Monday, October 30, 2023

Clarice Feldman | Facebook

Clarice Feldman | Facebook -Clarice Feldman

"Sarah Tuttle-Singer  - “Hide your Jewish star,” my homeroom teacher whispered to me on the first day of 9th grade.
“What?!?” I asked.
“Don’t let them see!” she reached for the silver star dangling in the soft spot at the base of my neck. “I’m Jewish too!,” she whispered, in an accent reppin the shtetl. “It is not safe to let them see!”
Them? Oh, you mean the other 9th graders?
Them? The guy with the pink hair and the earring slouched in the corner.  The girl who wore silver star stickers over her pimples?
Them? The girl with the dred locks and hemp necklace. The boy with the glasses?
Two feelings swam through me.
1. Chill, this is LA. They play the Hanukkah Song on the radio, and half the school is MIA during the High Holydays.
2. OMG, what a life she must have had to make her afraid, even now, even years after moving to America.
  • But that was the beginning of a journey for me – a journey where I became That Kind of Jew: I’d wear a chai (in gold) or a magen david (in silver) depending on my eye makeup. I had an Israel Defense Forces T-shirt (olive) and a Coca-Cola in Hebrew T-shirt (red) …
But the thing is, even in LA where you can float down Fairfax Boulevard in a sea of yarmulkes, where I swear to you I once heard a guy wearing a big old diamond cross around his neck tell his son to “stop schlepping,” where they sell Hanukkah gelt at the checkout aisle at RiteAid, I know that the tides are shifting, and the old nasty anti semitism scourage of the earth is eking out into our waters, contagious and vile. 
From whispered  little cruelties to tirades  on Fox News to signs on freeway  overpasses to outright  mayhem and murder. To actual violence against Jewish people. 
To the wholesale slaughter of 1400 people on a cool blue morning in Israel and the ensuing gaslighting and justification  and even  outright glee across the world in the face of our suffering, It’s true:  A LOT of People hate Jews.  
We are living  it right now.
No one is pretending anymore.
A lot of people hate Jews, and wish more of us would just line up and die. 
But am I scared? No
Angry?  Hell yeah.  But I’m not scared. 
We are strong — sure, there are a lot of people who want to wipe us off the map but that is never going to happen. Want to know why? Because we we won’t let them.  
For the first time in far too long, we are united. 
Moyshe has left the ghetto, ladies and gentlemen.  And the day we start hiding our identity is the day we begin to believe we have something to apologize for….
It’s a lot to take on, I know — it’s a heavy weight to carry, sure.  But I would rather shoulder this burden with pride  and rock my Jewish star than tuck it back beneath my shirt with tears in my eyes.  
We have a chance to be the change we want to see in the world by meeting others who have no idea who we are or what we are about. And if we go out into the world with our shoulders back and a smile in our eyes maybe they’ll see us for who we are: people. Wonderful, proud, open, caring, insistently  thriving people  who grew from the roots of a deep and storied history. 
And if not? Their loss. And to HELL with them. 
Because we aren’t going anywhere and we won’t hide and we will shine on. Jewish and proud.

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