Eryn London

My Letter: What I Want to Say to My Non-Jewish Friends

Dear Non-Jewish Friends, 

I feel compelled to write as I just feel really lost and afraid right now. Maybe it is something that you have already read but it is now mine too. I woke up at 4:30 this morning and a draft of this has been playing in my head ever since. I am not sure if this will come out too harsh or maybe not harsh enough, or even if it is coherent or covers everything. But it needs to come out of my head so here it is. 

The past three weeks have been brutal. Do you know what it’s like to turn on your phone and hear that thousands of people you are connected to have been murdered and hundreds have been taken hostage? That those people were in their homes having shabbat dinner or at a party or just doing normal everyday things – do you have how scary that is? Or hear people say that the murders, rapes, and torture of these people was ok because they were Jewish/Israeli? Why would these acts ever be ok? Or then to see that across the world Jewish people are being told to hide who they are, told not to go into Jewish areas, not to wear their school uniforms in public because they are identified as Jewish, where students are told to be careful if they need to get Kosher food at university because that space is not safe? 

To all who have reached out – I really appreciate it, it means a lot to know that you care. But I have to say that it is hurtful when I see the only things you are posting on social media are pro-Palestinian. Where is your calling out of the murder of children in Israel? Where is your calling out of the rise of antisemitism across the world? Yes, you might care about me as an individual, but what you are sharing in the public sphere makes me wonder. 

I look at the UN and other organisations calling for the safety of the children in Gaza, and yes they should be safe, don’t get me wrong. But why are they not calling for the immediate return of the children who were taken hostage? Why are they not calling out the inhumane ways that children and their families were murdered? (I won’t go into detail, you can find places to read about this) Why are they not saying anything about the trauma for the children who witnessed the murder of their families before their own eyes? Why do Jewish and Israeli children not count? 

And that is not even going into all the other people, even those over 80 who were also brutally murdered in their homes and others taken hostage. 

I read about what is happening at universities across the world – and my first thought was how happy I am that I am not a student right now. My other thought is, how scary this must be for those students and how much strength they must have just to do their daily things. Where are the voices calling out against the universities where Jewish students were told to stay locked in the library because security and police could not protect them otherwise? Or the Jewish students told not to go to the Kosher dining hall (where they are able to get food they are able to eat) because there has been a security threat? Or the Jewish students who see on student forums calling to kill or hurt Jewish people? Or professors asking Jewish students to identify themselves and asking them to leave, move to a corner, not speak or worse?  Where are you, my non-Jewish friends, calling this out publicly? Or is it that you also think this is ok? 

It was just in last night’s news of a plane that had to divert and then not let any passengers off — why? Because the plane had come from Israel and there were Jews on the plane and the people on the ground wanted to kill (or hurt) them — just because they existed. Look at this headline: Mob Storms Russian Airline Searching for Jews. And I should not be scared? 

There are signs in stores saying no Jews allowed. 

There are people saying openly on social media and other platforms that Jews should be killed. 

Where are you my non-Jewish friends? Why is this not flooding your social media channels? Why are you not calling out that this should not be happening? 

Those of you who know me, know that I have never hidden my Judaism. I am proud and speak about it often. It is now that I am afraid of it. I don’t think I could ever hide it, but I am more aware than ever – that this could cause harm to me or my family. 

What I see happening is things I read about in history books. Things I heard my grandparents and people of their generation talking about. Why is all other types of hate and discrimination not ok, but this is? Or do you not realise the hate and discrimination you are letting happen or even spreading?  

I know that some people who read this will say that of course no one cares — the UN is antisemitic, no one cares about the Jews, etc. I know the troupe. But I think that there is something bigger – or maybe that is just my hope, because I don’t want to believe that so many people, including friends, don’t see the harm done to my community as anything, and perhaps even want us all dead. 

So, my dear non-Jewish friends – this is no longer only about politics in Israel-Palestine, this is about being Jewish in the world in 2023. This is not about criticising Israel,  it is about Jew hunting.  It feels dangerous to be Jewish, and perhaps it is. 

Call out when you see these acts of antisemitism. 

Call out for the immediate release of the hostages. 

Call out Hamas for the brutal murders of those in their homes. 

Call out….


Me – Your Jewish Friend 

About the Author
Rabbi Eryn London lives in London. She is a freelance Jewish educator, chaplain, and rabbi living in London. She is involved with a number of projects within the UK and the global Jewish community.
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