D’Var Torah: Antisemitism? We defeated pharaoh | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

D’Var Torah: Antisemitism? We defeated pharaoh

As most of us know, incidents of antisemitism, including but not limited to: harassment, vandalism, hate crimes, and cyberbullying, are on the rise in the United States. Almost every single Jew in the U.S has experienced antisemitism in some way. 

For example, Ye, (previously known as Kanye West), has been quite vocal about his support of Hitler. 

 In addition, the former president Donald Trump invited Nick Fuentes, who is a Holocaust denier and white nationalist, to a dinner at his Mar-a-Lago estate.   

There have been other antisemitic incidents locally and nationally.  

We as Jews have dealt with antisemitism for as long as we’ve been alive. During almost every single Jewish holiday, we celebrate how our oppressors attempted to kill us, and we survived. Soon, we will celebrate Passover.  

Passover is the holiday when pharaoh attempted to slaughter all of the Jews using different methods. And when that happened, we fought back.  

We are taught that when a new pharaoh came to power he enslaved the Jewish people, because he feared their growing numbers. He ordered every Jewish male to be thrown in the Nile River.  

Yocheved, Moses mother, didn’t want her son to be killed, so she made a basket and placed him inside. Yet this was heavily dangerous due to the fact that the Nile was swarming with crocodiles. Pharaoh’s daughter found the basket and instead of leaving him to die she took him in.   

As Moses grew up, he witnessed hatred and violence. This led him to act back with more violence, which almost got him killed. Moses escaped, and eventually, G-d talked to him in the form of the burning bush. This led him to stand up to pharoah, and after a while, got him to free his people. Moses stood up to pharaoh even though it was difficult, and we continued to persevere when pharaoh didn’t back down.  

This teaches us that even though we may always be oppressed and persecuted, we have to continue. 

 In light of the recent antisemitism, here are some ways that Jews and non-Jews alike can combat hate: 

  1. Educate yourself. Ignorance leads to hate, so learn more about what is antisemitic and learn what antisemitism does.  
  2. Call people out if they say something. If one of your friends makes an antisemitic “joke,” tell them that they shouldn’t and educate them on why it’s wrong.  
  3. And last but certainly not least, talk to your kids. Kids are the future. So, teach them and talk to them about what antisemitism is and how to stand up for themselves or others. 

We have survived people trying to kill us since our beginning, and we will survive this. It’s scary right now, but in times of trouble and despair, we should just remember our ancestors. They survived, and we will too.  

Writers Maya Khayat and Hazel Joseph are seventh grade Milwaukee Jewish Day School students.