Pam Alcala
Jewish Educator, Aspiring Artist, and Hopeless Idealist

Will it ever be enough?

I was discussing antisemitism with some family members over the weekend. We were (to no avail) trying to figure out what is the driving force behind all this hate; who are the key players, what roles can we play, but most importantly, what else could we possibly do differently to change the current narrative.

Here is the thing. As a Jewish educator, my answer is usually “we just continue to educate anyone who will listen”. However, anyone who has ever taught children whether in day school or supplemental school knows, you can only teach those who are willing to listen. We are currently facing a dark reality: the world does not seem to be ready or willing to listen to our plight.

On October 7th, terrorists live-streamed themselves killing people, kidnapping babies, burning entire families alive. They paraded corpses who had been defiled and contorted through their streets as proof of victory, with people celebrating them. Since that day, we have seen barrages of rockets flying out of Gaza and Lebanon; we have witnessed arsenals of weapons hidden in children’s rooms in Khan Younis, Hamas terrorists visibly stealing humanitarian aid, and more videos of kidnapped loved ones being used for psychological warfare. We have sent multiple offers for ceasefires, only for them to be denied. Families of women kidnapped in Nahal Oz even made the excruciating choice to release footage of their daughters being abused by terrorists, called “pretty” and “sex slaves”.

None of this seems to be enough. Despite every proof to the contrary, the world seems fixated on blaming Israel. At first, I attributed this to a general lack of education and resources about Israel and its inception. I figured, as naive as this may sound, that all this hate was just a result of leftover bordering-on-dormant antisemitism left from the 1940s. 

Some of us have spent generations and lifetimes arguing against false narratives and blood libels, putting out resources, offering constructive conversations, and even owning up to our very own faults in the conflict. My grandfather spent his life advocating for the state of Israel through investment in education and foreign policy efforts. He could have spent his life resenting the rest of the world for failing him and his family during World War II, but instead, he gave the world the benefit of the doubt that the world did not give the Jewish people when propaganda ran rampant and our people were relentlessly killed. If only one could live a life of forgiveness through advocacy like he did.

So when the Nova exhibit reached New York, the footage from October 7th kept circulating, and the video of female hostages was released, and the world kept referring to Israel as the Goliath of the story, I cannot help but wonder if antisemitism has permeated so deeply into the very core of our world that not even the most graphic of proofs will ever be enough. It makes us wonder whether it really is an educational gap or just perpetual hate and unjustified resentment against the Jewish people. 

If the world is giving awards for graphic displays of terrorism as it was the case with the Photograph of the Year Award (or whatever that nonsense was) and will still tell Israel to refrain from entering Rafah while we keep retrieving our hostages, dead or alive from the area and eliminating top commanders from Hamas, will it ever be enough?.

Even when Israel continues to investigate their own failures and comply with international law and offer ceasefires through the return of hostages and unconditional surrender from an internationally recognized terror organization, will it ever be enough?

At the end of the day, we the Jewish people have survived millenia of attempts to exterminate us through resolution and strength, but even then, have we reached the breaking point? Will it ever be enough?.

About the Author
Pam is a Jewish Educator, Social Worker, and aspiring artist. She has spent her career working in congregational settings, DEI programming consulting, and global Jewish non-profit work. She has a passion for merging mental health, creative arts, and Jewish experiential education.