Antisemitism: Coping with the Harsh Reality

November 3, 2023
Sofie Glassman

Long Island, New York, United States

Class of 2025

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Imagine being a shy 5-year-old in the first week of kindergarten, thinking that you had just made your first friend in your class. You tell her to ask her mom to have a playdate with you. But she unexpectedly responds with, “I can’t play with you because you are Jewish.” How would you react? I did not know how to respond, so I just simply said, “Oh,” and walked away. But this is something that has always stuck with me. I later came to learn that this was called antisemitism. 

Unfortunately, with the exponential increase of antisemitism over the past few years, antisemitic incidents have become a harsh reality in my daily life. Whether it was from my peers, random strangers, or people that I considered friends, the comments were just as hurtful.

On October 7th, 2023, I woke up excited to celebrate the Holiday of Simchat Torah. As we all do, the first thing I did that morning was look at my phone. Within the first second of scrolling on Instagram, I was flooded with an immense amount of grief. Not only was Israel under attack, it was invaded from the air, the land, and the sea by a terrorist organization, taking innocent civilians and brutally killing and kidnapping them. Seeing videos of my Jewish brothers and sisters being slaughtered, raped, and beheaded just for simply existing while I am here in America, unable to stop the harm being inflicted on my people and unable to unsee the horrors. 

The next two days were rough, especially since I had just spent a month in Israel this past summer and made close Israeli friends who are my age, and they are now facing this war in their backyard. But, my Jewish friends and I were able to support one another. Going to school on Tuesday, October 10th, was one of the hardest things for me in these past 3 weeks. The kids in my school did not even have a clue that there was anything out of the ordinary going on. The insensitive conversations with my peers were heart-wrenching. When starting to explain the situation going on, I was flooded with the response of, “Sofie, come on. It’s not that bad”.

I could go on and on about each and every antisemitic encounter that I have had. But, if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that we, as the Jewish people, NEED to stand together. We cannot afford for anybody to be silent. Whether that entails debunking the myths and outright lies spewed on social media, speaking out in your local community, or just posting an Israeli flag, your voice matters. We, as Jewish people, have survived through exile, bigotry, and an effort of complete and total annihilation. We need to show the world that we are proud to be Jewish, no matter what.

Our ancestors did not survive the unthinkable, nor did they go on to rebuild their Jewish lives in the boldest act of defiance, for us to stay silent as our people face the same hate today. Antisemitism is the oldest form of hatred. I sit here writing this as an unapologetically proud Jewish woman in my own act of defiance. I strongly urge you all to join me in this fight. We owe it to every single Jewish person who came before us, the Jewish people who had their lives taken from them just because they were Jewish, and the ones who lived on to tell their stories. We owe it to the future of the Jewish people, as well as the rest of humanity. We cannot and will not let hatred win.

Sofie Glassman is a BBG living in Long Island, New York. She spends all of her time outside of school getting more involved in the Jewish community and fighting Antisemitism.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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