Jewish Privilege?

People say that Jews are not oppressed. How can they be, when they run everything? Big businesses, the banks, Hollywood, Jews rule it all: if anything, they’re privileged. Well, let me tell you about my real Jewish privilege.

My Jewish privilege is seeing Jewish cemeteries vandalized, as my fallen family is forced to wear the mark of our enemies; being hated even in death.

My Jewish privilege is seeing summer vacation posts or articles about where in the world to travel next, and knowing I can’t go to many of these places if I value my life.

My Jewish privilege is having the words number, star, shower, and camp mean something different for me, triggering a landmine in my head every time one comes up in conversation.

My Jewish privilege is meeting a girl my age in the park when I was 5, becoming friends with her, then being nervous when she mentioned Christmas, wondering if she’d still want to be my friend if I told her the truth.

My Jewish privilege is watching tv and seeing the nerdy kid with a big nose walk on, and I brace myself for the punchline-which is always me.

My Jewish privilege is seeing synagogues with bullet proof windows, 24-hour security cameras, high-tech password gates and doors, and security guards to escort people in and out, as well as stand outside during prayer.

My Jewish privilege is that your senior trip is to Washington D.C., and mine is to a country where millions of my people were murdered.

My Jewish Privilege is my father having to take work days off for Jewish holidays, and being questioned if he’s just making them up. For years I never got to spend Purim Day with my father.

My Jewish privilege is knowing the punchlines to all the anti-Semitic jokes, but wishing I could forget them.

My Jewish privilege is knowing that any given stranger I pass on the street who doesn’t even know me may be someone who hates me, who wishes to destroy me, who would attack me if they knew. Think I’m exaggerating? This is a real fear based off real life experiences.

Do you really want my privilege?

But maybe, Jewish Privilege is also feeling a connection to the stranger in the supermarket anywhere in the world because they wear a kippah.

It is also celebrating each year the defeat of those who have tried to kill us.

It is also knowing that wherever I go, I can find community and a place to stay for Shabbat.

It is also having a peaceful moment at the end of every hectic week.

It is also seeing that blue and white flag waving, and knowing I am safe.

It is also the courage that is instilled within me, the same courage that helped Jews in every millennium persevere.

And this is the privilege that they’re jealous of, that they preach is unfair. This is the privilege they want. But my Jewish privilege, true Jewish privilege, is both the good and the bad, because you can’t have one without the other. My Jewish Privilege is a double-edged sword: one that I will proudly wield to fight off my enemies and protect my fellow Jews.

This is my Jewish Privilege. What’s yours?

About the Author
Hadar Tennenberg is a writer, artist, traveler, amateur guitar player and lover of dogs. Hadar is a teen who made Aliya with her family and is now living in Jerusalem, where she is trying to figure out this new country and enjoys the vibrant culture and beauty of Israel.
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