Antisemitism is real and is having a significant impact. We’ve got to be aware.
I sometimes blow off some steam by visiting Reddit, a social media platform. It’s where people discuss the issues of the day and post things like, “How do I get a job like cookie inspector?”
That was posted on July 23, leading one user to deadpan, “Quality control at a food plant.”
I like Reddit because you can select individual discussion groups that are well-policed by moderators. You can therefore have a Reddit experience that’s more reasonable than what you find on some other social media platforms, especially if you choose your groups carefully.
Us older folks are on there, but there are also a lot of young people. I feel Reddit gives me a window into their world.
I like the Jewish board on Reddit, but what I’m seeing also disturbs me. I’m seeing posts and comments that don’t match up with the America I grew up in. These are just a few examples from July, each of them seemingly from different young people:
- “I was on Instagram for a number of years. Found it very difficult seeing I/P content all the time during the latest flare up. My being Jewish was inconvenient to one of my oldest friends and their politics, so they ditched me.”
- “Friends – I think we’re all being reintroduced to the kind of generally antisemitic environment that our ancestors experienced. It’s in the air, everywhere, all the time. It wasn’t like this for our parents (at least for those of us in the US), who got to experience the temporary reprieve granted by Europe’s collective guilt and shame over the Holocaust.”
- “I deleted my Instagram yesterday. I was tired of holding my breath to see which friend calls for my genocide next. It’s been a lot to cope with for me too.”
- “Pretty much anything that’s negative in the world is our fault, apparently.”
I know this is an anvil in your heart, as it is mine.
For some of you, perhaps, it’s more of what you remember in your youth, the same never-ending story. For me, it seems like something out of the Chronicle archives, not something I recognize in my America.
I think our young people are learning as they go, doing their best. It’s our role to help them as best we can.
I’ve gotten to know many of the volunteers and Jewish professionals who are working hard to be helpful. I’m grateful for all of it.
Meanwhile, I am hopeful that the cultural mood moves along a spectrum, that it swings back and forth like a pendulum. I’ve seen “back.” I’m ready for some “forth.”
The good news is that love and hope are beautiful, and there’s plenty of it out there. It’s nourishing and strengthening, and we’ve got to encourage it and continue to produce it.
Here’s another post from the Reddit Jewish board:
“This is horrific. People shouldn’t be attacked for who they are. I am not a Jewish person and I don’t really know that many Jewish people. However I want to help out. Is there anything I can do to help out Jewish people facing these attacks? What would help y’all the most if an outsider did? Like what can I do?”
You just did.
Rob Golub is editor of the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle.