a Jew. After that, I started to educate myself about the Jewish culture, thanks to my boyfriend and his family who helped navigate through this new huge confusing world. After months of learning, participating in a lot of events and celebrating the holidays, I finally feel as a part of the Jewish community. And here’s the thing.
I don’t have a Jewish name. My name is a typical Russian name, so I’m scared that people will judge me for that. I use my Jewish name in the community, but I’m too scared to tell about this name to someone, other than friend, who’s not a Jew. Therefore, I’m afraid to be judged in the orthodox community for not being “fully Jewish” and having a Russian name, but I’m also really scared to use the Jewish one cause of the antisemitism towards me and my family. I see a lot of crazy nationalists on the streets who would like to beat a bunch of Jews like me in the face. On the other hand, you can’t really tell I’m Jewish right away after seeing my name so it may help to protect me.
My family is not supportive. Only a few people are. Most of them don’t like Jews, even my mother. That’s really overwhelming. Some of them may even use offensive words to describe a Jew or Jewish people. I was at the family reunion of my father’s part of the family where my brother was wearing my Magen David socks (I have no idea what was he thinking since he’s also not supportive and in denial) and my uncle actually confronted me for it. I didn’t tell him that I’m Jewish in front of my whole family because I was obviously scared of their reaction, maybe I actually should’ve done that but it’s too late anyways. I actually think that’s the hardest part. Your family’s supposed to support you but I’m quite sure that the only thing I will get is hate and disappointment. Sadly, since I’m underage I can’t move out and be financially independent so I’ll have to listen to all of that hate towards me and the Jewish people if I tell my family about my Jewish origins or/and fully show my identity.
Antisemitism everywhere. I really want to show my identity more, because I’m proud to be a Jew, but I don’t feel safe doing that. Like I said, there’s a lot of crazy people on the streets, so wearing a Magen David necklace not under your t-shirt seems quite dangerous to me, especially because I can’t fight as good as those psycho people do. Also there’re some cases in my country when university professors treated Jews like trash, and that can really mess up your grades, so since I’m a university student I’m worried about that as well. Et cetera, et cetera, there’s a lot of antisemitism happening not only in my country, but around the globe, so I’m scared to be mistreated just because I’m a Jew.