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Moriel Rothman-Zecher @Moriel_RZ
, 21 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
A few thoughts and invitations for non-Jewish friends and comrades regarding the massacre in the #TreeOfLifeSynagogue in #Pittsburgh. #PittsburghShooting.
Please note that I intend all of this gently, and do not think all of it is entirely fleshed out, but it feels important to add these few thoughts now, as the discourse unfolds.
First, your solidarity & attention is appreciated, & it means a lot. I think I can safely speak for a lot of Jews when I say that oftentimes, we are made to feel that antisemitism is “our problem,” and it is not clear whether non-Jews take it seriously/even understand what it is
Second, in terms of understanding, now is a critical moment to learn more about antisemitism, how it functions, the ways in which it is both similar to & very different from other forms of bigotry -- Read April Rosenblum’s “The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere.” dimus.parrhesia.press/the-past-didnt…
Third, there is a danger in overemphasizing Trump, gun control, need to vote, etc. Obviously gun control is desperately needed, & Trumpism is heinous, & voting is critical, etc>>
but there is also a risk of over-generalizing and over-broadening to the extent that we obscure the fact that this was, first and foremost, an act of antisemitism.
It was fueled by the xenophobic frenzy of Trumpism, and facilitated and made more deadly by this country’s absurd gun laws, but it was, at its core, an attack on Jews as Jews, on our holiest day, in our place of utmost tenderness and vulnerability and community.
—I cannot stop thinking about where they were in the service. Did they make it to the Shema? What words were on our sisters’ and brothers’ and siblings’ and cousins’ and grandparents’ lips as they were murdered today?—
It makes sense to tie this event into the politics of the moment, but it’s also critical to remember that this sort of antisemitism preceded this specific moment.
That in 2014, for example, a man went on a similar murderous antisemitic rampage at a JCC. He killed and injured fewer people, but he too set out with a weapon to murder Jews as Jews. kmbc.com/article/3-dead…
Trumpism fuels and traffics in antisemitism, for sure, but antisemitism was around long before Trumpism and will continue long after Trumpism if we don’t work harder to understand it in all of its valences.
It’s good to hold Trumpism responsible for its stoking of these fires, but it is intellectually and morally lazy to suffice with saying “Trump brought this on.” Lest it be mistaken: I do think that Trumpism has increased the danger for Jews in this country>>
But what worries me about solely focusing attention on Trumpism, in addition to it being not entirely accurate, are the ways in which it doesn’t give us the tools and language to speak out against instances of antisemitism not packaged in Trumpism
Of course folks should vote for non-bigoted candidates. And oppose Trumpism and its frothing rivers of hatred. And fight for better gun laws. But none of those things are enough, in and of themselves, to actually & deeply grapple with the essence of today’s antisemitic massacre.
I just put my six month-old daughter to bed. My six month-old Jewish daughter. My six month-old Jewish daughter with family in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh.
I sang to her a Havdalah song in Hebrew, a Yiddish folk song, a few American songs that I love, too.
I want to be able to take to shul without wondering, after today, whether I might be putting her life in danger by doing so. For that to be possible, we need real, deep solidarity, expansive community, discourse that is more than just surface level politics.
This thread is underscored with a sort of hopefulness; if I didn’t think that a deeper, more expansive solidarity was possible, I wouldn’t write this. I have been encouraged & moved to see a lot of non-Jews thoughtfully & compassionately mourning today. That is no small thing.
As a final note, because this is all still fresh and horrid and must not be ended neatly: it is with trepidation and ache and grief that I wait to hear the names of those murdered today, to learn who they were, to mourn them as individuals, not as concepts.
May their memories be a blessing.
The names of those killed yesterday were as follows: Joyce Feinberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, Irving Younger. May their memories be a blessing. יהי זכרונם לבכרה.
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