In light of the recent shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, we as a Jewish community must stand stronger than ever to show that we are not afraid. While most would cower in fear after such a traumatic event, the Jewish community has overcome too much to simply give up at this juncture. For centuries, nothing has defined the Jewish experience more than a struggle for survival and a commitment to perseverance, success, and communal strength. As Jews, we draw power from each other, so together, we have an unlimited ability to affect the world and bring about meaningful change. This means that everybody can be an advocate for the Jewish community and can make an impactful change in the world. How does one go about doing so?
- Educate Yourself
- Education is an incredibly powerful tool, and recognizing where hate crimes stem from and what can be done to combat them is absolutely essential in defending ourselves against any future threats. Understanding the origins of this racial tension and seeing it manifest into hate crimes today helps give us a little bit of insight into where we stand now. Also, being knowledgeable about Jewish traditions and practices can help draw us closer together as a community and as a nation.
- Lobby To Politicians/Bring Tangible Change
- One of the numerous benefits of living in America is the idea that we have a government of, by, and for the people. This means that anybody can propose change and seriously affect the way people perceive an issue, regardless of their political position, religious beliefs, or ethnic origins. Approach a local politician, attend a rally, put up posters in support of the Jewish community, do something, anything, to make a change. These are just a few of the countless ways of showing that we are not afraid and that we will not tolerate any further attacks on the Jewish community. Even a symbolic show of faith, such as wearing a kippah or Jewish star necklace, goes a long way in sending this message and in displaying our solidarity for our fellow Jews.
- Never Conform
- Who cares what other people think? It’s much easier said than done, but just stop caring. Go out and campaign and rally and petition and vote to make real change; never be afraid of what others will think of you. Conforming to society’s arbitrary standards about what is “acceptable” only brings more of the same. Those who step out of the box society has placed them in are able to make real, tangible change and leave their imprint on the world. Stop caring about what others say and go out there and show the world what it truly means to be a Jew. Obviously, you should never risk putting yourself in a dangerous situation, but push the limits and you’ll see just how powerful your voice can truly be.
When the world throws one shot, we should rise to the occasion and be better. Don’t fight fire with fire, fight fire with intellect. Don’t be stronger, be smarter. We should keep finding new ways to affect change that don’t involve violence or aggressive fist-waving. We as a Jewish community should continue to seek new ways to improve our situation and we must keep standing strong, especially in the wake of such a tragic event. Doing even one tiny thing every day to show our bond as a Jewish people makes a impact in ways you wouldn’t even imagine. Encourage your peers to get involved as advocates for the Jewish community and help those recovering from deplorable acts like those in Pittsburgh. YOU can be the change, as long as YOU truly want to be. Be a leader, make a change, stand against hate.