Press "Enter" to skip to content

Nervous Jewish Student – how can I still be confident in my culture?

Hi, this is my first time posting here, but I have gotten so much support and hope from reading all of the recent threads on here. I was raised Jewish and have a lot of family in Israel. My mom and grandmother especially have been devastated after losing relatives in the initial attacks, some of whom were young kids. I am a grad student at a university that so far has only had small protests in support of anti-Israel groups. However, I grew up in a very antisemetic area, where physical violence was always a possibility if people heard you speaking about Jewish culture or ideas. After moving away from that area I was finally able to enjoy Jewish culture without being scared of violence, and loved participating in my local temple, Hillel, Hebrew school, etc. For graduate school I was given a position in a less tolerant place. I am a fully funded student, and cannot afford any other type of program, so I did not have a choice about where I went and cannot leave without my degree. I have about 3 years left.

I love my culture but in my area of research, it is not tolerant of any marginalized group, including Jewish people. I have been laughed at in class for ‘constantly talking about Jewishness’ even though everyone else was sharing cultural experiences, told I was “too sensitive” when I explained the impact of the Holocaust on my personal experience, and have been told by a professor, in front of the class, that Jewish people are overreacting to antisemitism in modern America. Part of me wanted to report this to title IX, but I am the only Jewish student in my department, so it would be immediately clear who did it.

It really sucks and I’m so scared that protests will start here and as the only Jewish student in my department, I will be a target. I’ve had several really awful conversations in which I’ve shared I was feeling sad and anxious for my family and was told that they deserved to die since they were Israeli “colonizers”. I guess I’m just wondering if there are other people in graduate school finding ways to keep their heads up and what they’re doing? How can I be more confident in the value of my culture? What do you say to people who know you’ve lost close family and say, well they deserved it? And how can I continue to practice my culture in a place that hates it?

I am already isolated in my department due ableist and sexist remarks from colleagues and professors (I am a disabled, female presenting person, which is rare in my field), and I just don’t know how to keep my head up when I go to campus. I was flat out told by my department head that “autistic people don’t belong in academia”, so I don’t want to call too much attention to myself in case I lose funding opportunities. I am one of our strongest students and highest rated teachers, but am often treated like the department is doing me a great favor by tolerating me. I never feel welcome, but now I just feel awkward when I go on campus. I would so much appreciate any advice on how to be more confident, less apologetic, and continue to engage in my culture despite all that’s around me. I feel like a coward and an idiot, but I’m just scared I guess.

submitted by /u/Ready-Elk3333
[link] [comments]
Source: Reditt