IJC member Julia Mozer recently posted this on her Facebook page. With Julia's permission, we are sharing it with the IJC community.
“There comes a time when one has to grab the keyboard and express the thoughts that are boiling inside - even if I am not one to share long messages on Facebook. Antisemitism keeps happening and there seems to be no stopping it: from fatal hate crimes like the one in Halle, Germany to clear incitement to hatred in Belgium.
I am sick and tired of the news - as I imagine many of us are. I am angry and fed up, and at this point, at this specific instance, I do not want to share another post about the most recent antisemitic hate incident in Belgium, one heavily loaded with ever-lasting stereotypical imagery.
I refuse to give oxygen to those perpetrating these stereotypes. I refuse to amplify their message and to be the deliverer of their news and incitement to their potential target group; those who do not condemn such events, nor support them.
Instead, I want to talk about what I think matters more. I want to shift your and my attention from reducing Jews to stereotypes and to antisemitism to highlighting positive Jewish stories that are universally inspiring.
All I needed was a quick Google search to find these inspirational stories. We are all responsible for where we focus our attention and how we spend our time.
Have you heard about Gad Back? He was gay, Jewish and a Nazi-Fighter. Why not spend 2 minutes reading about his life? He was a real badass. https://thenib.com/the-life-of-gad-beck-gay-jewish-nazi-fig…
Have you heard about Agnes Keleti? She is 98, winner of 10 Olympic medals and two years ago she could still perform a leg lift and a split. You can thank me later for providing your fitness inspiration. https://www.timesofisrael.com/at-98-olympic-gymnast-and-ho…/
Do you know Farede Yazazao Aklum? As an Ethiopian Jew, he encouraged and helped to smuggle out thousands of Ethiopian Jews when the government began persecuting them: https://www.haaretz.com/…/.premium-the-real-heroes-of-the-r…
I don’t have to look too far for a personal example: my grandfather, not Jewish, saved my grandmother's family, altogether 13 people, by hiding them for 3 months during the Nazi occupation in Budapest. They were not married, nor engaged back then – my grandfather was simply working in their bakery. He did what was right, like all the other people above, who did or have done good - and continue to do and represent what is good in humanity.
So I refuse to share or propagate stereotypes that are clearly for provocation and which incite hatred. It’s important to know about them. But to share them just spreads hateful images. Condemn them, but do not spread them.
We don’t need more reminders that the world is bad – we need reminders of how it can be made better. How each one of us can contribute to making it better. And we need examples of those who have worked for the better before us, so we can continue their work on tikkun olam, repairing the world. As the Ethics of our Fathers say, we are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are we free to desist from it (Pirkei Avot (2:21).”