Yehudah Wengrofsky

Your pogrom will not be televised.

Your pogrom will not be televised. It will not make the news. The video will not be on youtube or tiktok. It will not attract a cascade of crying emojis on social media. There will be no physical marker at the crime scene, no plaque, let alone a statue or a renamed street. There will be no public reminder of your life or your death. No t-shirts. No bracelets. No ribbons. It will not become a cause célèbre for movie stars. No publicist or agent will suggest that “social climbers” attach their names to yours. There will be no photo ops or tear-stained interviews with your surviving relatives.

Your killer(s), your assailant(s), your arsonist(s), your torturer(s), will not be known, will not be reviled. Children will not hear their name. They will not stomp your attacker’s name to oblivion, as with Haman or Derek Chauvin.

Your attacker’s social media will not be combed for evidence. Their motivation will not be discernable and the incident will not be officially designated a hate crime. All actions, all aggressions, will be loosely understood, if at all, as inevitable, if messy, reactions to your oppression. Yes, you, Jew. You’ve been asking for it without even knowing it. It won’t matter that you didn’t know your assailant. Or that you complied with their demands. Or that you voted for one party or the other. Or that you gave charity or volunteered or mentored someone or marched in solidarity with this or that. Or that you no longer wore the little silver Star of David that your grandparents gave you or that you removed your mezuzah or that you closed the draped when you lit Shabbos candles and removed your kippah in public and never wore a beard. It will not matter if you were alone or part of a group of people, no matter how large, who were so brutalized and massacred, and it will not matter if you are attacked by a single attacker or a veritable mob.

It will not matter. Your guilt will be quietly assumed and the grisly deeds will be understood, casually, in passing, as a natural occurrence, like the changing of the season. It will not be a “teachable moment,” as when Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates broke into his own home and refused to cooperate with police (one black and one white) when they arrived, instead offering up a litany of racist tripe that was stricken from the public record. Regardless of how craven the attack, your sorry, painful, bloody, humiliating demise will not become the stuff of speeches by public officials, let alone a president, governor, or mayor. No one will suggest that it is deserving of a reorientation of educational curricula or a reconsideration of public safety. There will be no laws passed bearing your name to prevent future occurrences and memorialize your tragic end.

Your memory will not be sewn into the Public Record by the almighty New York Times. Your story will not be recapped by a sensitive radio whisperer on National Public Radio to be broadcast to commuters and middle-class folks preparing dinner for their kids. It will not be considered by “All Things Considered.” It will not be an entry in Wikipedia. Whatever your accomplishments, they will be reassigned to others more categorically deserving. You will be erased in the past as well as in the present. Your end will be final and without reverberation. It will make no noise and it will shed no light. It will be perfect in its muted invisibility and it will be eternal.

Your pogrom will not be televised.

About the Author
Impervious to reasonable suggestion, Yehudah Wengrofsky continues to scribble, noshe, and daven in the historic Lower East Side of New York City. Wengrofsky's edited volume of the writings of the late Professor Irving (Yitzchok) Block on the mysticism of Aristotle and Maimonides is forthcoming from the University of Toronto Press.
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