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Identity

If I Am Not For Them, Who Will Be For Me?

December 3, 2019

Northbrook, Illinois, United States

Everyday, I try to wrap my head around the vast world we live in. I take my life for granted, yet, I have never done much about it. The more I think about it, the worse I feel. I am a female, I am Jewish, I live in Northbrook, Illinois, and I am nothing short of lucky. While many people feel at a loss because of their gender or identity, I have never felt this way. Being in a vastly Jewish area, I have never felt anything short of at home.

My entire life, I never felt truly unsafe. There are many, many factors that harm others of which I seemingly do not have to deal with. “Why” you might wonder? A socio-economically wealthy, Jewish bubble would be the answer to all these questions. 

In the twenty-first century, I, a teenage girl, am told I can be whoever I want to be. I never realized, until a few weeks ago, how fortunate I was to live in this reality.  Or maybe, I never noticed that this may not be a reality for all girls. Being female doesn’t make me lucky; it is the idea that where I live, females are not any lesser than men. I grew up in a household where being a woman was something to be proud of. It is not that I think women wish they were men, it is that I believe that not all girls know that they can truly achieve whatever they put their mind to. 

I do not have to think about discrimination in my life. In reality, many others face hardships that I do not. Being Jewish can pose a threat to my safety. Truthfully, I am unsure why. I never did anything to deserve it. When my family travels outside the country, we must always be sure of our safety. 

Last winter break, my family was traveling to Europe - my mom reminded me, yet again, “Take off the Jewish stickers on your computer. You don’t want to stick out”. 

Is this my reality?

At home, this is not my reality. However, this is the reality many others face. My world seems real far from the world many of my friends live in. Friends from as close as Squirrel Hill, PN to as far as Ukraine merely do not have the privilege to be openly Jewish. Many experience Anti-Semitism at their schools or do not feel safe practicing Judaism

In “Willing to Be Disturbed” by Margaret Weatley, she describes how the world is an ever-changing place. 

“But the world now is quite perplexing. We no longer live in those sweet, slow days when life felt predictable, when we actually knew what to do next” (Wheatley 1). 

Though living this reality may be difficult, I must always be aware of my surroundings. Searching for a college that will be the fit for me, I am constantly considering the risks of Antisemitism that reach the campus. Thankfully, this is not an issue the occurs at home. 

As time goes on, it gets increasingly harder to understand why I have things so easy. Privilege is a weird concept. Lose track of your own and suddenly you fall down a misguided path. I must not lose sight of mine. There must be something I can do to mend the gap for others, I just do not know what. 

Although I may not know where to start, I must stand up. No change happens through silence. There must be a shift in attitude. It can start with me. 

If I do not stand for them, who will stand for me?

Amanda Press is a BBG from Jane Beber Abramson #2514 in the Great Midwest Region. She loves to sing in the car with friends.

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