Dana Gold
Sabra b’Canada

Jewish Joy is Resistance

Who would have thought that Jewish families around the world would be preparing to celebrate Passover with over 100 Israeli hostages still in captivity in Gaza almost 200 days later.

The idea is unfathomable for most of us. Yet, for the friends and loved ones of the hostages, each day continues to be a waking nightmare and it’s October 7th all over again.

In fact, none of us have properly processed the horrific events of October 7th, as it became quickly obvious that hatred towards Jews was not just isolated to a tiny strip of land in the Middle East. 

Antisemitic intimidation and violence have grown exponentially and are reminiscent of 1930s Europe. After all, it didn’t start with the gas chambers. It started with hateful rhetoric that characterized Jews as an unwanted ‘Other’ who were deemed to be unfit for society and therefore to be eliminated at any cost.

Unfortunately, it appears that humanity has not learned from its mistakes. Jews once again have become the scapegoat on which to pass blame for the ills of society. After Israel’s ground invasion in Gaza began in response to October 7th, Jews worldwide have suddenly been blamed for every action and policy decision the Israeli government has taken – regardless of how religious they are, where they came from, how closely they identify to Zionist ideals, and even their views of the current war between Israel and Hamas.

In protests being held in every pocket of the globe including on campus, Jews are aggressively told to “go home”, or in other words “back to Europe”. Notwithstanding the fact that the Hebrew bible establishes the Jews as originating from Judea, the land of Israel, with tens of thousands who were exiled after the destruction of the First and Second Temple. Many remained, however, and contributed to the expansion and progress in the region with their Arab neighbours long before the concept of the United Nations.

Less than 80 years after the Holocaust, Jewish businesses once again are experiencing dreadful vandalism including graffiti and shattered windows, reminiscent of ‘Kristallnacht’ in November of 1938 – the night of broken glass. Weathering the storm of antisemitism is exhausting and often feels like a lost cause. When people call for your destruction over and over, you start to believe them.

In a world that is so frail and easy to lose hope, we must remain optimistic.

Remembering the giants who stood proudly before us – the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and matriarchs, Sara, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah – along with all those who followed.  The challenges they faced, the courage with which they persevered, and their commitment to survive at all costs. These traits are within all of us and have enabled the Jewish people to outlast their enemies.

As we mark the beginning of Passover and congregate around the seder table, we think of those who remain in captivity and we continue to advocate and pray for their swift release. It’s more important than ever to maintain the traditions that unite the Jewish people and send a strong message that our flame will not be extinguished.

Our light will burn as bright as ever. We will rejoice in simchas in spite of our anguish. In this way, we embrace our authentic selves, our Jewishness, as descendants of a powerful lineage. Our Jewish joy is resistance. That can never be taken from us.

לשנה הבאה בירושלים

About the Author
Dana Gold is an award winning writer, independent researcher and subject matter expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
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