fbpx
×

Tired of all this political nonsense?

Sign up and get inspired everyday

Night of Horror: Reflecting on the Pittsburg Synagogue Shooting as a Jewish American

October 27, 2018 will forever be marked in infamy. On this day, on what should have been a typical day marked for observance of prayer and rest, an anti-Semitic terrorist armed with a semi-automatic rifle entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He killed eleven people, and injured at least six, including fours officers who responded to the scene of the crime.

The shooter had allegedly entered the building and shouted, “All Jews must die!” before opening fire on his victims. This event is believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in American history.

In this day and age, this traumatic event has come as a shock but not a surprise, especially considering the political-social rhetoric surrounding ethnic/religious minority groups in this country, and particularly since the inauguration of Donald Trump into office.

Reports of increased hate crimes since the last presidential election in 2016 has been steadily marked by research facilities such as the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism who’ve noted in that “in America’s six largest cities alone, hate crime increased from 431 to 526, or 22% for partial year 2017.”

The account reports spikes in hatecrimes targeting ethnic/religious minorities and the LGBTQ+ community, with “significant variability by cityregarding the most frequent targets, with African-Americans, Gays and Jews the most common.”

In this country, Jews have often seen a precarious position between privilege and marginalization.

On the one hand, there area variety of us who possess light-skinned privilege, particularly Ashkenazi Jews, or Jews of Eastern European heritage, many of whom do not face the level of racial targeting that people of color do. However, this does not erase the existence of Jews of color, who face both anti-Semitic micro-and macro-aggressions as well as racialized prejudice.

Furthermore, alt-right groups in their definition of “white supremacy” have not associated Jewish people in this category, as seen in the targeting of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the ‘Unite the Right’ rally.

As a Jewish person, this matter is linked to me on a very personal level. My parents and grandparents were born and raised in the Soviet Union in what is today known as Ukraine. They came to this country in order to gain better economic opportunities as well as escape the anti-Semitic prejudice that had classified them as second-class citizens.

Watching the news as a Jewish woman in this time and place in America, I am more constantly aware of the way my privileges linked to being light-skinned American grant me access to certain opportunities more than others.

I also know those privileges can easily be taken away by those who include me as part of the “foreign other,” or not pure white Christian America, someone like Robert Gregory Bowers, the Pittsburg shooter.

After World War 2, waves of Jewish immigrants traveled to the United States to escape the horror they had seen in Europe and find a better life for their descendants.

As the part of the last generation able to have contact with Holocaust survivors and hear their live testimony, it is part of our job as American citizens to be more aware of the hateful rhetoric coloring the speech of individuals, like Robert Gregory Bowers, or even politicians in office, and demonstrate that those ideas should not define America, a home to many immigrants.

Through political action and activism, including voting, rallies, journalism, etc., America needs to acknowledge its dark history of prejudice that continues to be present today and make an active choice to do better.

By: Michele Kirichanskaya

Comments

RECOMMENDED POSTS

Mental Health – Voices

Mental Health – Voices

“Sometimes I isolated myself from people because I thought I wasn’t good enough.” Inwood, NY I think mental illness is…

Muslim in America – Voices

Muslim in America – Voices

“I have never really felt any sort of discrimination. But, it was not until recently that I learned that my…

Fantasy-Novels

Fantasy Novels with Minority Protagonists

Nowadays, everyone is familiar with the acclaimed fantasy genre. Fantasy takes us to a whole new world filled with magic…

LGBTQ – Voices

LGBTQ – Voices

“I never really knew there was a label that could make me feel like myself for a long time. I…

Bonfire_cover

Krysten Ritter Impresses with Debut Novel Bonfire

Actress, Knitter, Musician, and Author—these words describe professions and hobbies in which you can find many talented women. But it…

Guns in America – Voices

Guns in America – Voices

“We do have some good gun control laws already, especially in New York, but we just need to tweak them…

LGBTQ – Voices

LGBTQ – Voices

“On the internet you can be true to yourself. You can explore and discover who you are relatively safely.” Queens,…

greta thunberg, climate change news,causes of climate change

A 16-Year-Old Swedish Girl Questioning World Leaders with 4 times of “How Dare You?”

The issue of climate change has been globally discussed when a 16 year old girl, Greta Thunberg, led up millions…

Guns in America – Voices

Guns in America – Voices

“One of the ways I think we need to deal with mass shootings is to have better education about active…