Gila Daman

Assimilating Recent Events Propels Me Away from Assimilation

This Memorial Day weekend feels different. American holidays are usually fun: A time to spend with family—to shop and have BBQs, as the cliché goes. For those of my friends who served in the American military, this day carries a heaviness to it. But other than my empathy for them, I don’t feel it personally.

This Memorial Day weekend, I’m not looking to relax. Number one, I have to start packing for my upcoming move next month. Number two, and much more significantly, the world is on fire.

Along with starting to pack up my belongings, this Memorial Day weekend, I’ll be catching up on all the blog posts and social media communications on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For much of my life in America, I have been able to feel united with the United States. When my grandfather escaped the pogroms in Poland to come to America in the 1920s, he changed his last name to one that didn’t sound Jewish and took classes to eliminate his Polish accent.

And all together, we’ve had a pretty good run. I mean, my dad and his brothers did get beat up a couple times on their way to school in the 50s, but, hey, that was 60 years ago!

But the events of the past few weeks have changed things. They have made things come to the fore. My stretch as a comfortable American has come to an end. I can no longer be complacent nor comfortable. My sole focus in life cannot be my career fulfillment and personal family vision.

No, that is all in the past. As I prepare to move to a new house, I am decluttering my possessions. I am shedding layers of myself. I am being invited by the universe to start anew.

As my dear friend recently said in an interview after her husband was chased down by Pro-Palestinians threatening to harm him, this is a wake up call.

She told me she was referring to politicians, but I took this message for myself.

There’s nowhere to hide. There’s no more denying. There’s really nothing to be afraid of anymore. I’m coming out. I’m advocating for Israel. I’m advocating for the survival of the Jewish people. I’m going to be proud of my Judaism, not ashamed of how it makes me feel “other.”

Something is stirring deep within my soul. I am not the same. I do not belong. And I will not hide.

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