“Don’t Fight Evil, Create Good”
These are the words I was reading as Shabbat set in, and it made me wonder. After the last weeks, how can we not fight evil? Tell me how? How do we just surrender to a reality in which Jewish kids hide their kippah, in which the most amazing powerhouse woman in front of me tears up in a moment of hopelessness; in which me wearing a Star of David necklace is just as a target as someone who is not simply “Almost Jewish”?
You know, many times, I feel that the work we do in this niche – ensuring #NeverAgain – is perhaps a question of to where we put our attention. And I wrote about this before: If I were to take over the Facebook account of a friend, I might close the day with the notion that there is no antisemitism.
You know what I mean, right? We are all in our own echo chambers. I try to be open-minded. C’mon, I even attended Noam Chomsky’s lecture with 700 people in a keffiyeh and Palestinian flags around me chanting death to Israel. I even went and got kicked out from an event hosted by Linda Sarsour. I really do try not to be blindsided or too subjective driven by emotions.
But at the end of the day, most of you reading this is already on this side of the fence, so we are in the echo chamber.
What the last couple of weeks changed, though, is that it assured me that I am not just “too in it” for seeing antisemitism and Jew-hatred. These two things damn well exist. They are not hypothetical. They are tangibly real.
When someone screams that Jewish women must be raped, tell me, how do we not fight evil?
When someone attacks Jews dining at a restaurant simply for being Jews, tell me, how do we not fight evil?
I get what the sages say by this phrase I started off with: Don’t fight evil, create good…but!
Do you know what I was thinking as I was taking a shower? How as kids, we are taught to distinguish between good and evil. Right? Even in the Nutcracker, in which I danced like 300 times in my life, you have the good and the evil; the same in Sleeping Beauty. Literally, everything that is ever written is about good vs. evil.
Bear with me.
And then here we are grown-up adults, and we cannot distinguish between good and evil? It really seems so easy – let’s just take the rallies from the last week as an example:
One side is militant, promoting, encouraging, demanding violence. They hide their faces. They yell and scream like lunatics. They loot, and violently attack anyone and everyone.
On the other side, you have flags, music, smiles. People only yell because they do not hear each other from the Israeli music or from the chanting of Am Israel Chai. Nobody attacks anyone. We give free water to each other; we offer free hugs to one another.
These are the two sides. I do not know about you, but it seems so f@cking easy to me to distinguish good from evil here.
And yet… in this perverted world we are creating, somehow the good becomes the evil, and the evil is the cherished underdog.
After the rally on Sunday, I was high for days. Knowing that you had a part in those moments where over 2,000 people united, celebrated life, and just forgot evil’s existence for a few hours is absolutely indescribable.
But what happens after the hype fades out?
We are back to a reality in which Jewish kids hide their kippah; in which every morning I lament: should I take off my star of David necklace?
Of course, I am not obligated to wear it. I am not obligated to part-take in this segment of life. I am not obligated to do any of the things I am doing.
But one thing I can tell you: silence is violence.
And I cannot be violent…and I hope you feel the same way, too.