The Indestructible Jew

The Indestructable Jew

Antisemitism is uncomfortable. It makes us feel insecure. It can be frightening. Its message is that we are not liked, even disliked, and by some, hated. We have lived with antisemitism for over 2000 years and more. Throughout that time, we have been “strangers in a strange land”. Despite this, our hearts remain soft and caring.  We, Jews, have continued to contribute to our host countries totally disproportionately to our numbers, be it as benefactors of hospitals, supporters of the arts, and contributing to the economic prosperity of the country we find ourselves in.

We expect these contributions to be acknowledged, appreciated, even lauded.  Instead, moments arise when a deep-seated and hurtful antipathy wells up, darkening the communal horizons, baring its hateful teeth of antisemitism. Why? Many a sociologist, historian, philosopher, social scientist, has offered theories, reasons, perceptions of this phenomenon. At its core, as the Torah notes, till Moshiach comes, Esav will hate Yaakov. It’s as simple as that. Call it jealousy, envy, an economic scapegoat, or human insecurity.  It doesn’t matter the why. What matters is that we suffer.

Antisemitism has arisen in every country we have ever lived in. We are living through it right now. It seems so unreal, given our immediate past exprience of peace and prosperity that we have enjoyed together with our immediate neighbours. But a deeply embedded truth pierces the surface of equanimity, and we realise – we are on centre-stage again in the eternal play of ‘pin the tail on the Jew’.  We are the elephant in the room.

How to respond? Don’t cower! Don’t hide! Don’t duck for cover! This is the time to stand tall, be visible, exude strength and conviction. We have survived these thousands of years – not by burying our identity in rabbit holes. We are here because of one common denominator throughout all Jewish history – our strength of tradition, the Torah. We are not alone. The proof – despite all predictions “The Jew survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities, of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert but aggressive mind.  All things are mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass, but he remains.” (Mark Twain).

This is the moment to display courage. Be visible! Davka, wear a kippa.  Davka, wear a Magen-David. Davka, wear Tzitzit outwards. Davka! Be a Jew when it counts most. Show your children, your colleagues, your gentile friends, who you really are.

Be the Menorah of light, continuing to bring true enlightenment to the society you have been fatefully placed amongst.