My mom forwarded me an email today that my rabbi sent out to the congregation of my temple, reminding everyone that “Jews don’t despair,” that we should always stand up for oppressed people.
I’ve never been religious, but I’ve always been Jewish, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot in the aftermath of this election. I didn’t even realize until I saw it on Twitter, but it’s the anniversary of Kristallnacht, an event that kickstarted the Nazi regime into action and shattered the windows of thousands of businesses and synagogues across Germany. A friend sent me a photo of a window in south Philly with a swastika painted on the window next to Trump’s name. I stopped in a cemetery on my walk home and cried.
Last month, I made a podcast for a class project about the 40 Days for Life protests that took place outside of Planned Parenthood. I interviewed a woman who told me to connect the dots about the parallels between the Holocaust and abortion. I asked her to elaborate on that, because I’m Jewish and didn’t understand how she could say that. I was screaming in my head.
Friday is the anniversary of my grandma’s death. She had a wire hanger necklace, to represent the fight for the right to abortion. I wear it all the time. Her parents fled the pogroms in Russia, and she would be crying watching the news right now.
Yesterday, I watched a video of a student protest outside Hillman at 4 a.m. One distraught black woman was crying, yelling about how scared she was that she would have her rights taken away. An apparent Trump supporter assured her our future president won’t do that, despite months of campaigning that’s told us otherwise. He began yelling, “I’m a Jew,” as if that was an excuse, as if he understood oppression in the same way as black and brown and queer and trans people. As if he wasn’t selling his people down the river, and disappointing his, and my, ancestors in the process.
If I learned anything going to Sunday school growing up, it was the idea of “Never Again.” We cannot let this happen again. We cannot let oppressors win and we have to defend the oppressed. Never again means never again.
– Hannah Lynn, senior