“You can’t live your life in hiding.”
That was said to me after I expressed concern about safety regarding a Jewish organization.
I’ve lived all over the country. I’ve worked in social media representing Jewish groups. I’ve been a board member at Jewish groups. Our children are the great-grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. I watch the news. I’m a parent. I’m very invested in safety.
I’m incredibly active at our synagogue. I have a child at a Jewish day school. I have children who have performed at various Jewish-themed events and with Jewish groups. My children sang at the Kosher Dinner every year starting when our youngest was 3. I was in charge of social media for various Jewish groups. I’ve been interviewed specifically about my Judaism for publications. I’m a Jewish writer for Spokane FAVS. I am not hiding.
I am not hiding my Judaism and I am not hiding my head in the sand regarding the state of the world. I take common sense steps in how, when, and where I present my family and myself both in real life and online.
Many people are completely unaware of threats against Jews. Sometimes this is because the incidents are kept quiet within a community for fear of drawing out more anti-Semites. Sometimes this is because the incident was reported, but never registered with that particular person. Sometimes this is because a particular person just doesn’t want to know. I am aware of those attacks and threats that happen to us globally, locally, and personally and I respond accordingly. This is not living in fear. This is living in the real world.
Have we already forgotten that Nazis marched with torches on American soil just months ago? Are you listening to your friends when they tell you the slurs they’re hearing? Are you turning your head away from the swastika graffiti painted around you? Did you throw away the KKK flyer left on your car and think nothing more of it?
The hatred isn’t aimed only at Jews. You may find your Muslim neighbors, immigrant neighbors, and others are also enduring threats, taunts, and fears. I have friends who have privately told me about their experiences and expressed their terror, but they’re terrified to say anything publicly because they don’t want to put themselves and their families at further risk. They too take precautions and have specific plans to keep their families safe.
While there may be areas were diversity is more accepted, it is still a threat all over the United States (and beyond). It’s not limited to any one area. We can’t say, “Oh I live here. I don’t live there. So I’ll be fine.”
Being concerned about safety isn’t at all over-reacting. Reviewing safety protocols with your synagogue isn’t uncalled for. Using guidelines when posting information for or about Jewish organizations isn’t being dramatic. We can’t go into hiding. We can’t ignore threats. We can’t ignore the past. We can’t ignore the world around us.