I have a platform, and it’s obvious that I use it for more than just reviewing books. This is a space where I communicate my hopes, dreams, and fears for the world; where I talk about what matters to me through the books that I read and the lessons that I teach. But I’m also purposefully private, and majority of my life stays offline. It makes sense – these ideas aren’t originally mine, and this movement isn’t about me. It’s an honor to magnify the voices of those who know more and speak more eloquently.
But sometimes, something happens that feels so personal, I don’t know how to distance myself from it. It happened in August 2017, when White Supremacists marched, screamed, and murdered less than a mile from my front door. Today feels the same way. I am Jewish. My mother and I lived in Squirrel Hill, the now famous Jewish neighborhood in Pittsburgh. In these years, I was welcomed into services at the Tree of Life synagogue to pray. Judaism, Squirrel Hill, Tree of Life – they’re woven into the tapestry of my identity as much as anything else. This tragedy isn’t about me, but I can’t distance myself from it.
Normally, I’d post a rallying cry. I’d make a donation and read a book and share as many resources as I could. But where do I donate to keep “All Jews must die” from echoing in my nightmares? Is there an article that can help me to balance the terror from yesterday’s tragedy with the guilt of knowing that others feel this way everyday because of the color of their skin or their sex at birth? Can anyone suggest a book that will help me as I quietly relive all of the anti-Semitism that has followed me in my 30+ years…and that which is yet to come? I’m sad. And I’m scared. And I know that many of you are, too. So, let’s talk about anti-Semitism. Let’s shine a light into the dark corners where it grows. What is anti-Semitism? Where did it come from, and why does it exist? How can I help? What can I read? What can I do?