I had a dentist appointment this morning. The route to the dentist takes me by a synagogue in my childhood neighborhood. As I was driving by today, for the first time ever, I saw a police car parked outside the synagogue with a cop pacing around, on alert for anything out of the ordinary. This hit me unusually hard. I’m very cognizant of the rise of antisemitism worldwide. I’ve been to some synagogues lately where I had to go through security. But this one was different because this is my childhood synagogue. I had my bar mitzvah there and went to summer camp there. This hits home.
I’m not observant whatsoever. I went to Hebrew school and learned about Judaism in college from both religious and secular perspectives, so I would say that I’m much more knowledgeable about the religion than the average non-observant Jew. And yet, due to what I know and prior life events, I’m not observant. It’s not for me. My fiancée isn’t Jewish and we discussed her converting but decided against it, mainly because it would require a lifestyle change that neither one of us wants. But despite this, I am an ardent Zionist and proud Jew. I’m proud of my identity and of our culture and of our people.
Seeing that police car today hit me hard because just as I grew up and changed, so did the world around me. I live in the freest country in the history of the world, where religious freedom is enshrined into law, and yet my people need police to ensure that they can pray in peace, lest they risk being slaughtered in their house of worship like so many of our ancestors have in generations past.
There’s no rhyme or or reason for why I posted this. I’m sure many on this sub have experienced this themselves, but it’s different when you read about it and when you experience it yourself. The worldwide rise of antisemitism is now personal. And it sucks.