Check Yourself

By now, we are all painfully aware of the ongoing hate being hurled against the Jewish community. The latest rhetoric by a famous rapper has certainly played a part in this, and businesses have finally responded by canceling their relationships with him. It is easy for us to look at those companies, wag our fingers, and say “It’s about time.” Instead of this common response, I encourage you to pause and dig a bit deeper. Take a second to look introspectively, and ask the tough questions:  

How is anti-Semitism being expressed unchecked like this, and what can we do about it? 

Hate crimes against Jewish people are not new. Unfortunately, this very small population of our society has been the subject of hate for a few thousand years, and the latest statistics show that crimes against this community are increasing. I think our complacency and our failure to powerfully stand with our Jewish friends and family and against anti-Semitism has allowed this activity to go unchecked. Here’s what I mean. 

The popular and influential rap artist I mentioned in the first paragraph is said to have a disturbing fascination with Adolph Hitler. He openly expressed this admiration and even wanted to name his album, “Hitler.”  Those close to him acknowledge that it was clear that the artist was enamored, and somehow, this disturbing fascination went unchecked. He was allowed to openly express this adoration for a despot who persecuted and murdered six million Jewish people over the course of the twelve years of The Holocaust—and, it went unchecked. He recently became more emboldened and spewed anti-Semitic rhetoric on a global stage, prompting people to finally exclaim “Enough!”

We stood in our power, checked his behavior, and change began happening swiftly. Now we must stand in support of the Jewish community to show anti-semites that their behavior won’t be tolerated. 

Remember when it was taboo to say racist or anti-Semitic things aloud? Racist speech and hate crimes are closer to us than we think.  They’re not just happening in extreme or fringe groups. They are also happening in our communities, at restaurants, bars, etc. Are we paying attention? 

The only way to re-establish those more civil times is to challenge every statement or behavior that oppresses this community. It’s not that each of us has done something directly to injure those in the Jewish community, but it is our lack of doing or saying something that has allowed injury. It is our silence that needs to be checked.  What if our voices gave the necessary support to those who do know people committing these acts or who have been hurt by this hatred? What if we checked ourselves in our silence? If we were outraged instead of apathetic about what is happening to our Jewish sisters and brothers, then change would happen.  

Just as we’ve come together to stop hatred and crime against others who need our support, such as the Black and Asian communities, this is another opportunity to do the same. We must come together to change what is happening because it is in our silence and lack of action that we all suffer.

So, before we point fingers at others—and we know some folks need to be held accountable—there is an opportunity for us to get to work. And I have found that if you are working—truly busy working—you won’t have time to point.

Dr. Lisa

Our theme song is “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson.




Comment 1

  1. Reverett
    November 2, 2022

    I am a Jew by choice, raised Lutheran. Raised in a very small town, I actually made an insensitive comment to my then boyfriend about a Jewish bakery. He still married me and I still cringe when I remember that comment. What continues to fascinate me was that he simply ignored it at the time. It wasn’t until after he revealed himself as Jewish that I asked him about my comment. He said, ‘It wasn’t important enough to say anything.” How this relates to your call to take action is that he taught me that born Jews are inculcated to ‘let it pass,’ so as to avoid persecution, both subtle and overt, in the forms of rage, disgrace and disgust that still lurks after many hundreds of years. Thank you for the call.

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