Shoshana Yarden Katz

Is Zionism a dirty word?

Anti Zionism is the new antisemitsim

My name is Jordan Katz I was born in New Jersey to a Jewish family. Growing up as a Jew in the New York area and being a Zionist was two in the same, I grew up marching at Israel rally’s, learning about the cultural, and learning the importance of a Jewish state. At eleven years old my mother landed a job at Bar Ilan university and our dream of living in Israel came true. The moment I stepped foot into Israel the staff at Ben Gurion airport said to me “welcome home” I thought nothing of it, of course I’m home.

In my first few months in Israel I spent my time learning Hebrew and acclimating to society here. In seventh grade I went on to go to a school that focuses on the conflict (as many schools in Israel do) and for the first time in my life I learned that there is over 2 million people in Gaza. About different parts of Israel and parts I can not go into, for the first time in my life I felt a passion for Israel I have never felt, a love for a country that I am not only living in but helping flourish. That was my first introduction to the conflict.

In 10th grade I spent 4 hours a week learning about the conflict hands on with the organization StandWithUs, reaching out to Muslims and learning both sides of the conflict unbiasedly. I wish I could say all my contact with the conflict was peaceful and loving, but that’s just not the truth. When I was 15 me and my friends were at a convention where we create projects to bring awareness to the conflict and we had a glass bottle thrown at us. When I was 14, I was at the local mall and I was let through without a security check and some Muslim girls behind me got searched. I went to them and said I’m so sorry that happened, they told me “we are used to it”. I told people about this and nobody was shocked that was the first time I witnessed the reality of the conflict.

At 13 I had a friend tell me as I was standing in my bomb shelter that I was a colonizer. At 12 I had to get off my public bus on the way to school because there were rockets, I cried for the whole ride home. A sheltered girl from New Jersey. I thought “maybe this isn’t my home.”

At 11 I was so excited to move to Israel a fresh start with no bullies but I was not aware that moving here would make me not human, would make my stories fake, would make my life less than, would make the world my bully. I wondered how many generations until people would understand. At 14 I asked my dad how long our family has been in Israel he told me my great great great grandfather was living in Israel, that was the day I realized the world will never care. At 15 I came to the conclusion that it’s ok if the world is not on my side. People have different thoughts and that’s ok. I love my country and I care to work for peace. That’s all that matters.

At 16 on October 7th 2023 6:32 am my mind would be changed forever. After what happened that day the silence on social media, the bombardment of Jewish restaurants. I came the conclusion that I am living in a world that my grandmother who was born in a German teepee camp said never again to. That’s the day I realized my DNA is a reason to be hated no matter where I live. The day I realized that no Israeli child mother or father would ever forgive or forget how the world was silent while our lives were so loud. At 16 I came to the conclusion that this is my country and they were right, I am home. Just because the world will pretend that I’m evil and yell at me does not mean I will whisper. I will yell for for my brothers and sisters who can no longer. We are home.

About the Author
Shoshana Yarden Katz is a 16 year old American Israeli. She grew up in the New York area and moved to Israel at 11. Her mom is an author of 3 books. She has been doing creative and nonfiction writing as long as she can remember.
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