It Hurts Me When…

By Rebecca Gunderson, TIWP Student

It hurts me when I hear people use the word Jew as a slur. I don’t feel safe when I turn the corner at my high school and see a swastika marked on the wall in permanent ink. I’m uncomfortable when we study World War II and we look at pictures of Nazis marching through the street. I get sick to my stomach–I slouch down in my chair and try not to let too many tears well in my eyes–when we watch videos about concentration camps. I am offended when people take selfies in the Holocaust Memorial Museum. I am mad when kids at my school place something on the top of their head or pull two strands out of their ponytail and say “Look! I’m Jewish”. I get sad when I hear about shootings at synagogues. I hate when I hear about anti-Semitism across the country. I’m shocked when people are disgusted by the idea of keeping kosher. I’d prefer if my uneducated classmates didn’t tell me that I’m not allowed to eat a turkey sandwich. I get angry when my classmates laugh at a book written in the 50s making fun of a Jewish man. I don’t like it when non-Jewish kids think it’s unfair that I get a day off from school on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. My blood boils when people ask if I “speak Jewish”. I don’t like when my school has Christmas parties. I’m tired of people asking me what I did over Christmas break. I get annoyed when someone asks me what I got for Christmas. I hate the look on their face when I tell them I’m Jewish. I don’t like how people laugh when they hear Hebrew. I roll my eyes at people who express their boredom at B’nai Mitzvahs. I especially despise when people ask if I believe in Jesus. Yes. He was a real person. He was Jewish. I’m dumbfounded when Christian people ask what my God is called. We pray to the same God. I get mad when people make Hitler jokes. I lost all the color in my face when a blond-haired boy in my physics class said that he would have survived the Holocaust. I tried to take the high road and not respond to my classmate chanting “no Jews!” at my high school’s Club Day. I wrinkle my brow when someone says “Oh, so it’s like you only study the first part of the Bible”. Must you belittle Judaism to fit into your religion? I prefer if I didn’t get comments about my nose “looking Jewish”. I don’t want people to look at my necklace with a Hebrew word on it and ask “What is that supposed to be?” I hate when I experience anti-Semitic microaggressions.

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