I remember chewing on challah when I was young; the entire class ate a piece while watching a video about Judaism. I remember the mother lighting the Shabbat candles while saying the bracha, her daughter standing next to her. I don’t remember their faces.
When I was about to start high school, I started to dream of those candles again. I didn’t pay much heed to it until a few years later when another student talked about how she learned about the rules surrounding Shabbat. I remember being interested and went to the library to read ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Judaism.’ Shortly after that, I wrote to a local congregation asking to discuss some questions I had about Judaism. Although he said I could come by if I would like, I never did because I felt ashamed — ashamed of believing and feeling so out of my depth. I decided to ignore those feelings, but they never left.
At the beginning of my twenties, I started to learn more, at first about history (thank you, Dr. Henry Abramson!), then about prayer, and I am still learning every day.
That was my preface to what I actually want to write.
I’ve been watching and reading the news, and I’ve seen anti-Semitism rear its ugly head. It is incomprehensible to me how people are reacting; I’ve lost friendships and respect for people I thought were good.
However, what causes me the most pain is the natural reaction of Jewish communities/groups — feeling attacked and alone. I wish I could help.
I see your posts here, and in the news, it seems that the hate against Jews is actually getting worse as time goes on. When the surge was first registered, I expected recoil and disgust from wider society.
“Why are we justifying murder? Why do Jewish lives not matter? How can it be that calling for the destruction of the Jews is acceptable in our country?” All I hear is a deafening silence or tokenism.
When I see wives, mothers, and daughters weeping, I think about those Shabbat candles and feel deep pain. I just want you to know, you are not alone.
I feel so overwhelmed. I want to be able to help those people, to support those who have been affected. I would hug, shake hands, pat shoulders, and console all those feeling this pain. I would look at them and say, “I just want you to know that I, and many others, support you; we, all decent people, stand by you.”
I don’t really like to write on Reddit, but I felt the need to do so.
All the best!