I have an email list of several hundred people that I use in order to maintain contact with people who learn with me and “follow” my work. The people come from all sorts of places–social media, live events, readers of my writings, etc. There is no set demographic to the people I am connected with, although I do a substantial amount of my work with the Jewish community in Los Angeles.
Most of what I do in all of my videos, recordings, and writings that relate to anything Jewish I frame in a way that can be relate-able by people of all faiths. For example, if I am pulling a pearl of wisdom from a Torah source I wrap it in my experience as a clinical psychotherapist and word it in such a way that people from all types of backgrounds can grab it as a life tool. To me this is one of the most beautiful aspects of Torah–the Universal wisdom that applies across humanity.
Today I experienced something I haven’t seen directly since that one time I was in college. Many years ago when I was teaching part-time in a Sunday school/Hebrew school I showed up for work one morning only to find swastikas and “die Jews” spray painted on the front doors of the synagogue. I was a writer back then as well and I did what I know how to do best: I wrote an opt-ed piece for the major newspaper that was published addressing anti-semitism and how I handled the event with my students that day.
So many years later it is clear in the macrocosm that anti-semitism is alive and well. We see it all over the world with the obvious message that killing Jews is somehow okay or justifiable. Yet even though we know it exists there is a part of the human mind that likes to down-play it thinking that it’s something that others experience . . .until it’s in your face like it was for me today.
Today I sent out an “end-of-the-year” happy holidays/happy 2016 email wishing everyone blessings. The email included a recap of my work in 2015 which of course given my work within the Jewish community had mentions of projects touching on Jewish subjects. Anyone who manages an e-list knows that with every email that goes out there are the accompanying statistics of bounce rates, comments, and those who unsubscribe. The unsubscribers are given an option to offer comments and a reason why they are leaving the list. Today a reason given by the one unsubscriber was, “I didn’t sign up for your jewmail.”
One newly created word that speaks volumes.
At first I had this reaction that was kind of like, “What? No, that can’t be let me read it again.” I mean the person could have simply chosen to unsubscribe without commenting at all. But I read it again and sure enough there it was, “jewmail.”
Here I had sent out an email that was quite literally blessing all of my email community with love and success in 2016 and all this person could see was “jewmail.” How sad. How utterly empty. Instead of being able to experience and absorb blessings, the reply was to spew hate. So, I did what I felt was the right thing to do. I sent him a personal email.
I wanted to personally thank you for unsubscribing to my elist. It is not my intention to interact with people who are intolerant, racist, and generally unkind to complete strangers. Please know that I will make sure your services are not needed by my “Jewmail” community. Wishing you all the best and Happy 2016!
I could have just as easily let it go, turned the other cheek, and brushed it off. But the fact is that even the smallest act of racism, anti-semitism, hate, or the like must be countered. It must be called and it must be shut down.
My email to Josh may or may not change his mind, or even better his heart, but at a minimum I stood up for myself and for my community. And this is something we must do not only for our own people but for anyone who suffers from the sting of ignorance and hatred.
Bring on the Jewmail in 2016.