Perri Schwartz

Thanksgiving 2023 as an American Jew

I am so proud to be an American Jew. But this year, Thanksgiving will be different as many American Jews feel a sense of gratitude and pain. Knowing the guilt and grief I feel on this highly polarized war – I can only imagine the families of the hostages and those deceased. The October 7th attacks have changed my perspective on how I see things. Now, some of the hostages will be coming home – but we will not stop fighting until all of them are released. Fifty women and children are set to be released. These children will never be the same, but at least they will be home, safe, and in the arms of loved ones. I wish I could hug every single person affected by this. This Thanksgiving, I am thinking about all of the hostages, the safety of the IDF, and the safety of all Israelis and Jews around the world. This Thanksgiving, I am also grieving with the families of the Oct. 7th victims and soldiers killed in this ongoing war. 

But what I do not understand and cannot sympathize with is the decision to stay silent on antisemitism in response to the conflict. Jewish students being locked in libraries and literal Nazis hailing Hitler is not going to solve anything. In fact, it will only make the conflict worse and will not bring peace. People chanting “death to the Jews” and swastikas being painted across the country. Where is the outrage from non-Jews? 

I stood with the black community at the height of the black lives matter movement, and so did all of you. Where is your outrage right now? 

This Thanksgiving, I implore you to sit with your families and reflect on why is it you are speaking out against hate when every other minority group gets targeted in the US, yet you are silent about the Jewish community. Consider what side you would like to be on as history repeats itself because we know what happens when you stay silent. 

This Thanksgiving, I am also more thankful than I’ve ever been before. For my friends, my family, and the freedoms that I have as an American that so many others do not get.

About the Author
Perri Schwartz is an activist and writer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She is a 2021-2022 alumnus of the Young Judaea Year Course gap year. She interned with the Israel Daily News Podcast while on Year Course. She is also on the autism spectrum and is super passionate about making the world a better place. You can follow her on Instagram, @thatneurodivergentjew.