Fight for Fear

By: Marcela Homsany  |  November 21, 2023

By Marcela Homsany, Staff Writer

It was 5:30 PM, Saturday, November 4. I, an observant Jew, celebrated the Sabbath while sitting with my best friends, reviewing a summarized version of modern Jewish history for an upcoming midterm. The history of the Jews is easy to remember; we have lived in one place thousands of years, a new government or religious fever takes over, we are kicked out and/or killed. Interestingly enough, as time went on, the tolerance for Jews lowered in both time and treatment wise. The Jews were continuously used as a pawn for political, economical, and societal vendettas against the enemy of its generation whether that be civilian, religious, or governmental. Thus, Jews went from staying thousands of years in one place to a hundred or less before they were massacred or exiled. 

But these exiles and massacres are something us, the Jews, thought was left behind in history books. This is 2023, a time of diversity and inclusivity for everyone- no matter your religion or race. 

We were wrong. 

My best friends and I begin to hear a light drum beat, pounding outside their dorm window. As we approach the windowsill, we are presented with thousands of protestors holding up pictures of Adolf Hitler and Palestinian flags, chanting “Hitler should’ve ended the Jews.” 

As Jews, our well beings are being threatened by a complex, political war happening on the other side of the world. Ironically, our own personal political stance on the war is irrelevant and the racial climate of the diaspora displays so- this isn’t a war of freedom, this is a war against the Jews. 

History is beginning to repeat itself.

Consequently, Jews around the world have begun to hide their identity. We have been encouraged by our communities to tuck in our Hebrew or Jewish affiliated jewelry, limit our outings, and change our names when asked or on public service apps. We are afraid to be Jews in our own spaces, cities, and schools. 

My peers in secular college campuses, like Cornell and Tulane, have taken down their mezuzahs, kipot, and refused to enter Jewish affiliated spaces like the Kosher dining hall or the local Chabad and Hillel in fear of further harassment.

Albeit, I am grateful to go to a Jewish university with understanding staff and administration, but there is an overall recognition and hyper awareness within the student body, that we are the easiest and most vulnerable target for hate in the city. Most are in agreement that it is only a matter of time before the protesters rally and riot outside the school itself. Yet the school has neglected to provide us with the proper defense mechanisms in the most likely case we are met with a hate crime, exuberating our fear on campus and our fear to be openly Jewish.