I Refuse To Be Scared

I was walking down a street a few days ago in a Jewish-populated area, when I noticed a nearby shul (synagogue) and a bunch of frum (religious) men standing outside, praying. I passed by, about to put in my earphones to finish my audiobook chapter, when suddenly I saw a car drive by with a woman hanging out of it. She looked straight out at us and shouted in a heavy Arab accent “Allah allah”!!

My heart and my feet froze in place.

I had literally just heard about the attempted Molotov cocktail being thrown into the NJ synagogue as well as how in San Francisco, police had arrested a man suspected of firing several apparently blank rounds inside a synagogue.

And let’s not forget the synagogue in Florida which was recently almost infiltrated by an Islamist with a massive knife.

Plus the heinous 2018 Tree of Life Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.

My mind racing, I thought “I’m used to seeing hate crimes happening online against me and my people. Not real life. Not here. Not now.”

It seemed her goal was just to scare us, however, and the driver sped away.

My fear turned to anger and my feet started to work. I chased after that car as fast as I could, so I could take a photo of the car number plate. Alas, I didn’t manage to and collapsed on a nearby bench.

My mind kept racing. All I could feel was red hot anger that this woman thought she could try intimidate and scare me and a bunch of peaceful Jewish worshippers.

No other minority is expected to put up with abuse, so why should Jews be different? We face the most unprecedented amount of hate crimes globally.

This woman’s goal was to make us feel unsafe and it worked. For a minute maybe.

Until out of habit, I reached up to touch the gold Magen David pendant I’ve been wearing around my neck. Feeling the hard edges poking into my skin somehow reminded me that us Jews are resilient and we sure as heck aren’t going anywhere.

Our existence is our resistance.



Naomi is a freelance writer and Jewish/Israel activist. Keep up with her on Instagram: @partisanprincess

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