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Trigger warning for discussion of an antisemitic hate-crime

Today, I read about how the Jewish cemetery in Victoria was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti and Swastikas.

This broke my heart when I read it, and I’m planning on attending the vigil on Sunday to show my solidarity with the Jewish community of Victoria at large. I feel like a part of me has been shattered. Antisemitism weighs heavily on my soul each time it occurs, and I want to feel support and give it to other Jews in the area who may feel like this is a slap in the face and a violation of their safety and peace of mind.

With that said, I take a bit of an issue with one line of the story in the Times-Colonist:

Letting the children in the Jewish community see such an event will help them realize that the damage done was an isolated occurrence, he said.

I wish it were an isolated incident, and that the outpouring of love and messages of encouragement were enough to gloss over this happening, but in my 22 years as a Jew on earth, I can never believe that these are isolated incidents. Antisemitism is alive and well in North American society, and it is a constant underlying presence which is largely ignored or underplayed for the sake of feeling some semblance of normalcy and sanity, but on occasion, it explodes into incidents like this which consume me with grief and the ugly truth.

We shouldn’t lie to our Jewish children by telling them that antisemitism is isolated and rare. It will influence their daily lives for as long as they walk the earth, and they need to know how to face it and not let it prevent them from flourishing and being proud of their Jewish identity. This doesn’t mean bogging down their lives with a barrage of sadness and a history filled with grief and sorrow, but instead, teaching them that while it’s okay to feel the pain of these incidents, remembering that they are stronger than any hatred which may come their way, and that they can rise to meet and defeat it. It is this strength which defines us as a people.

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