Judaism Minority Religion

Judaism: A Minority Religion on Campus

As college students, we have many things to worry about: our grades, our schedules, when or if we go to the gym, the last thing we need to worry about is our safety.

But, in today’s society, a lot of us Jewish students find ourselves thinking about that when we never did before and always felt safe in our community here at Monmouth.

It seems as though in a relatively short amount of time, the world has been turned upside down by unbending political views where people would rather fight than debate to outright anti-Semitism.

Case in point, take a look at the tragedy in Charlottesville as an example. Thomas Byer ‘67, Trustee of the University, explained that if someone were to take the event, freeze it in time, remove all color from the photograph and just make it a black and white abstract, could someone really tell the difference between Charlottesville 2017 from Munich 1930?

It is a frightening time in the world for everybody, black, white, gay, straight, transgender, and anyone in between.

Everyone has something to fear and it all comes from lack of communication and lack of specific identity regarding politics.

When there are people who join a cause, their thoughts may be pure, but they have to understand that sometimes it can be misconstrued. An example of this would be when celebrities come out in support of their cause of the day.

More often than not, celebrities do not realize how much sway they have over public opinion, politics, social justice issues, etc.

There are the middle aged baby boomers who tune into The View every day, where they have Whoopi Goldberg who is vocally outright Pro-Palestine/Anti-Israel as well as Penelope Cruz.

Having celebrities embrace movements such as this, it creates a sense of validity for those who also agree with their political views.

On the other hand, for someone who is on the edge, this is a reason to act out.

As much students may love the people they attend classes with, and have never looked at anybody by their color, religion or lifestyle, now, with the way our society is evolving, many Jewish students almost feel as though they have been thrown back to the 1930s.

This is because now, I, along with other Jewish students, have to suppress who we really are.

Although we may feel safe, the cloud of negativity hangs over us. Liz Perkel, former president of Chabad and now active member, stated how she has experienced multiple swastikas on campus.

“I have witnessed multiple swastikas on campus. One was scratched into my desk in class and the other was on the bulletin board in my dorm building,” she said.

The symbolism of a swastika to people of the Jewish faith is as disheartening as a burnt cross to an African American.

This brings us to believe, that anti-Semitism is alive and well and most of all, thriving.

The only way to defeat it is through communication, dedication, and education.

Never forget what has happened, for those who forget, are destined to repeat. We must all learn from the past.

This is why when I see the picture from Charlottesville in black and white, it makes me think that we have so much more work to do as a society because the only thing missing from that picture was the yellow stars. 

What you can do to help the situation is educate your fellow peers.

If you see something wrong, speak up; understand that there are still people out there who are Anti-Semitic.