Help Fight Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, 26 May, 2021 - 1:57 pm

With anti-Semitism on the rise yet again, we as Jews must take pause and think what it means to us and how should we respond. I don’t claim to have the answer to this age-old question, so let us explore it together.


One thing we do know from experience, is that hiding doesn’t work because the anti-Semite will find us and the Jew within us will not allow us to hide. Better let us understand who we are and why it bothers us to begin with.


Naturally, we want to be close to G-d. After all, that is what being a Jew is all about. Yet there are times when we may be far away—metaphorically, physically, or spiritually. Sometimes this is by choice, and other times it is because we are simply lost. It can occur because we are not educated or because we feel alienated. Sometimes you feel close, yet so far—for example, you may be sitting in a synagogue and still not understand a word of the prayers (even the English) and wonder to yourself: Do I belong? Yet, you are still there. This inner conflict of wanting to be close yet not necessary feeling close, is very common.


Here are three progressive steps that can help us feel more connected.


1 – You have to have a desire to come close. If you don’t have the “drive” to start with, then there is nothing to do. Passover, the first holiday that the Jews celebrated as a Jewish nation, commemorates when the Jews ran out of Egypt. This idea of rushing out, yet embracing G-d, still applies to us today. Take the leap.


2 – We have to take the initiative to make it happen. No one can force us to have a relationship with G-d. Yes, a teacher can teach, a parent can take a child to school. Ultimately, though, the initiative has to come from within each and every person’s soul. Only you can make it happen.


3 - G-d rewards us by sharing with us the Torah and his Mitzvot so that we have meaningful ways to connect with Him. G-d will help you.


One might think: Nature is nature, but what happens if I was nurtured another way? I don’t have it “in me?” I am not that young any longer. This week’s Torah portion teaches us a unique Mitzvah with regard to Passover.


If someone missed the opportunity to participate in the rituals of the Passover lamb, a month later they are still able to do so. You are given a second chance.


Here we have a profound lesson: Although someone might have missed the first Passover, because they were far away, metaphorically, physically, spiritually, or simply by accident, there is always another chance to come closer to G-d. All that one has to do is – Just do it.


So, do you want to fight anti-Semitism? Wear your Jewish pride publicly. Post on social media a photo of a Mitzvah that you are performing--your Friday night table beautifully set for Shabbat, for example or the Mezuzah on your door, or even a photo of you wearing your Talit and Tefillin.   


If the anti-Semite has no shame doing so publicly, we can learn to wear our pride publicly as well!

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