Many of us around the order have been lucky enough to be surrounded by the love and support of our beautiful religion, especially during hard times like these. However, it’s important to remember that we also live in a period where we may have to censor our opinions about our homeland, the land of Israel. We have learned to censor our opinions and block out the hate, but it's also important to recognize it. In light of recent events, it’s important to continue to educate our friends and family in every way, whether that be social media or just talking to someone, but it's hard to do that when we are getting constant backlash. I have asked friends from around the Order to share some personal experiences with censoring their views on Israel.
One BBG said that she posted about the ongoing war with Hamas on her Instagram story, after which she received a DM with the words #isnotreal, referring to the fact that Israel is not a real place. Another one posted a photo with an audio of “Hatikva,” the Israeli national anthem, after which someone responded with an Anti-Semitic depiction of a Jew with an Anti-Semitic audio. Not only is voicing our opinions being met with backlash online but also in real life. People have been scared of wearing clothes with any Israel-related insignia in fear of the actions they might receive from their communities. In addition to being met with hate, it’s also extremely frustrating to be in a community where there is no education outside the Jewish community at all. People need to hear what's going on in our homeland, and they need to hear it now.
The worst part about all of this is that we know our family and loved ones are in danger, and there isn't much we can do to help. Having spent the summer in Israel myself, I have made an even deeper connection with the people who live there. Having to text your friends and family to see if they are alive on your Saturday morning is something no one has to do. Not knowing if they are safe or in danger is the worst feeling. To all my fellow Aleph and BBGs who know people in Israel right now, my heart goes out to all of you; I know how you feel.
But what can we do about it? Educate, Educate, Educate. It's the most important thing we can do as Jews in our community. Block out the hate and backlash you receive for voicing your opinions; it's your right. Even if you are scared, you have a whole community behind you, waiting to have your back.
Leah Heimer is a BBG currently living Kent, CT from Shanghai, China who loves to travel, experience different cultures (she loves history) and to try new foods.
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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