Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Jewish

By

Published March 20, 2019
A A A Share
The Montclarion
A Star of David necklace lies over the Hebrew prayer for peace. Rebecca Serviss | The Montclarion

As the Opinion Editor for The Montclarion, I encourage everyone to have a voice on any topics or issues that they feel passionate about. If someone says, “I hate this person,” they have their First Amendment right to do so, but when someone forms an opinion based on a generalization, that’s when I begin to question it a little more.

As a journalism major, I am taught to report the truth and that I shouldn’t form a news story based on own my opinion, but it does not mean I don’t have one.

I have reported on many topics and issues here at Montclair State University, but there is one that I try to stay away from because I feel that I cannot be unbiased: Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people.

I’m not really involved in the Jewish community, but I still am a Jew. I wear my Hebrew name necklace around my neck with pride and as a symbol of my Jewish identity, but unfortunately, there are people out there who hate me for the same reasons I wear my רבקה (Rivka) necklace.

Before spring break, the campus Hillel was targeted with anti-Israel comments for a series of cultural events called Israel Boot Camp. These comments really put a downer on something that sets Montclair State apart from other local colleges: Its diversity and culture, which was turned into a political debate.

Maybe calling it Israel Boot Camp threw some people off, but I’m pretty sure that the members of Hillel had no political agenda when planning these activities and had no intentions of talking about the controversial Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This was just an event to experience Israeli culture, like a hummus-making competition. I personally don’t like hummus, but I do not think the chickpea spread is worth the drama.

It really sickens me that there are people on this campus who can take an innocent event and turn it into a bigger issue in which they feel the need to condemn the students involved.

Whenever I hear about these comments made around campus, I take it very personally and it breaks my heart. I ask myself, “Did I do something wrong?” Chances are, I didn’t do anything wrong for someone to hate me because of my religion.

That is what the receiving end of anti-Semitism feels like, the thought that someone hates you because of another person’s beliefs or actions. It is just like saying you hate all journalists because this one reporter quoted you wrong in their article.

You can insert any group of people in that type of scenario, and it would still carry the same meaning.

As a Jew, I do not want people hating me for someone else’s actions. Chances are, I don’t completely agree with them either, but it should not cause for hostility.

What they need to understand is that we have no control over the situation in the Middle East. We are just a group of people who wish to embrace and share our culture in a peaceful manner.

For those who do not agree with me, you have your First Amendment right to do so, but I urge those who make generalizations about groups of people to take a look around at the diversity that makes Montclair State shine.

All of us hold different beliefs and ideas, but that doesn’t make us terrible human beings. We all wish for the same thing: שלום (shalom), peace.

Join the Conversation