This I Believe

Ezra - Brookline, Massachusetts
Entered on September 23, 2007

This I Believe: Anti-Semitism

I am a 15 year old, white, boy from Boston, MA. My name is Ezra and I am Jewish. In my life there have been many obstacles that I have tried to overcome; and for the most part I have. There is still the never ending struggle of my people that I think about everyday. This problem is Anti-Semitism. Throughout history the Jews have been enslaved, murdered, terrorized, and been made a scapegoat in numerous occasions. In the past couple of years my opinions about my people have begun to change.

Lately, I have started to realize things in a more analytical biblical sense than just what you learn in Sunday school. In the Torah, G-d describes us as “The Chosen People.” But, chosen in what way? I have started to believe that it is not in a good way. For thousands of years the Jews have been captured and killed by many empires such as the Romans, Persians, and the Egyptians. This belief that we are “The Chosen People” is still in my mind. But I’m beginning to think that G-d chose us for torment and annihilation instead of glory and happiness. There is only one explanation for why it would be in a bad way; although the Torah says nothing of it being bad.

In the Torah, there are many miracles that help the Jewish people. For example there was the parting of the Red Sea by Moses which brought the people back to Israel from Egypt. So my question is why does G-d do this? Why does G-d go back and forth between life and death? My first thought was Karma, and G-d is just keeping us on a straight and moral path. Every time we get enslaved or murdered something usually comes out of it. The Jews were enslaved in Egypt for four-hundred years and then the Jewish people got away to start their own civilization with a leader and land.

I have started to notice it more in a modern sense as well. My grandparents were in the Holocaust. The fact that 6 million Jews were killed and we as Jews still don’t have an explanation as to why we are hated so furiously is absurd. No one in the world has come up with a legitimate reason as to why we are the cause of all problems. Hitler made us scapegoats for all of the political and social problems in Germany and turned us into the problem. Today it is a matter of protecting our holy borders. Israel is the holy land to all Jews and all Jews are welcome at anytime and by law, are not allowed to be kept from coming into the country. It has been our holy land forever and now as the war rages on in Iraq there are Muslim radicals that believe that Israel is their rightful land just because they conquered Jerusalem once in the crusades. The Arab-Israeli conflict has been going on for many years now and it is still a problem; even in America.

I remember a time when basketball was my favorite sport and I used to go down to the Devotion Courts and play. On one Saturday afternoon I was meeting some friends there to play ball and there was a kid there I had never seen before. He was a large kid that wore baggy clothes. The first thing that came out of his mouth was, “Hey man look at this f*****g Jew.” My head spun around and my jaw dropped, not quite believing if I heard him right. As he said it again with another insult added this time I new I heard correctly. He was serious and the worst part was that he said it jokingly. I thought, “that’s not funny is he stupid?” It was hard to consider as a 6th grader to be hearing such horrible things. That first real encounter with Anti-Semitism opened my eyes to a whole new world. Since I was so young it was difficult to believe, but that, was the real world. From that moment on I started to become more aware of what people were saying.

This idea of Anti-Semitism has slowly been taking over and being spread across the globe. I have been to presentations in this country, and I have seen television shows from other countries saying that the Jews are the cause for the problems of this world. Jews have been discriminated against since the beginning of our existence. We have become scapegoats, we have been tortured, massacred, and detained as slaves for many types of reasons but no good ones; not even ones that make an ounce of sense. There is no true explanation as to why; but, there is always the opportunity for people to change. As a Jew, I believe, it is my duty to do what I can to help my people. I am trying to do that by helping to prevent the spread of Anti-Semitism.