Living in Fear

living in fear

Editor’s Note: I recognize that the following piece is more serious than the topics we typically cover on Peaches to Apples.  While it is not necessarily in line with our regular content, I hope you will continue reading about what I feel is a hugely important topic.

This week I realized I am scared.  I am scared of what it means to be a Jew.  This feeling does not yet permeate my entire day, but it’s there.

Recently there has been a wave of bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) across the country.  140 bomb threats in the last three months.  ONE HUNDRED FORTY.  That is a staggering number.  This has been coupled with the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and swastika graffiti on the New York City subway.  It is quite obvious that there is a [potentially large, strong, and vocal] group of people who dislike Jews and want to make their – our – lives difficult.  What can we do about it?  We absolutely must do something, and one of my biggest fears is that I don’t know what the next step should be.

This week, the Atlanta office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), where my cousin works, received a bomb threat.  Though he has devoted the last eight years to eradicating hate crimes and restoring justice and peace, this is the first time he has felt scared.  This whole thing is beginning to hit very close to home, and I can no longer ignore the nagging feeling that something is dreadfully wrong.  I know some may think this blog is not the appropriate platform to air such concerns, but I have to start saying something and hope you readers will listen.

My nephew – my beautiful, happy, sweet, adorable nephew – attends preschool at the JEA (our town’s JCC) every day.  This is the same JCC where I worked in high school and college, the same place where my Mom regularly exercises.  Thankfully, they have not received any threats, but now I wake up each day and think “please don’t let it be us.”  That is no way to live.

My fiancé, who is Catholic, said it is a shame this is the world we live in.  My first response was that it’s only the world some of us live in.  Jews, specifically, are being targeted right now.  While he experiences this fear as well because he has loved ones who are Jewish (a terrible feeling I don’t want to downplay), it is not quite the same thing as worrying that one day in the near future YOU may be personally targeted.

I am also scared because I don’t feel public reaction has been as strong as it should be.  Yes, President Trump addressed the issue in the opening remarks of his speech to Congress, but that was almost a week after the threats took place.  Why are more people not appalled by what’s happening?  Why is there far more [daily] attention being paid to Trump’s claims of wire tapping?

Sure, I could wait til something truly awful happens, like a bomb that is no longer a threat, but I no longer feel ok waiting.  I am afraid that will be too late.  Do you wait til you’re wearing a bright yellow star of David on your arm before you admit you’re afraid?

I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to accomplish by posting this.  I just know that I am scared, frustrated, and anxious for change.  Does anyone have any suggestions as to what we should do about this?

FYI: My firsthand experience with Antisemitism can be found here.