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Jewish student reacts to anti-Semitism on campus

I got home at 1:00 am on Saturday morning. I saw an email that said a note had been placed under a student’s door in Peet. The note said, “Kike, You should be gassed for what you say & do on this campus. Be worried CUNT”.

Kike, I hadn’t heard that word for a while, a part of me hoped that it was out of fashion these days. I guess I was wrong. I spent the rest of the night fuming. I posted on the Beloit Student Group page and told the person who wrote the letter to fuck off. That was all I could do at 1:00 in the morning. The next morning as I was leaving home I decided to wear a yarmulka, something that I have not done in public for years. I wanted to hide my fear behind courage. I wanted this person to know that they could not make me, or the other Jews on campus, cower.

This incident reminded me of what my Zaida, a Holocaust survivor, used to say, “They will never leave us be, why they hate us I don’t know, but they always will.” Unfortunately he was right, I remember being called a dirty Jew by a group of three kids on the playground when I was twelve. They kept asking me why I killed Christ, and when I had no answer they tried to beat me up. I remember being told not to speak Yiddish in a gas station in Iowa by my father. I can only hope that this event will serve as a wake up call to the Beloit community that anti-Semitism still exists.

Jews are a small minority who continue to be hated by a large segment of the population. This is a fact that is often overlooked or ignored by many people today; in Beloit and around the world. I hope that after this particular hate crime people will begin to realize that Jews as a group are both vulnerable and targeted. Ignorance of anti-Semitism only helps to propagate it.

I have been humbled by the outpouring of support by the Beloit community in the wake of this crime. There has been no better feeling than the countless messages and the expression of solidarity. As a Jew, I personally have always felt that combating anti-Semitism was a job that Jews would be forced to do alone, because who else would care. I am forever grateful to the Beloit community for standing with us. I want other minority groups on the Beloit Campus to know that we stand with you as well. This crime means that Jewish Life has to be more involved in combating hate on campus, and you can bet we will do just that. I myself have grown complacent, and maybe I unknowingly bought into the idea that there is no more anti-Semitism. But we all know that’s not true. So when the dust settles on this crime, I ask the Beloit community to remember it as we Jews remember the Holocaust. Remember that there are people in the world who would do harm to your fellow students based on their religious/cultural identity, and please continue to stand with us.

As for me, I am going to keep wearing a yarmulka around campus for the foreseeable future. If anybody wants to talk about what happened or has questions about anti-Semitism or Judaism, shoot me a message, whether you’re Jewish, or not feel free to get in touch.

Finally to the perpetrator of this heinous crime. You must not know your history. Your side always loses. The inquisition failed, the pogroms failed, the Holocaust failed. My Zaida and Nana had children, their children had children, and that child is here today. My family’s blood is littered throughout the fields of Poland: My great aunt bled out with a machine gun in her hand on a street in Warsaw; many others lie in unmarked graves, their bodies thrown there by people like you. But their children and kin are living and will continue to live. The history of the Jewish people is rife with those who have tried to do us harm. But we are still here. “Am Yisroel Chai” means “The People of Israel Live” in Hebrew. It is as true today as it was a thousand years ago, and as it was in 1945, when the dying were liberated. I am living proof of the Nazi’s failure and I intend to go on living.


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