I write this as the hostage situation in Colleyville, Texas, which I have been following since this morning, when the BBC sent a notification to my phone, has come to an end. Thank G-d every hostage, including the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel, are alive and safe. Let me be clear when I say that they saved themselves, they were NOT “rescued”. I am certain you will hear about this in the coming days, but I’m saying it now, in real time. No one gives a damn about rescuing Jews, so if you haven’t paid attention to history, it’s time to do so. We are less than 2% of the North American population. We are a minority, and this is becoming worse by the day.
Mainstream American media didn’t start covering this story until well after 6:00 PM EST. I know, because I was paying attention. Even at that hour, it was a few sentences, and nothing more. I legitimately had more information about what was going on than NPR, and I cannot describe the overwhelming rage and anger I feel for that, as well as for my community, which is, once again, being marginalized. Don’t tell us what is and is not antisemitism. You simply don’t have that right.
Why did I have more info? Because I had members of the community on the ground, sharing the truth. As we were being told it had nothing to do with the Jewish community by law enforcement, I have to publicly say that this man was not holding people hostage in a mosque or a church (G-d forbid!). The FBI needs to get their lies straight.
The only people who spoke to me today about what was going on were my brother and a close friend. Obviously he’s my brother, so yes, he’s Jewish, and so is my friend. She didn’t even know what was going on because she wasn’t in front of her phone or a TV. She only found out from me, and then we tried to console one another.
All I kept thinking throughout the day was, “People have news notifications on their phones, laptops, tablets, etc. People watch TV. Where the hell are all my so-called ‘friends’?” Later on, I went and cut a large percentage of people off of my social media accounts. You do not get an explanation when I decide to cut you out of my life for your low-key antisemitism, because that’s what silence is. It’s a form of hatred. It’s not like I got messages to simply say, “Hey, I heard what’s going on in Texas. Are you okay? I am here if you need to talk.” THAT is a show of support, and respect. Silence is violence. Silence says you don’t give a fuck. Let me be clear, it was not the only thing I shared today regarding hate crimes. I also shared a post about an Asian woman who was murdered in New York City; she was thrown in front of a moving train. That’s absolutely HEINOUS and revolting (not to mention, evil as hell), but guess what? This bitch is Jewish, Asian, and Latina. I represent my people! I don’t come from a place of ignorance. It takes a few minutes to properly research something or better yet, you can talk to a member of a diverse cultural group, and get the facts. Communicate to educate,
Can’t ask me how I’m coping with this? Well, quite frankly I’m refusing to be politically correct moving forward. I am going to use the correct phrases and terms to explain the impact of this near-tragedy. Especially since this particular synagogue does not permit congregation members to carry concealed. That’s not going to fly with me, and it should NOT fly with the community at large. I would rather take someone out who is, quite clearly a threat, and then have my own people bring in a special attorney. These are unsafe times for Jews, and I’m sick of it. I’m equally as sick of the silence the community is met with throughout the world.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is very special to me. I miss it. I would not go back to Texas in terms of living because of their abortion laws, but should that change, it will always make my cut on places to live. So, to hear what was going on rattled me. It took me right back to my first time in Texas; I remember passing a synagogue and thinking, “Wow! This is five times bigger than the synagogue my family occasionally went to on Long Island.” I’m not exaggerating, either. It was not just a synagogue, but a school, after-school activities, etc. I was in total awe.
Since last May’s war, my own friends and family don’t feel completely safe. Not even in Israel. Never before have they said this. Not once. My best friend, who is a born and raised citizen of Israel, does not feel safe. This concerns me, because she’s not just my best friend, she is also related to me. I freak out over her feeling unsafe, and I have reminded her that she was born to an American mother and can declare dual citizenship at the U.S. Embassy with her birth certificate. I’m actually shocked it only recently came up. Not everyone has this added luxury/benefit, and I am hoping she will do this in the future. I would feel better if she could easily board a flight to the United States as a dual citizen, and breathe a little, when she is able. I would gladly give her my frequent flier miles, and she knows this. If she didn’t hear from me for months, she’d worry. I often don’t hear from her for months at a time, and I have to pay attention to the news to make sure they don’t say her name, or her parent’s names. I keep in mind that, except for hair and eye color, she can easily pass as my sister. We resemble one another quite closely, and so, I will always worry.
I rarely wear a sign of faith, which is generally by personal choice. I’ve actually worn a lot less jewelry since Covid began. It’s only been in the past six months or so where I’ve felt it was okay to start wearing earrings and necklaces again. I am still iffy with rings, so it depends on my mood, but I’m highly aware now of my Hebrew tattoos and how they could make me a target, even though they’re usually covered up. If people feel like they can safely wear a cross, like so many millions do each day, then I should not have to feel unsafe with a Chai or a Star of David, or both. I should not have to pause and ask myself if that’s a wise choice. Even as someone versed in self-defense, I should not have to question myself for even half a second.
I am as exhausted and as fed up as every other Jewish activist telling the truth, and being threatened by strangers all over social media, or threatened by social media to have our accounts shutdown because they don’t like the truth. This occurrence has only made us see everyone else as they truly are, so we’re going rogue. You may not understand what it’s like to be Team Maccabee, but we sure as hell do because we know our history. We don’t feed you lies, and any Jew that does is either self-hating or Bernie Sanders. Oh, wait. He’s both.
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