Anti-Semitism: hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group. —Merriam-Webster
When I was asked to put together a roundtable discussion on anti-Semitism, I admit I felt like a fraud when I agreed. My Jewish dad “converted” to Catholicism when he married my mom (although the conversion never really stuck), so my three sisters and I were all raised as Catholics. I remember arguing with a Jewish girl in my grade school class about Jesus (not trying to convert her, but in disagreement as to his significance). And I never set foot in a synagogue while I was growing up.
But then there was that time when I was six or seven when the Brownie troop told me that there wasn’t any room for me (although there was for my best friend), and my mom told me it was because my dad was Jewish. There was that day I learned that the care home where my Alzheimer-afflicted dad lived had included him in a church activity despite his records indicating he was Jewish. And then there was the very scary day when Nazi-Twitter attacked me and my friends came to my rescue and got the hateful tweets blocked.
So I may be a stealth Jew, but I’m Jewish. And when I asked seven Jewish authors to write essays on their everyday experiences with anti-Semitism, I was startled by how familiar their stories were to me.
We’re lucky that in the United States anti-Semitism is only rarely expressed violently. But the most recent ADL Global 100 study, a survey commissioned annually by the Anti-Defamation League, found that ten percent, or about 24 million individuals in the US harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. And as you’ll see in the essays below, there are likely many more people who would never consider themselves anti-Semitic, but who confront the Jewish people they meet with micro-aggressions that can be exasperating, heartbreaking, and even frightening.
Here’s the question I asked these seven authors:
How have you seen anti-Semitism expressed, either in the media, on the internet, or in your personal lives?
And this is how they answered. Read more.