Pam Alcala
Jewish Educator, Aspiring Artist, and Hopeless Idealist

Drowning out the hate

It has become a daily struggle. Waking up, scrolling through social media and seeing the wave of anti-Jewish hate sweep over the world. So many people in our lives are either silent or actively supporting a cause that they believe to be peaceful, anti-war resistance (and I have no doubt that for some, that’s the goal).

It’s so easy, getting lost in the hate, letting it consume us. We resent those who do not see the generational trauma that is triggered by what is happening across the world; we have been here before, we have heard the chants against us, the accusations, blood libel. We remember how the world remained silent while our families got slaughtered. 

I used to believe that the reason the Nazis got away with what they did was because there was no unfiltered communication like social media, so people were not aware of the extent of evil happening at the camps.

So, I ask you: what is the excuse now? When people stand on the streets glorifying a terrorist group, calling for the elimination of the only Jewish state, calling for a second Intifada, justifying rape and mutilation as resistance, where is the outrage? Why is it that cries against Jewish people are acceptable? Part of the definition of antisemitism is “holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the State of Israel” (for a full definition, read here).

I spent the last seven months with many students, going over Jewish values, how to be better people. I also spent time educating them about Israel, its culture, practices, democracy, diversity, I made sure to give them all the tools they needed to develop a relationship with Israel. Most importantly, I spent the time making sure they understood every nuance of Israel’s existence, understanding that not everything in life is as simple as the world makes it out to be.

As a Jewish educator, I cannot put into words how disheartening and scary it is to watch the world be consumed by hate while you have spent your time making sure that you are raising a new generation that is filled with love. I don’t mind being called a hopeless idealist; I believe that there is goodness in everyone, and it is my role as an educator to make sure that the next generation has the tools to develop and love their Jewish identity.

What I will not do, no matter how much the world pushes us, is to teach them that hate is acceptable. That is not who we are as Jewish people, no matter how much the world tells us otherwise. We have lived hate, we have learned from history. We, the Jewish people, will not bow down to those who want to destroy us. We see your hate and your silence.  

Your plight for peace is being drowned by your call for hate. Your silence amplifies those who vow to destroy us. If you don’t understand what is happening, or don’t want to comment because you don’t know enough about the conflict, ask. We would rather (or I would) spend time educating for the sake of peace than screaming for the sake of war. Silence is complicit.

About the Author
Pam is a Jewish Educator, Social Worker, and aspiring artist. She has spent her career working in congregational settings, DEI programming consulting, and global Jewish non-profit work. She has a passion for merging mental health, creative arts, and Jewish experiential education.