Zalman Bluming

A Message to My Fellow Jews

Many of us feel very isolated … shocked by the hatred. Hurting from people we thought were friends, our social media feeds are ablaze.
PLEASE share with anyone who could use some extra love.

Hamas’s attack on Israel was a small-scale Holocaust, a moment no Jew alive with the tiniest speck of communal feeling will ever forget. Faced with that realization, how can we not live in fear? Especially when our collective cries of horror and revulsion are met with indifference, evasion, and even opposition, by our friends, classmates, and administrators? 

The Jewish students are reeling in pain and horror. Students are told by the professor that Hamas terrorism is legitimate. Students crying in their dorm room after seeing images of slaughtered children are told by their roommates that they deserved it. Students walking to and from class are confronted by a group of their peers chanting “resistance by all means”, explicitly supporting and promoting more acts of terrorism for their political agenda.

We have all seen, read, and been taught about numerous acts of barbaric terrorism; 9/11, Timothy McVeigh, the Sri Lanka Easter bombings to name a few. By definition, all terrorist attacks have political undertones or motivations. We are all familiar with numerous terrorist organizations; Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram to name a few. By definition, all terrorist organizations view themselves as political actors and their acts of terrorism as political acts.

But never have we seen so many people support the deliberate slaughter of babies under the guise of politics. Never have we seen people self-described as progressive and caring, defend the rape, murder and mutilation of women under the guise of politics. Never have we seen a music festival turned into a graveyard for over 300 revelers excused under the guise of politics.

We have never seen it, because it never happens. Not in the company of upstanding moral people. Not in a civilized society. Never ……except. Except when the victims of the atrocities are Jews.

What, then, is the answer to our fears? Remembering who we are: the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. Each of our patriarchs and matriarchs fought with courage to live as Jews, and their example has reminded us through the generations what it means to stand up against banal hatred with pride, dignity, and resilience.

We are the People of the Book: outlasting our persecutors across eras and empires through our devotion and dedication to our dearest values and most sacred beliefs, a living Torah spanning all our generations.

We will never be defeated by terror. When it comes to terrorism, a Jew is an armored tank. We must remember that we are constantly protected by the unbroken chain of our heritage and our unity as a people.

Yes, a barbaric attack on innocent civilians in Israel shakes us to our core. But at our core, we are not afraid. We are full of purpose: to stand up for what is right, to condemn unspeakable cruelty, to comfort those around us, to repair brokenness through deeds of goodness and kindness, to light up the world with mitzvah after mitzvah, and to live with truth and integrity as proud members of the Jewish people.

So tomorrow, when you feel the fear sinking in, remind yourself: I am a Jew, bold as a leopard, swift as an eagle, fleet as a deer, and strong as a lion! Gird yourself with that strength and go out to conquer the day. For our people need you now more than ever, and you have so much to contribute.

With so much love,
Zalman  Bluming

About the Author
Rabbi Zalman Bluming together with his wife Yehudis are the Chabad shluchim to Durham-Chapel Hill, UNC, and Duke Graduate Schools. They run programs educating college students and community members about Judaism and their Jewish Heritage.
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