These past few weeks have been hectic.
Finishing the Passover holiday with horrible news out of Poway, spending the week going wildly between intense Jewish pride, and fear, and sadness, and love, was a wild experience.
Poway bumping up into Yom Ha’Atzmaut and Yom Hashoah, one day that celebrates Israel and one day that memorializes those lost during the Holocaust, followed by Israel being torrentially stormed by 650 rockets out of Gaza, killing 4, injuring countless others, and coming to this week, on a day that memorializes all those lost due to the terrorism and wars in Israel. I’m emotionally exhausted just writing that all, but it’s all taken an even deeper toll on my mind and my heart.
I’ve always, always, always leaned away from writing anything remotely political on this blog, because, in my mind, politics divide, and I’ve wanted this blog to be a place of connection, of relatability.
So, when I write about Jew’s or Israel or anything of the sort, I run the risk of people turning their noses up at me.
But I love Israel. And I am a Jew.
So what am I doing?
I preach authenticity, but at the end of the day, I shape the way I want to be seen, and that ends up hurting me, and my nation as a whole.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to feel pride and joy in being a Jew.
Sure, I know that it is impressive that we’re still here after centuries of being persecuted and chased from land after land, but when I think about the number of 6 million dead in the Holocaust, I just don’t feel so lucky.
When I think about the endless number of Jews who have died because of their faith, tortured in their homes and workplaces, taken from their families, their lives that they worked so hard to build up, I just don’t feel so lucky.
When I have this tiny sliver of dread in my heart, every single week after Shabbat, fearful of hearing news out of my home state, where my parents and family live, devoting their lives and working tirelessly to represent Judaism in a positive way. I’m terrified of hearing the exact news that happened in Poway, and now my fear is even more valid. I just don’t feel so lucky.
These things sometimes push me to think “is this even worth it?”
When I see hurtful and painful social media posts, with people missing the point completely, blind with hatred towards my people, it fills me with a pain so great, a scream fills my throat that I just never let out, because what good does it do to cry out against injustice, when injustice is always there?
Why has the world chosen my tiny homeland, a country so full of incredible people, and breathtaking sights, a tiny country all of our own, why have they chosen to hate it so deeply?
Is there any country on earth that takes such hatred, such blind, thick, twisted blame?
The strongest proof to me that G-d exists is that Israel, barely visible on a globe, is somehow the world focus in so many ways. What other country can achieve that, if they are not somehow supported by some other-wordly force?
Today, during my morning daily prayers, I read the words in my prayer book, “Az Yashir.” With tears in my eyes, I realized I was saying the very words sung by the Jewish nation, so many years ago, on the shore of the great sea that they had just been miraculously saved from.
Here I am, a young woman in 2019, saying these very same words each morning, filled with the same hope, the same love for my Creator.
Yes. It’s so insanely difficult to understand why our nation has been tortured, killed and hated for centuries.
But I know social media agrees with me on this – the haters make you stronger. The haters are proof that you are doing something inherently important.
I don’t know why 6 million were killed, I don’t know why our people have to endure so much loss and pain, but I am still here. I don’t know why, but I know that if I am, it is because I am here for a reason, and I must never hide in the shadows. If I have a platform, no matter how small, I will use it.
Call me crazy. Call me whatever you want, really.
I know who I am.
There’s absolutely nothing political about this, it is my soul, and my inalienable right to shout it from the rooftops. I’ve silenced my scream countless times, but here it is.
I AM A JEW.
And I am proud.
Featured Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash
I shout with you, Etty. “Lights for Lori.”